Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Man Up!'
[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots.]
Show: "Man Up!" (ABC)
The Pitch: The missing entry in last year's Couples At Different Stages in Relationships Value Pack, albeit with a clear focus within this season's Masculinity In Crisis Value Pack. [ABC has the only surviving entry from the Couples At Different Stages in Relationships Value Pack with "Happy Endings," which didn't *exactly* fit the trope to begin with.]
Quick Response: Let's hear it for improvement-by-association! ABC's "Man Up!" is not especially funny, but if watched in immediate proximity to ABC's "Work It" and "Last Man Standing," it goes from "innocuously unimaginative" to "weirdly palatable" in the space of 44 minutes (the running time of the other two comedies). Of last season's Couples At Different Stages in Relationships Value Pack entries, "Man Up!" is probably most like FOX's "Traffic Light," right down to the apparent conceit of intercutting conversations between our three male leads, who now talk their way through video games on their head-sets, rather than talking through their commutes on cell phones. The "Man Up!" leads -- Dan Fogler, Chris Moynihan and Mather Zickel -- are uniformly likable on a very low level (mostly enough that you don't dislike them). Fogler continuing his small-screen rut as The Guy You Hire If Tyler Labine or Josh Gad Aren't Available. I think the Tony winner is better than that, but you wouldn't know it here. Zickel has a muted Ty Burrell thing going, which isn't bad. And Moynihan wrote the pilot, which you could almost guess from watching it, since the writer thinks a lot of Moynihan's character. Neither Amanda Detmer nor Teri Polo contribute much as token females, but that's more because Moynihan hasn't decided if he wants the women to be contributing partners-in-comedy, or just to be arms-folded window-dressing. I know that Henry Simmons has a featured role here, but after watching all of ABC's other new comedies before this one, this was the pilot that finally forced me to write, "GOD. I'm so sick of middle-class white people whining about their lives" in my notes. That particular fatigue may not set in if you don't watch "Work It," "Last Man Standing," plus "Apartment 23" and "Suburgatory," both of which I actually liked, immediately before it. I hope Moynihan realizes that Simmons is playing a character who has basically been written as The Old Spice Guy and stops to ponder the racial implications therein. But anywho... Unlike "Last Man Standing" and "Work It," "Man Up!" at least doesn't place the blame for the alleged Masculinity In Crisis on women, which is a welcome relief. It's more that men have become "man-ish," rather than "manly," through lack of opportunities for masculinity, rather than through neutering. I don't know if I bought it, but I was less offended by it. That doesn't sound like much, but it's something. And I think I laughed once or twice at "Man Up!" which also doesn't sound like much, but it's something.
Desire To Watch Again: Just because "Man Up!" is mostly painless, that doesn't mean I want to watch more than another courtesy episode. And because it's paired with the much less painless "Last Man Standing," my ability to care after that second courtesy viewing will be limited. [I need also need ABC to explain to me why "Man Up!" contains an "!" but "Work It" doesn't. Surely "Work It" is every bit as emphatic an order? Silly typography.]
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Free Agents'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Suburgatory'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: The CW's 'Ringer'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'Terra Nova'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Whitney'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Pan Am'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'Alcatraz'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'Person of Interest'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's ' 'The River'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Last Man Standing'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'Two Broke Girls'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Up All Night'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Revenge'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Once Upon a Time'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Awake'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'I Hate My Teenage Daughter'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: The CW's 'The Secret Circle'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'Unforgettable'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'The Playboy Club'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Charlie's Angels'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Grimm'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'New Girl'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: The CW's 'Hart of Dixie'
Take Me To The Pilots ' 11: ABC's 'Apartment 23'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'A Gifted Man'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots installments.
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
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