A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Men at Work is a pretty racy workplace comedy featuring a group of four single male friends who work together and apparently have raging sex lives with a variety of willowy twentysomething blondes. Women and their feelings are treated very casually, even cruelly by the men, but it's all played for laughs. Parents will find plenty to be concerned about here, particularly the way female characters respond positively to oafish behavior and leap into bed as casually as a real human being might brush her teeth. But if your teens must watch, we suggest you watch alongside, so you can talk about the rampant misogyny.
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What's the story?
In the half-hour workplace/buddy sitcom MEN AT WORK, Milo (Danny Masterson), nebbishy Neal (Adam Busch), horndog Gibbs (James Lesure), and smooth Tyler (Michael Cassidy) are in New York and on the make. They trade quips and dirty stories about women while they work together on a magazine, and then even dirtier quips and stories at their special table in their favorite restaurant. In between they kill time by looking for (and landing) a series of women who usually disappear immediately afterwards. Milo is the show's main character, depicted as an average guy who wants to find lasting love but in the meantime wants to get laid, a lot.
Is it any good?
One can envision the pitch meeting for Men at Work: "It's like Sex in the City! Except with guys!" And like the much smarter sitcom Sex and the City, the four friends have bawdy adventures, then sit down at their special table at their favorite restaurant to talk about them. But whereas the foibles of Carrie et al. sound outrageous on paper yet were executed wittily and mostly realistically, on Men at Work when Milo (Danny Masterson) asks a woman if she will be his "rebound ass" she actually goes home with him. And then gives him a lecture on finding love before joining his roommate and a new friend in the bedroom. Meanwhile the laugh track haw-haws at all the goings-on, which only points up how unfunny most people will find this predictable and achingly dumb show.
There is a place in the world for shows about men being men. Think Entourage or Home Improvement. But while those shows are rarely cringeworthy, Men at Work is painfully so. Not only are these men unrealistically horny and oafish, they're unbelievably successful with impossibly hot women, who they then mock to their buddies. In between, dialogue like "We're going to take your new single penis out for a test drive" substitutes for affection, and "Did you or did you not bang my cleaning lady?" purports to be humor. Not so much.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why the male characters on Men at Work, as a whole, are less conventionally attractive than the female characters. Do you notice this in other television shows or movies? What about in real life? What does it say about what we ask from women vs. what we expect of men?
The four main characters on Men at Work are all employed at a magazine. Do you know how much magazine writers make yearly? How much do you think the rent on Milo's apartment costs a month? Do you think he could live in this apartment without a roommate in real life?
The characters on Men at Work seem to take sex and love very lightly. How do you respond to that? Does the fact that the show is supposed to be a comedy affect your opinion?
For kids who love comedy
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