Men at Work: Some Early Thoughts

I’m not sure if it’s the official start of the summer season (other some series may already be airing), but for me, tonight’s premiere of the new series Men at Work tells me that while our old favorites — let’s be honest, Vampire Diaries and Revenge — may be taking a break, there are other shows starting that can keep us entertained this summer.

Men at Work is a new show from TBS, starting tonight at 10 pm EST tonight with two episodes back-to-back. The show grabbed my attention because it’s bringing some old favorites back to the screen, namely Danny Masterson from That 70s Show. Masterson was one of the few people that really entertained me year after year on That 70s Show, so it definitely made me curious about the series.

Who else? How about Adam Busch, of Buffy fame. Hopefully, in this series, his skin stays on. You’ve also got James Lesure, who I most remember from the short-lived Mr. Sunshine, and Michael Cassidy, who I didn’t recognize from anything, but I’m surprised to see that he was in Hidden Palms, an even shorter-lived series from summers past (among a few other shows I just frankly haven’t seen).

Having seen the first two episodes, I have to say it’s a solid show. The pilot suffers from the same thing many other pilots suffer from: trying to get exposition and plot moving, while identifying the new characters as interesting. Of course, “interesting” usually comes off as “flat,” so you’re seeing one-dimensional caricatures, and in the end, you really don’t know who anyone is.

On the bright side, since tonight you’ve got two episodes back-to-back, you have the opportunity to really get to know the series more fully. The characters have their own quirks, and if you can get past the forced laugh track, there are actually some good lines in there.

What makes me laugh the most, though, is the setting. Being a girl, I’m quite attuned with chick lit: the girly stories with female heroines, usually working in publishing, hoping to find love in the big city, gabbing with their best friends who, strangely enough, all work together.

Men at Work is what I guess you could call “dick lit.” I know it’s crass, but you’ve got four buddies, and while they may not be looking for love, they’re certainly looking for something in their female counterparts. And hey, they even all work in publishing, a male-focused magazine that apparently hasn’t realized it needs to move to the web yet (especially when they’re cutting costs by reducing paper — meaning, literally, page count). The jokes aren’t all grotesque, but if you can’t laugh at someone sitting on a toilet seat in jail or bad dirty talk, this might not be one for you. Fortunately, this humor is off-set by some other jokes that aren’t so gross, and it ends up being a well-balanced show.

Is it perfect? Well, not so far. But it’s got some good room for growth, and I really trust the cast to do some fun stuff. I’d say that it’s worth viewing tonight, and maybe tomorrow you can let me know your thoughts.

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