There’s a phenomenon at the TCA press tour — deftly explained here — where a press conference for a show is better, or at least more entertaining, than the pilot episode critics have seen.
The “We Are Men” pilot sent to critics had some issues. It’s about a guy (Smith) who moves into an apartment complex after being left at the altar and falls in with three divorced men who also live there, and it plays the situation about as broadly as you can imagine. It’s very dude-centric, and its attitude toward women is retrograde, to say the least.
But the show Greenberg and the cast described Monday sounds better than that. Here’s what the actors say about what it means to be a man in the show’s world.
Smith: “When you’re in a relationship, there’s a certain amount of stability there, and … when that disengages and you’re newly single, it’s almost like when mom and dad leave the house and the kids are left to their own devices. It’s fun, there’s less rules and laws. Being a man is in sort of discovering that, discovering manhood when you’re on your own.”
Shalhoub: “I think it’s interesting too that you mention seeing the men’s anger toward women, because I really believe that it’s sort of misplaced. Their anger is really, I believe, anger at themselves, and that gets misdirected to their various exes and the women in their lives. It’s these guys — and this is common of men — coming to grips with where the real problems lie in their lives.”
Penn: “There’s a whole element to the show that I love, which is that these guys are inherently extremely vulnerable. … Aside from the bromance and the stuff where you pretend to be confident in front of each other … there are these really sweet moments with the daughters. Every episode we’ve read so far ends with a lot of sweetness.”
Greenberg adds the characters will eventually “call each other out” when they’re acting like idiots and back each other if a new relationship develops for one of them.
“If one of these guys fell in love and the woman is great, they’d all be for it and encourage him to move on,” Greenberg says. “So it’s not about you can’t go out in the world or women are bad. It’s about doing it the right way and doing it in a way that’s meaningful and loving. I think they would all support each other in that.”
“We Are Men” premieres Sept. 30 on CBS. The version of the show described above could debut as soon as the following week.