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Old 08-30-2008, 08:21 PM   #1
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Cool A Few Men Behaving Badly Articles From St. Petersburg Times & New York Times

NBC's `Men Behaving' isn't so bad
Sep 18, 1996

Watching Men Behaving Badly brings to mind an interesting, if sexist, recent TV debate over the wicked British sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. After the show - about two ill-mannered, drug-using, men-abusing full-grown floozies - achieved cult status on cable's Comedy Central, America's baddest girl, Roseanne, bought the right to remodel it for network eyeballs.

That was January 1995, this is the 1996 season, and still nothing. Guess the naysayers were right when they pointed out that Americans don't like their women that naughty.

But oh, how we love our men troubled and tortured, how we accept, embrace and giggle at their faults. If the viewing public finds wild women a threat, we welcome manic men with open arms. How else to explain tonight's arrival of Men Behaving Badly (9:30 p.m., WFLA-Ch. 8), NBC's laugh-packer based on its own raunchy Britcom.

Imagine an Odd Couple of two Oscars, two well-meaning but hopelessly pathetic guys for whom dressing and making it to work each day is an Olympic feat. So much so that only one of them, Kevin (Ron Eldard, ER) actually does it. The other, Jamie (Rob Schneider, Saturday Night Live), makes coffee with dirty underwear as a filter and risks his life to impress scantily-clad tire models. Don't ask how Jamie's job interview went - he got caught stealing office supplies after coming on to the hiring director's daughter.

In an otherwise tepid, unoriginal fall television season, Men Behaving Badly will either excite or incite. Guaranteed - for both sexes. Men were/are/know these slouches. Women have either datedor dumped or married them. There is no middle ground, because thankfully, Men Behaving Badly is not a middle-of-the-road show.

"Male behavior has never been more widely debated nor more dimly understood," the show's comic disclaimer reads. "Amid the chaos, one constant remains: Men are dogs. They just are."

Even the opening credits - a black-and-white movie montage of women slapping men - examine the gender war we wage every day.

In lesser hands, the antics could ring offensive and sophomoric. But from the creative team behind Roseanne, The Cosby Show and 3rd Rock from the Sun, this dastardly duo retain a heart and soul underneath the dirty laundry. And as they constantly push the limits of poor taste and worse judgment, they somehow manage to display the unthinkable: Charm. (Now, if only Jamie could convince the tire model of that. It has been a long time since he has had sex, you see.)

Curiously observing the lunacy is Sarah (Justine Bateman, Family Ties), Kevin's long-suffering girlfriend, a nurse who loves him in spite of both their faults. Call hers misbehavior by association.

"You know hospitals, there's probably going to be people hurt or something," she grumbles getting ready for an early morning shift. "Sometimes I wish they'd all die so I could sleep in." ON TELEVISION Men Behaving Badly (9:30 p.m., tonight, WFLA-Ch. 8) Series debut: B
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