September 18, 2013

TV: We Are Men (Mon 8:30, CBS)

Premieres September 30; pilot currently available at

We Are Men is the story of Carter (Chris Smith), who is left at the altar and moves into a "short-term housing" apartment complex that is basically a waystation for lonely divorced men. Three of the building's resident lotharios take Carter under their wing to help him recover from his heartbreak. They're played by Jerry O'Connell, Kal Penn, and Tony Shalhoub; their character names and personalities aren't all that important, mostly because none of them has any discernible personality beyond being a permanent horndog. Oh, I suppose Penn is the most pathetic of the three, and Shalhoub the sleaziest, but really, they're all pretty awful (and I do not ever again need to see O'Connell in a Speedo, thank you very much).

Women exist in this show only as castrating harpies, sex objects, or (as in the case of Carter's fiancee) some combination of the two. The lone exception is Shalhoub's daughter (Rebecca Breeds), who is clearly meant to eventually be Carter's love interest because they both like basketball, which is what passes for complex character development on this show.

In what seems to be a dominant theme as the new TV season begins, some very good actors are being wasted here; I think I could enjoy O'Connell, Penn, and Shalhoub in a buddy comedy, but it would have to be funnier and cleverer than this one. Smith isn't much of a presence, which is rather a handicap for the guy at the center of the show, but he's not offensively dull, and he's blandly pretty to look at.

I don't see any reason to think this will be any more successful than Partners was in this time slot last year (and in the department of "things I never thought I'd have to say," Partners was a better show). Gone by Christmas.

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