If television has taught me anything (and, let’s be honest, it’s taught me everything), it’s that men have a lot more rules to abide by than I could have ever imagined. The dudes on Entourage were always instructing guys to “Hug it out!”; How I Met Your Mother‘s Barney urges on a weekly basis that they “Suit up!“; and now a new ABC sitcom is barking another instruction at the oppressed gender and it’s right in the title: Man Up! (And you know they mean business when there’s an exclamation point involved.) Poor men. When will the world ever cut them a break?!
So what did we learn from last night’s Man Up! pilot? Well, first, the series centers around insurance salesman Will (Mather Zickel). A Phil-from-Modern-Family look-a-like, his biggest problems are that he doesn’t know what constitutes as a “man” gift for his 13-year-old son, he likes non-dairy hazelnut creamer, and he plays video games with his friends (but only when his wife, played by Meet the Parents‘ Teri Polo, allows him/doesn’t want to have sex with him). His buddies? The sensitive Craig (Christopher Moynahan), who is still lovelorn over his ex and knows un-manly things like the French word for “mother.” And the brash Kenny (Dan Folger), a divorcee who ends every sentence by yelling it and whose ex-wife is dating a guy named Grant (Henry Simmons) who looks and sounds an awful lot like the Old Spice Guy. (“I have more energy…in the bedroom. I’m kidding. Or am I?”)
But, here’s all the man rules I came away with from last night’s Man Up! premiere:
Real men do:
• Enjoy gifts that include hookers, a trash bag full of chicken wings, shotguns, rubber rafts, alligators, and, above all, beer.
• Fight in wars.
• Seduce women in bouncy castles. (It’s soft and there’s exotic lighting.)
• Come up with whacky, weirdly-out-of-date nicknames for their friends. Ex: Craig becomes Blitzcraig. (Note, you must shout the nickname, as well.)
• Grow up on classic movies “about a boy’s transition to manhood.” And by that they mean “nothing with Brendan Fraser.” (Wait…What?! Not even School Ties? I do not Brendan Fraser applaud this rule.)
• Shout the name of a fish before they tackle someone. (“Barracuda!”)
Real men don’t:
• Write in a journal to express your feelings, emotions, or write poetry. (In fact, if you do this, your manlier buddy will suggest you put “all those things in your uterus.”)
• Use pomegranate body wash.
• Desperately call up their exes. (C’mon Blitzcraig, did you learn nothing from the ultimate man rule movie Swingers?)
• Play, own, or enjoy maracas.
• Want closure. (In fact, if you do this, your manlier buddy will suggest you “close your vagina.” It’s a play on words! Double burn!)
• Sing in churches. (Note: This is specific to Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” in an attempt to win back your ex on her wedding day.)
• Shop for special birthday gifts for their kids. (Just give them a knife.)
• Call the cops when someone threatens them to a fight. You fight them. (Or, in this case, have the Faux Old Spice Guy do it.)
Wow, I don’t know about you, PopWatchers, but I learned a lot. By the way, I counted, and the characters in Man Up! said “man” (or a variation of “men” and “manhood”) no less than 25 times in the pilot. Oh man.
So what did you think of Man Up!, PopWatchers? Did you learn a lot about what it’s like to be a man or did you find the gender roles they assigned to everyone pretty “fluffed up”? (Or was that just Craig’s hair?) Did certain scenes, like the balloon replacing tumble weed before the front yard showdown, actually make you laugh? Or do you think listening to “Man Up” from The Book of Mormon on repeat for a half an hour would serve as a better instructional guide? WWTMD? Share in the comments section below.