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Fall 2011 Review: Man Up

12 Nov

Part 2 of the ABC Man Block, Man Up is the story of three men, a happily married husband and father of a son and daughter, a bitterly divorced man, brother in law to the first man, and their friend, who is still devastated by the loss of his long-term girlfriend.  Unlike Tim Allen in Last Man Standing who is an outdoorsman who does manly deeds all the time in a world devoid of them, the three main characters in Man Up, Will, Craig and Kenny, spend their time doing teenage-ish activities like playing video games (Will thinks that his wife’s present of a violent war game is for him, rather than for his son).  Over the course of the episode, which consists of a birthday party for Will’s son, the three band together and decide they want to act MANLY like their fathers who presumably fought in some sort of war and maybe worked in a factory for thirty years would have acted.  They’re tired of being emasculated; not in the same way Tim Allen is tired by living in a house full of women, but by emasculating themselves with their boyish attitudes.  It’s time to MAN UP.  This involves mostly, in this episode, getting into a fight with a bunch of hooligans who one of them (Craig?  Maybe?) pissed off (by barging on his wedding and serenading his finance) instead of calling the police when the hooligans barge onto the front lawn of Will’s house while the kids are having their party.  Apparently they don’t do a whole lot to win the fight, but they still feel appropriately manly afterwards, and Will’s wife seems to be surprisingly forgiving of what seems like an incredibly stupid action.

(Note:  I understand Man Up is not a very popular TV show.  Still is it more obscure than the third album by Danish blues-rock group The Blue Van which comes up ahead of it on wikipedia?)

Man Up is far less patently offensive than Last Man Standing.  There’s less overt sexism and homophobia (which is not saying a lot, to be fair) and very little makes you straight out cringe.  Unfortunately, it’s still not very good.  Forget the idea of manliness, which admittedly seems a little dated, and could distill into worse emasculated man stereotypes but certainly didn’t show any real signs of that yet.  The friends seemed like relatively normal people.  The show just was weak in the way that the vast majority of bad shows are weak.  The jokes aren’t funny, the characters aren’t very interesting, and there’s no aspect that is compelling and makes me want to come back for more or think that I’d want to come back for more in the future.

Will I watch it again?  Nope.  In some of these I talk about how it’s close or how I’m thinking about it or it could improve.  Not here.  It’s not truly offensive like Whitney or 2 Broke Girls or Last Man Standing – it’s just a straight up regular ol’ traditional type of bad show.  It could be good if it was another show entirely, but short of that it’s not high on signs of hope.