October 19, 2011

TV: Man Up! (ABC, Tue 8:30)

Here we have the companion to Tim Allen's Last Man Standing in ABC's "Hour of the Oppressed White Heterosexual Male." About all I can say for Man Up! is that it's less egregiously offensive than Last Man Standing.

It's the story of three guys in their early 30s who are insecure because they aren't sure what it means to be A Man today. They're not helped by the women in their lives, who are all castrating harpies, determined to convince them that they aren't men. Says one wife, "Your grandfather fought in World War II. Your father fought in Vietnam. You play video games and use pomegranate body wash. You're man-ish."

There is only one bright spot in the show, and that's Henry Simmons, playing the new beau of the ex-wife of one of our trio. There's nothing terribly original about what Simmons is doing. It is, in fact, so derivative that you feel like the director told him, "We wanted the Old Spice guy and couldn't get him, so do that, OK?," but Simmons is doing a very good copy of Isaiah Mustafa's shtick, so confident in his manliness that he sails right past arrogant and somehow comes out again at charming. It's a performance completely at odds with the rest of the show tonally, but when Simmons exits the episode, I'd have rather followed him and watched the show he thinks he's in than been stuck with the show he's actually in.

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