Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Men of a Certain Age-"Whatever Gets You Through the Night"

Joe runs into some trouble on "Men of a Certain Age"
Credit: TNT
My review of tonight's episode of Men of a Certain Age is after the jump

I never would have thought that Men of a Certain Age would be a show that I love as much as I do, nor would I have thought that it would be a show that gets better with every episode. Some of the material in this episode was the best material that I have seen on this show. Joe trying to throw the store back together and Owen and Terry trying to film a commercial made for some very interesting plotlines. But it wasn't the plot that was the showcase in this episode. The plots allowed the performances to shine in this episode. 

For some reason, Joe does not want to do the Senior Tour and wants to focus on the store. This plotline wasn't doing a whole lot for me at first. It provided the almost arbitrary conflict of Maria and the other "manager" wanting a raise. Joe was able to dispatch with that very easily and it seemed like the plotline wouldn't be much more then a basic, fun little plotline.

And then Manfro walked into the shop.

That was when Joe's arc took a turn that I should have seen coming, but yet I didn't at all. Manfro was understandably pissed that someone who he considered a friend would go behind his back and take those bets. Even though Manfro knows that Joe is an addict, Joe still went behind his back. That was a scene that was intense and very well done. Ray Romano and Joe Manfrellotti did a fantastic job showing the emotions that were on the characters minds at the time. 

Then, Joe's plot goes to the dentist. I couldn't help thinking during that scene "Don't trust her Joe, she might kill you girlfriend" because of Sarah Clarke's presence. That scene didn't carry a lot of weight for me because I didn't see the first season so I didn't get to know Clarke's character at all. I mostly spent that scene waiting to move on from the reunion because it had no meaning for me. Though, there must have been something that she said, because Joe was back on the driving range. I really hope he chooses to take this seriously as we move into the finale next week.

The Joe stuff in the episode was very good, but it was the Owen stuff that was some of the strongest material that the show has done. Owen is now under more pressure then he has ever been under before. He doesn't have Bruce as a second in command to takeover some of the work. That must be too much pressure, because Owen nearly collapses under it. There were a couple of points during the episode where I almost expected Owen to pass out and have a heart attack. The scenes in Owen's office and his moment at the commercial shoot were so strong. Andre Braugher has staked out his spot on my personal fake Emmy ballot and could hopefully win an Emmy next year with his performance in this episode. This was some very strong work from him.

Some other thoughts:
  • Terry gets relegated to a B-Story in this one. He gets some good moments with Joe, Owen and the commercial director, but he doesn't get featured in this one. I'm OK with that though, because he got so much material earlier in the season.
  • Speaking of the commercial, that was a very funny sequence. Lawrence can be used for comic relief very well and this episode was no exception.
  • Manfro telling Joe to put his tooth in milk was a very funny line. Dark, but funny.
Overall, the scene with Manfro and the Owen material helped contribute to some of the best material Men of a Certain Age has done in its second season. This episode really impressed me. I am really looking forward to what this show has in the burner for the finale.

What did everyone else think?

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