If ABC wanted to a.) build a show around “Modern Family’s” Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell), b.) Attempt to channel the Judd Apatow/“Hangover” film-going audience into TV success, c.) Create a male counterpart for “Sex and the City,” it would probably look a little like “Man Up!”
The new sitcom, debuting Tuesday (Oct. 18) evening on ABC stars Mather Zickel (Will), Christopher Moynihan (Craig) and Dan Fogler (Kenny) as three men struggling to remain men in a post-metrosexual world where manly displays of testosterone-fueled aggression have been relegated to online gaming. The show has definitely got potential and the pilot delivers laughs, though we’d lighten up on a couple of go-to gags (we’re totally over “fluffing” in place of the F-bomb and this is only the pilot).
And although the show is admittedly aiming for a “Hangover” audience, that movie and it’s brethren manage to telegraph a dude vibe without overtly voicing it. “Man Up!” actually uses the title words as a line:
“What would our fathers have done?” says Zickel at one point. “They were real men. Not the over-evolved generation of panty-waists we’ve become. It’s time to man up.”
Our advice, tone down the “manly” references. Actions speak louder than words. Well, maybe not in a sitcom, but you get our meaning.
We particularly enjoyed Fogler, an actor/singer whose moment has definitely arrived — he’s kind of a cross between Jack Black and Booger from “Revenge of the Nerds” and Zack Galifianakis and somehow that works for him. Also watch for Teri Polo (“Meet the Parents”) as Zickel’s Claire Dunphy-esque wife.
In the pilot episode, each of the three leads has a quest to complete. Will is struggling to teach his 13-year-old son how to be a man (apparently it involves weaponry), Craig is trying to resist the siren call of an ex and Kenny sets himself up in a chest-thumping contest with his ex-wife’s ridiculously hot new boyfriend, Grant (Henry Simmons).