Fall 2013 Preview: We Are Men

Airs: Mondays on CBS at 8:30 EST

Timeslot Competition: Dancing with the Stars (ABC), Bones (FOX), The Voice (NBC), Hart of Dixie (CW)

Premise: Carter (Chris Smith) moves into a new apartment complex after being left at the alter and bonds with three older, divorced men.

Pre-show Thoughts: Yet again, CBS has a new comedy that just looks outdated. Four single guys talking about how awful women are and bonding over their manliness just is not at all interesting to me. I like Kal Penn and Tony Shaloub but not even they have managed to make me even the slightest bit excited about this show. It doesn’t quite sound as awful as “Dads” but it’s not a lot better.

Post-show Thoughts: I was right, this wasn’t good or funny. I definitely didn’t get the humor in having Jerry O’Connell’s character either shirtless or in a Speedo most of the time. I think that was more of a failed character quirk than anything else. Overall, it just didn’t appeal to me in the slightest.

There are glimmers that this show had the potential to be about something other than how life-ruining women are for men. I’m all about the portrayal of friendships that support you in your dreams – like Stuart getting Carter the interview for the coaching position. But all of that is largely overshadowed by their mission to get him laid or prevent his marriage to Sarah. I couldn’t help but compare the car scenes surrounding their break-in to the school to the guy’s portion of “Two Parties” on Parks and Recreation. That was a very positive portrayal of men’s friendships without making it all about women. They made it about the characters and their support of their very diverse interests and that’s what made it work. If the show wanted to be about that, I think it would be much stronger and way more interesting.

What really made me cringe was the way they dealt with pretty much anything related to sexuality. It started badly, as in the first few minutes, Carter promises not to try to have “surprise” anal sex with his wife. This is just a big no all around. Sexual activities (all of them) require consent. It doesn’t work to do something that a partner hasn’t previously agreed to and then pass it off as an accident when they get upset. It should be implicit in relationships (though I unfortunately know it’s not) that consent will be either verbally or nonverbally gotten before trying something new.

Then there was the horror at the fact that Carter had only had one sexual partner is his life. There is nothing wrong with that, for men or women. There is not a law or even an unspoken rule that men need to have as many sexual partners as they can to truly be men and experience life.

Overall, this was not a show I ever want to see again. It lacked positive portrayals of women, other than perhaps Frank’s daughter, and had way too many negative portrayals of women while not showing the men at fault for their own actions. That, plus the lack of actual humor, means that on all levels, this show is just not for me.


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