We Are Men: Mondays at 8:30 Eastern on CBS
It seems like more often than not, there’s often some rhyme, reason, or pattern of what makes it to air, especially on the big four networks. Either the network execs are cashing in on a current cultural trend, a hot-button issue, trying out some new revolutionary concept, or just blatantly aping what CB—ahem, lead dog is doing to get its’ ratings edge. However, occasionally we see a show slip through the cracks that seems to exist solely as some sort of weird outlier that seems out of place both on the air and on it’s place in the network schedule (the clearest example of this being last fall when Whitney was stuck between two other shows that clearly share an audience in Dateline and Grimm). This year, that outlier seems to be We Are Men.
We Are Men picks up when Carter (Chris Smith) is left at the altar by his bride, only to move into a short-term housing complex in order to pick up the pieces of his life. While there, he befriends three other men in similar predicaments: Gil, a small business owner (Kal Penn), Frank, a middle aged clothier (Tony Shalhoub), and Stuart, an OB/GYN who’s going through his second divorce (Jerry O’ Connell). Together, these men try to mentor Carter through his situation while hanging out poolside.
This pilot feels like a tale of two pilots, there’s the overwrought origin story where Carter is under the thumb of his domineering fiancee’. This pilot is kind of a mess, as it forces us to go in the same circle twice: once in speed mode in the first five minutes, and then seemingly out of nowhere a second time over the back end of the show. Unfortunately, the whirlwind retelling of the story feels incredibly plodding leaving to an overwrought scene at the chapel where we for the second time have it repeatedly beaten into our head how lousy Carter’s relationship really was.
The second pilot is a show about nothing, and this angle is considerably more enjoyable. While Gil, Frank, and Stuart, aren’t particularly well filled in (it is a pilot, after all), We Are Men shows more promise when our principal characters are bouncing off of each other, and the cast does an excellent job displaying that easy rapport. It’s the little moments in general that are We Are Men‘s strength, most notably a cameo by Dave Foley as Carter’s father, a man who truly appreciates his hard-boiled eggs.
The Final Verdict: Many sitcom pilots tend to be fairly well removed from the original pilot by the middle of it’s first season, and We Are Men is no exception to that rule. In this case, it’s probably for the best, as there isn’t much of a story in this origin and the premise is pounded into you from the pilot. I also think this show could benefit from a potential mid-season schedule swap with The Crazy Ones, as We Are Men makes more sense with a Two and a Half Men lead-in. Overall, I’d probably skip this one for the time being, but wouldn’t be surprised if it became a sleeper hit should it survive past mid-season.