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Modern Men

TITLE: MODERN MEN - THEWB MID-SEASON 2006


Info:

Premiere Date: Friday, March 17, 2006 (Warner Brothers Television/Jerry Bruckheimer Productions)
Network: The WB
Time: Fridays at 9:30 p.m. et/pt
Cast: Starring Josh Braaten, Max Greenfield, Eric Lively, Marla Sokoloff, with Jane Seymour and George Wendt.


Introduction:

From Emmy Award Winning Producer Jerry Bruckheimer comes "Modern Men," starring Jane Seymour ("Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"). "Modern Men" is a comedy about three lifelong friends and single guys hire a life coach to help them with romance and women. The series premieres Friday, March 17th, at 9:30 PM/ET on the WB television network.

Modern Men is produced by Warner Brothers Television and Jerry Bruckheimer Productions. Jerry Bruckheimer is executive producer and the series is co-produced by Jonathan Littman.


Cast Details:

Modern Men stars Eric Lively ("The L Word") as Doug Reynolds, Josh Braaten ("Less Than Perfect") as Tim Clark, Max Greenfield as Kyle Brewster, Marla Sokoloff ("The Practice") as Molly Clark, George Wendt ("Cheers) as Tug Clark and Jane Seymour ("Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman") as Dr. Victoria Stangel.

Eric Lively (Doug Reynolds) is known for his role as Mark Wayland on The L Word. He has also stared in the Showtime Original Picture Speak, written and directed by Oscar-winner Jessica Sharzer. Speak premiered at Sundance, competed in and won many indie-film competitions, including AFI's. Some of his other credits include Jon Avnet's Golden Globe Award-winning Uprising, Crash Course, written by Oscar and Emmy Award-winning Thomas Rickman, The Pact and the short-lived A Minute with Stan Hooper. Josh Braaten, in addition to many guest starring appearances on shows such as CSI: Miami and Life on a Stick, he has had a variety of recurring roles on television shows such as Married to the Kellys, Less Than Perfect and That 80s Show. He is also known for his role as Toby in New Line Cinema's Dumb and Dumber. Max Greenfield recently starred as Deputy Leo on the critically acclaimed series Veronica Mars, and has also guest starred on shows such as The WB's Gilmore Girls, Undressed and Boston Public. Marla Sokoloff is best known for her role as Lucy Hatcher on David E. Kelly's award-winning series The Practice. Her television credits include starring appearances on shows such as Friends, Full House, Party of Five, 3rd Rock from the Sun, 7th Heaven and the award-winning comedy Desperate Housewives as the young hot nanny. Best known to television audiences as Norm Peterson on Cheers, six-time Emmy Award-nominated actor George Wendt joins the cast as Tug Clarke, Tim and Molly's father who's stuck in the Stone Age when it comes to his views on the opposite sex. And finally, Jane Seymour, winner of multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Awards and recipient of the Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in the year 2000, bestowed upon her by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Seymour is also very well known for her popular CBS drama, "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman."


Pilot Plot:

"Pilot"
Friday, March 17, 9:30PM ET/PT

Tired of being on the losing battle of the opposite sex, Tim goes to life coach Dr. Victoria Stangel in an effort to better himself when it comes to women. And after some persuading, his pals Kyle and Doug join him for some tough lessons from Dr. Victoria.

Tim, Kyle and Doug are at different stages in their lives with women. Tim Clark is an attractive and good-hearted bachelor who can't seem to hold a relationship together. Kyle Brewster is a serializing womanizer who never seems to quite "get" the opposite sex. And Doug Reynolds is a bachelor with a child like naive quality about him who has trouble moving on from his ex-wife. Throw in Tim's lawyer sister Molly and restaurant owning stone age-ish father Tug and you've got a sitcom!

The pilot starts out with Kyle, after bedding a woman, trying to sneak out without her knowing. He of course gets caught and then calls her by the wrong name. Then we see Doug sadly trying to talk his ex-wife into going on a date with him and finds out she has a new man named Hector. Of course this scares Doug off. Then we see Tim being confronted by his longtime girlfriend Lisa about his inability to get a passport for their trip. She is dumping him. He begs her not to and offers to change and asks what she wants. She puzzles him by saying "more." Later, he vents to his buddies. The next scene he is at his dad's restaurant and we meet Tug, the dad. He is marveling at a picture of himself as a college football player. He hangs up the picture and Tug has a very old-age approach to women: he tells his son if he senses trouble, dump them first. Tim's sister Molly then arrives boasting about being in a mock trial at school. It's clear though that Tug doesn't see his daughter as "all grown up" and baby talks to her. Tug departs and Tim asks his sister for help. She gets a few digs in on him but then gives him a card to a life coach. Tim goes to meet Dr. Victoria Stangel and he's nervous. Victoria impresses Tim with how wise and smart she is. Tim tells his buddies Kyle and Doug. Doug eventually decides to do it but Kyle is hesitant and mocks it, but then the guys suggest it could help Kyle bed more girls so of course the next scene we see is him schmoozing Victoria, although she sees right through it. Basically it's the entire setup to the series and it's a very good pilot. It starts off with a lot of bad clichés but by the time Tim goes to meet the doctor it becomes very funny. Lots of dry humor but it's a very funny pilot.

I also had the opportunity to view the 4th episode of the series as well.

"Sexual Healing" - episode #4
(Unknown airdate)

The fourth episode is pretty much self explanatory from the title. The three guys go out on various dates with women after Dr. Victoria says a healthy relationship leads to good sex. Doug's approach of telling his girlfriend Jennifer he wants intimate relations with her, works like a charm. Kyle on the other hand freaks out his date by sharing his fears with her in an effort to "emotionally connect" with her instead of just sleeping with her. Tim meanwhile, is having bad sex with his girlfriend Anita yet they get along well.


Analysis:

This is Jane Seymour's first foray into a comedy series. She has natural talent and perfect delivery. The pilot itself started out unfunny and slow but by the time Seymour's character arrives the action picks up and the jokes start flowing. She's definitely a bright spot in this series. George Wendt also returns to television and he is perfect as the stone-ageish Tug who has a very narrow view on the opposite sex. He plays off his television kids well and there is chemistry between the three (Sokoloff and Braaten). Marla Sokoloff goes back to her sitcom roots (she recurred on "Full House" as a teen actress) as super-smart Molly, a lawyer in her second year of law school, and she shines. She is a very natural actress who also has fantastic delivery. And to not leave out the other two male leads, Max Greenfield takes a smarmy and could be sleazy character and makes you almost like him. Eric Lively is a fantastic actor to start with but he really shows his range in this series. He delivers his lines well and gives Doug such a child-like lovable quality to him. I can't say enough about the cast. I was really impressed by how they all clicked well, had chemistry and the lines were delivered so naturally. The bond between the guys is evident from the start. I was very impressed. I honestly didn't expect the series to be so ... good!


Conclusion:

Well, I basically said all I needed to in the above paragraph, but I still have more to add. I definitely must say this sitcom is a lot funnier, a lot smarter and not your typical WB fare (it could fit very well with Reba). It really impressed me. The entire cast gelled and had fantastic delivery of their lines. It was a true sitcom through and through that doesn't just rely on a punch line, although there are a ton of them throughout both episodes. I really can't say enough good things about "Modern Men" and I really hope it makes it onto The CW come this fall. If I had a WB affiliate right now I'd definitely tune in each week, as I encourage all of you to do!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 5/5
Funniness: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by Shawn Eaton on 03/14/2006

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