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 this series' main character, Marin, has a tough exterior that belies her sensitive side. That said, viewers do see her crave cigarettes when she's stressed and down vodka shots to calm her nerves. Since the majority of the characters are men and women in their 30s in relationships or looking for love, the show has its share of post-coital scenes, with unmarried partners relaxing in bed.
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What's the story?
In the endearing dramedy MEN IN TREES, a relationship coach/bestselling author finds that she must reexamine herself and everything she thought she knew about dating when her engagement unravels and she suddenly finds herself relocating to a male-dominated Alaskan town. Anne Heche stars as Marin Frist, who not only has a successful career advising the lovelorn, but a handsome fiancé, Graham (Tobias Slezak), to boot. But when, during a trip to a Elmo, Alaska, Marin discovers that Graham's been cheating on her with a close friend, she realizes that she doesn't know that much about men after all. Though Marin initially does everything in her power to get back to Manhattan as soon as possible, Elmo's easy-going ways grow on her, and she decides to stay a while and slow down while she reexamines her life. (Yes, it does sound more than a little like Northern Exposure, but isn't imitation the sincerest form of flattery?)
Is it any good?
Well-acted by a cast that includes Derek Richardson as Patrick, a sweet and devoted fan of Marin's books; Abraham Benrubi as Ben, the sophisticated local bartender; James Tupper as Jack, the handsome environmentalist who regularly and playfully spars with Marin; and Seana Kofoed as Jane, Marin's editor who comes for the occasional visit, Men in Trees (the title refers to the signs found all over bucolic Elmo that warn pedestrians of the workers strapped to branches above) is full of cute scenes sure to have veterans of the dating scene smiling.
Executive produced by Sex and the City writer Jenny Bicks, the show doesn't really break any truly new creative ground (not only has the Alaska angle been done before, but so has the navel-gazing, lovelorn gal). But it's a clever, engaging series that explores the search for love and tackles the question on the minds of many modern singles: What am I doing wrong? And the subject matter is given a light touch thanks to witty writing, making Men in Trees fine fare for older teens looking for intelligent programming.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes a good relationship. How do people's prejudices hold them back from accepting someone else the way he or she is? What role does trust play in a partnership? Why is it important to be honest with your boyfriend/girlfriend and treat him or her with respect?