October 7, 2013
We all know that men, in matters of love, are likely to be wounded warriors.
So says "We Are Men," CBS' amusing new sitcom about four men making the best of their shared bachelorhood and the camaraderie that results. (It premieres Monday at 7:30 p.m.)
The setting is an apartment complex (located "four exits from Hollywood, which means actresses!") that caters to the singles crowd, including this motley band of brothers: Frank, a four-time loser with a Casanova complex played by Tony Shalhoub ("Monk"); Stuart, an OB-GYN in the midst of his second divorce who embarrasses everyone with his hot-tub Speedos habit, played by Jerry O'Connell ("Crossing Jordan"); Gil, a small-business owner who feels constant remorse for his bungled affair, played by Kal Penn ("Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle"); and Carter, who was ditched by his fiancee at the altar, played by Chris Smith ("Enough Said").
During their first week shooting the series last August, the foursome are packed into Stuart's decade-old Buick (his fancy car is hidden so his estranged wife can't seize it) for a scene where the guys go for a late-night joyride.
Surrounded by three cameras, the car is mounted in front of a green screen on a soundstage at CBS Studio Center, with lights reflecting in the windshield to suggest the car is moving. Over and over - long enough for any actor to get saddle sore - these stars repeat a lively round of dialogue as Stuart makes an unplanned detour toward his ex-wife's house to holler out his window.
"I've got no other outlets for my anger," Stuart explains to his friends. "I'm tired of calling sports radio."
After an hour or more, the scene is finished, and, while the cameras are reset, the four men remove themselves from the car for a break.
Plopping themselves into a nearby row of director's chairs, they agree that it's fun to play men with such comic flaws and to lampoon the Y chromosome.
"The other night," says O'Connell, "we were filming on location in a nice neighborhood with white picket fences, and I'm holding my fist out the car window and screaming at a house. That's really fun! I would never do this in my real life!" For one thing, he's happily married to actress Rebecca Romijn. "Even so, it'd be something I'd be too AFRAID to do."