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From the marketing, Men At Work seems like the kind of bromance comedy that may be tough for girls to find edge room in. Comedies that are male-centric or female-centric can be tough that way, oftentimes not offering a lot for the other gender to invest in. Does the Breckin Meyer comedy fall into that trap, or does it offer a little something for everyone?
While there are shows that are easier to invest in if they are watched from Day 1, luckily there are plenty of shows with the ease of plot or the writing finesse to help people to jump into any episode and get involved with a new series. To determine whether a show falls in to the former or latter camp, TV Blend writer Jessica Rawden has vowed to watch episodes of shows she’s never seen before and analyze those show in different areas to let you, the reader, know how quickly you could become a fan. This week Jessica is tackling Men At Work’s Season 2 Episode 1 “Missed Connections.”
1. Quality Of Story
Men at Work takes culturally relevant premises and creates clever plotlines out of them. This week’s episode split the guys for the majority of the timeslot. Milo (Danny Masterson) and Tyler (Michael Cassidy) busily hatched a scheme to create a fake missed connection and lure a girl on a date and Neal (Adam Busch) and Gibbs (James Lesure) went to a party to stand up to Neal’s parents. Not the most exciting or random plots, but there’s plenty of wiggle room to work in jokes.
While it is alluded to that the men all work together at a magazine during this week’s episode, there really isn’t much going on in the way of work. Workplace problems and a workplace setting could definitely open the door up for conflict or problem solving between the guys, as well as a variety of wacky premises. This week the guys were actually at work in one scene, but I’m assuming this setting is used more frequently during the show. I guess everyone deserves a weekend episode.
2. Quality Of Characters
Each of the guys offers a distinct personality and perspective. Gibbs is the laid-back guy who offers wisdom, Neal is a little neurotic and even more uptight but does occasionally cut loose, Milo is intelligent but self-deprecating, and Tyler is energetic and pretty into himself. Have we seen these characters before? Yes. However, I’ve never seen them in quite the same amalgamation Men at Work offers and the workplace dynamic that informs their relationships means that the guys can share pretty much any aspect of their lives and relate on some level.
From what I’ve seen, the characters bond a lot over coffee, a la Friends, and the half-jokey, half-bromance chemistry the guys have with one another is familiar but used very well in TBS’ comedy. The guys’ characters are already so close with one another in Season 2 that it’s easy to jump in and get comfortable with the crew nearly immediately.
3. Likelihood Of Staying On Air
This is a tough one. It’s not as if TBS has a ton of original programming going for it (even with the addition of Cougar Town), but it’s also not as if Men at Work crushes in the ratings. The show only produces ten episodes a season, which means the writing should be tight due to only the best ideas being used. However, at its best, the show has only brought in a little over 2 million total viewers.
It’s sort of a middling thing. For television, Men at Work doesn’t crush, but as a show that begins airing randomly in the middle of spring, it doesn’t do horribly, either--especially not for TBS. Plus, given the slew of guest stars signed on for Season 2 of the series, including Jason Lee, Benjamin McKenzie, Jessica Szohr, J.K. Simmons, and Bethany Joy Lenz, perhaps the added famous faces will bring some extra viewers to Men at Work throughout Season 2 and will help ensure Season 3 will happen, as well.
4. Necessary Investment Level
The great thing about comedies like Men at Work is that they are easy to jump into and find reasons to like, but there is no necessary investment level. You won’t miss anything if you skip a couple of weeks and if something big does randomly occur, whatever you missed will likely be alluded to. CBS has comedies that are formatted in much the same way and it’s worked for that network, but the downside for TBS is that the network has not yet cultivated the same level of loyalty CBS has managed.
If you are looking for an easy comedy that will appeal to both genders, that you can watch on Thursdays after a long day of work and don’t have to totally commit to, Men at Work is the program for you.
The Good, The Bad, And Whether You Should Watch
I really liked this show. I thought the way the Craigslist “Missed Connections” plot was written was really clever and the chemistry the four guys have with one another makes me truly buy that they have been friends for a long time and didn’t just meet last season on a soundstage. The show may not offer the most original premises or characters, but the verbal sparring is great, and the show offers a feeling of comfort and unity that a lot of half-hour comedies have gotten away from for the sake of original characters and more abrasive storylines. Men at Work may seem familiar, but it doesn’t seem dated and it shouldn’t bore you.
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