Take Me To The Pilots '11: ABC's 'Man Up!'
Single-camera ensemble piece is the best of ABC's Men in Peril comedies
[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.
- Check out everything there is including photos, reviews, videos.
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.
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