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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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Old 08-30-2008, 08:29 PM   #2
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Cool Men Will Be Boys and Slobs and Dogs

Men Will Be Boys, And Slobs and Dogs
Published: September 18, 1996

With a title as juicy as ''Men Behaving Badly,'' you almost don't need a show to go with it. Fortunately, the series behind the title is a blithely funny and sharp, though often impolite, battle-of-the-sexes comedy.

Like so many new series, this one begins with a pair of roommates. Ron Eldard (Shep from ''E.R.'') plays Kevin, the one with the job and the girlfriend. He is marginally the more mature roommate, which is a lot like saying Moe is the smartest Stooge.

Rob Schneider (the copy-room guy from ''Saturday Night Live'') is an unemployed photographer named Jamie, who in his more enlightened moments realizes he is a loser and tries to turn that to his advantage with women, whining and pleading when necessary.

Though the first episode of ''Men Behaving Badly'' will be shown tonight, it will seem familiar to anyone who watched the Olympics. NBC relentlessly showed scenes from this episode, including one in which Jamie runs out of coffee filters and substitutes his undershorts.

But the series works better as a whole. There is a neat balance between the characters, so the show is not all about crude uses for underwear. Mr. Eldard's well-meaning Kevin might actually grow up one of these years. Mr. Schneider's Jamie will always be brushing his teeth in the car and rinsing with coffee on his way to a job interview. Far from being mean-spirited, the series seems fond of these big babies, deftly played by actors who make their behavior unnervingly natural.

And equal sympathy is extended to women. Justine Bateman plays Sarah, Kevin's longtime and, needless to say, long-suffering girlfriend. In tonight's episode they wonder whether to have a child. ''It's not like I don't love her,'' Kevin tells Jamie in a serious man-to-man talk. ''But fatherhood? That's, like, a 10-year commitment!''

The best clue to the bemused tone of ''Men Behaving Badly'' comes in its stylish opening credit sequence, the most cathartic in recent memory. In a black-and-white montage from a century of movies, women slap men's faces with gloved hands, fists and purses, while Marshall Crenshaw sings the Beatles' ''Bad Boy'' (''Now, Junior, behave yourself'').

In fact, the series' secret appeal may be that it offers vicarious thrills for everyone: the men act any way they want and the women bluntly tell them off about it. Tonight, in one of the mock-sociological voice-overs that crop up between scenes, a woman's professorial voice explains everything. ''Amid the chaos, one constant remains,'' she says. ''Men are dogs; they just are.'' That might as well be taken as a compliment. It also turns out to be a pretty good assumption on which to build a sitcom.
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