'Man Up!' gets thumbs down

Man Up!

Man Up!

BILL HARRIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

You know all those TV comedies that emerged this fall, not to mention over the past few years, with females in the lead roles?

We're thinking about shows such as 2 Broke Girls, Whitney, New Girl, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, The Big C, Nurse Jackie, Weeds and even Mike & Molly, in which Melissa McCarthy undoubtedly is the star.

Well, despite society's need to champion women as emerging underdogs even in areas where they clearly have taken over, here's a contrary observation:

How many truly funny male-dominated sitcoms are there these days?

An argument could be made that there hasn't been a great guy-centric comedy to hit the airwaves since The Big Bang Theory in 2007. And even that show gradually and sneakily has become a unisex project with the addition of Howard's girlfriend Bernadette and Sheldon's quasi-girlfriend Amy Farrah Fowler.

This is a roundabout way of broaching the subject of the new sitcom Man Up!, which debuts Tuesday, Oct. 18 on ABC and CTV Two.

To be clear, if you're pining for the next great male sitcom, this isn't it.

While some of the characters aren't horrible, there are way too many cliches packed into the wider premise, which is: Modern men are emasculated idiots. That may very well be true. It's also true to say the sky is blue, but that on its own would not make for a great TV show.

Man Up! focuses on three broadly drawn male characters: Dutiful husband and father Will, played by Mather Zickel; sensitive single-guy Craig, played by Christopher Moynihan; and divorced rage-aholic Kenny, played by Dan Fogler. The theme of Man Up! can be summed up by this exchange between Will and his wife Theresa, played by Teri Polo:

Theresa: "Your grandfather fought in World War II. Your father fought in Vietnam. But you play videogames and use pomegranate body wash."

Will: "Are you saying I'm not a man?"

Theresa: "You are man ... ish."

And there it is.

Man Up! supposedly is about men, but the men seem determined to live up to all stereotypes as they exist as mere props in a female-dominated world. Will, for example, is completely obsessed by what to get his 13-year-old son for his birthday. Really? Like, who cares? Craig is so lovelorn that he loses all sense of judgment when an ex-girlfriend is getting married to another man. And Kenny does this barking burst-of-anger thing -- apparently Fogler's comedic go-to move -- that gets tiresome even before the first episode is over.

There also is a character named Grant, played by Henry Simmons, who is a sitcom version of that hunky dude who became famous for those innovative Old Spice commercials. You know the ones: "Hello ladies. Look at your man. Now back at me. Now back at your man. Now back to me. Sadly, he isn't me."

Like the Old Spice guy, Grant -- who shows up as the new boyfriend of Kenny's ex-wife Bridgette, played by Amanda Detmer -- exists solely to make Will, Craig and Kenny feel even more inferior.

OK, we get it. Men are stupid. And while women can be either kind or evil, they always are smarter than men. Thank you, sitcom world. If Man Up! doesn't get better quickly, it'll be Man Down.


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