Last night, Men of a Certain Age premiered on TNT. The show stars Ray Romano, Andre Braugher, and Scott Bakula as men in their late 40’s dealing with, well, being men of a certain age. It was great to see Andre Braugher (who’s never gotten the accolades he deserves) back on TV, and I really enjoyed the show. What I found most interesting is how well I could relate to the characters, despite being younger and a woman.
Andre Braugher’s character is dealing with diabetes, working in a job he can’t stand but staying put so that he can pay the bills, and trying to live up to his father’s expectations. As a coping mechanism he resorts to what Bakula’s character calls angry eating. If I had a bagel for every time I ate out of anger or frustration, I’d…well, therein lies the problem, I HAVE had a bagel every time I was angry and frustrated. Bakula’s character is an out of work actor and ladies man who’s set his standards so high for work, he won’t go on casting calls for anything he finds demeaning. During a conversation with a struggling writer working as a barista, he asks her if she’d take a cheesy writing job, she responds that she would, because right now, she’s writing on coffee cups. Romano’s character is separated, on the verge of developing a gambling addiction and hanging on to the hope of a relationship that’s seemingly over.
The fact that I can relate to each of these characters suggests that the differences between men and women of a certain age may not be as great as we think. The fears of one day not being able to recognize the person we see in the mirror, of not being the person we thought we’d be when we thought we’d be him or her, and feeling the sadness of wanting something we once had and realizing we may never have it again, are universal. Maybe once you hit that forty mark your thought pattern begins to change and you realize, male or female, that you’re running out of time for what ifs and regrets. That if you don’t stop waiting for the perfect time to do something, you may never do it, that if you keep ‘angry eating’ you’ll angrily eat yourself into an early grave and that if you keep pining over something you’ve lost, you’ll never find something new. Maybe men and women of a certain age aren’t that different after all. Well, except for the fact that even in their late 40’s these men still refer to women’s breasts as ‘boobs’ and fall dumbstruck when they see a pair. I guess some things never change.