Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Men of a Certain Age" finale recap: "Back in the S---"

Just wanted to offer a few quick words about the season finale of TNT's "Men of a Certain Age." Back when this show was first announced, I was both excited and skeptical.
I was excited because it starred three of my favorite TV actors -- Ray Romano, Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula. But I was skeptical because I wasn't sure how these three very different performers would mesh on-screen.
I needn't have worried. Together they made one of the most disarming, likable ensembles on TV. It was because of the performers that I stuck with the show through any potential rough spots (its characterizations of women still need some work) and kept coming back.
In this week's finale, we found our three leads reaching some some of tentative peace. Joe (Romano), after a tense night out with his son, has vowed to quit gambling. He's done it before and, since this is only the first season, I doubt he'll be able to just drop it cold turkey. That wouldn't be realistic, and one of this show's strengths is its realism. But I also don't want to watch a show in which we slowly watch Joe's gambling problem destroy his life. Here's hoping they strike a balance.
Owen (Braugher) , meanwhile, quit his dad's dealership and found a new gig at a rival joint. Though he thrived there, he and his dad agreed that the new job wasn't really what either of them wanted. Thus, Owen became manager of his dad's dealership. Whether that will work out remains to be seen. Owen suddenly became more motivated once he went to the new dealership, and maybe he'll carry some of that zip into the management job. But I forsee a lot of clashes with would-be manager Marcus.
Meanwhile, Terry (Bakula) seems to have temporarily abandoned acting for a gig at the dealership, once he realized that his old acting "friends" were just using him. Of the three guys, Bakula got the best material this episode -- a rarity for the series, which usually gives the meatier stuff to Braugher or Romano. Terry's meltdown during the hike was a season high point for Bakula, and he nailed it, seeming both pathetic and utterly relatable.
All in all, a solid finale, and one that has me interested in seeing where the guys are headed. Thoughts?

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