Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Guilty Pleasures – Passing the Baton: Men in Trees

So I thought it would be Big Brother 7: All Stars passing back the guilty pleasures baton to Dancing with the Stars, but it kept going past 10:02pm right to Men in Trees. Remember yesterday when I asked if ABC thought we were idiots to not be able to turn the channel at 10:02 pm and avoid Men In Trees? Well, apparently I’m one of those idiots and ABC was right. Cause I stuck around for the new show and guess what? Despite the lukewarm reviews (at best), and the fact the show has been done before as Northern Exposures meets Sex and the City, I kinda like it actually. Must be the Sex and the City part since I was never a big fan of Northern Exposures (but I might have been too young at the time to understand it) and from memories, Men In Trees doesn’t seem Northern Exposures to me except the whole Alaskan town thing.

Men In Trees follows Anne Heche’s character, a famous relationship expert/writer (a la Carrie Bradshaw) who discovers on her speaking engagement trip to Alaska, that her fiancé is cheating on her (a la Ed), and through the first episode, ends up in an isolated little northern town full of quirky characters (like men, literally in trees) (a la Northern Exposures?) and decides to stay. It’s full of stock characters, though Derek Richardson is adorable as the cute naïve innkeeper/radio host and it’s good to see Sarah Strange get another part after making a mark in Life As We Know It, and it’s nice to see Abraham Benrubi in an actual role (ER was fine but who would have thought he would be the one to still be around from the Parker Lewis Can’t Lose cast?). Anne Heche is pretty enjoyable as the lead, and uses her kookiness (a nice way to say CRAZY) and her authoritative speak (used well in Wag the Dog) to perfection in this role, and if she had to leave Everwood, Colorado, it may have well been here. Yet, I’m willing to go on a limb here and say that the stock characters seem to have more behind their pasts and aren’t just simpletons, but I guess we need more than just the pilot to get into all that.

The plot is contrived and predictable and while it’s not quite up to the TV making standards that make TV nowadays feel more like movies, more than movies feel like movies do, it has a nice TV movie romantic comedy feel that might just be a nice balance to all the stress related shows (see Lost, 24, Justice, Standoff, House, Bones, CSI etc. etc.). It’s not quite a great show but its likeable and kinda addictive like those cream puff balls you swore you would never eat again.


Liz said...

Yeah, I hear ya on the romantic comedy mindless fun thing, which I really do often enjoy, but I just couldn't get past the "hammer the metaphors into your skull"-style writing and the really predictable jokes. Ah, well...plenty of new shows to go around!

vance said...

How True how true. Im also sure Im giving this show more chances cause it'll be on Friday which I have nothing to watch at this point (Degrassi will be on Tuesdays here in Canada). Still, maybe after Fox only shows premiering, this seemed okay, but I sure grinned and laughed more than I thought I would.

Liz said...

I have to admit, I did love the bear spray thing (shhh). I'd probably take Las Vegas over this one, though (same time slot here in the States, at least).

vance said...

oh yes. that's another good ham and cheese show (Las Vegas). not particularly good for you but satisfies the cravings sometimes. (whats with my food metaphors? apparently I eat too much). I won't tape it now that its in whatever season it is, but if it's on, I might watch it. I'll keep Men in Trees on my tapeworthy list for now while I still have lots of room (just emptied out everything so TV FALL SEASON! BRING IT ON!).

International Jock Crocs, Inc. Bare Necessities>