TV Review: We Are Men, Series Premiere

Written by Allison Lips


We Are Men is a great show that needs a better title. The name suggests that the show would be a third-rate PG version of The Hangover. The fact that it stars Kal Penn of Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle only reinforces that assumption. The men do go drinking, but We Are Men isn’t about drinking and having sex. It’s about a group of male friends, living in temporary housing, who are trying to move on after the women in their lives leave them.

The story of We Are Men begins at Carter Thomas’s (Chris Smith) wedding. Everything was going fine until the bride’s ex-boyfriend decides not to hold his peace and the bride runs off with him. Carter ends up going through the five stages of grief, which eventually lands him in temporary housing with four men, who are either going through a divorce or have been divorced several times.

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS
Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Frank Russo (Tony Shalhoub) is the ringleader of the group. He is a lecherous middle-aged man, who has so many ex-wives that marriage is completely off the table. Frank takes advantage of this by exclusively dating women, preferably Asian, young enough to be his daughters.

Frank’s friends are Gil Bartis (Kal Penn) and Stuart Strickland (Jerry O’Connell). Gil regrets cheating on his wife and loves his daughter dearly. Before Carter came along, Gil was the sanest member of the group. Stuart is a Speedo-loving idiot with two wives. He made the mistake of choosing a divorce attorney as his first wife, so now he hides his assets because she takes him to the cleaners every time he gets another divorce.

Throughout the pilot, Frank, Gil, and Stuart take Carter on a journey of self-discovery. Granted, Frank and Gil think this involves lots and lots of drinking and meaningless sex. With the exception of one incident that saw Carter getting really drunk and breaking into a Catholic school to play basketball, Carter doesn’t become the Casanova prodigy they want him to be.

Gil deserves the credit for stopping Carter from going down the same path and Frank and Stuart. Gil understands what it’s like to have the woman he loves dump him. He wanted to get back together with his ex-wife, but he made his move too late. Gil tells Carter to make his move now, which is perfect timing because Carter’s ex-fiancé recently broke up with the man who ruined their wedding.

Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS
Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Carter and his fiancé decide to call their wedding back on. He wants to invite the guys from temporary housing, but his fiancé refuses. She is already controlling his life again.

At their second attempt at a wedding, Carter and his fiancé are interrupted for the second time. This time it’s by Frank, Stuart, and Gil because they don’t want Carter to marry a woman who won’t allow him to pursue his dream of being a basketball coach and forces him to work for her father.

Carter takes the out. He’s free. Now Frank Stuart, Gil, and Carter will live in temporary housing for the foreseeable future. At least, Carter didn’t make a huge mistake.

While the antics of Frank and Stuart can get annoying, they are genuinely trying to help their new friend. They may be stereotypes, but Frank could be a real person and so could Stuart. If Gil wasn’t there to temper Frank and Stuart’s wackiness, Carter would lose his mind. Overall, We Are Men is off to a good start, but needs time to show that Frank and Stuart aren’t as shallow as they first appear.

Anglophile, Rockabilly, Pompadour lover, TV and Music Critic

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