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Archive for Thursday, May 24, 2012

New sitcom is no laughing matter

May 24, 2012

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One day after the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, we can safely say that the sitcom is back. And the female-skewing, raunchy comedy is king — or queen, if you will. The fall network schedules are full of new half-hour comedies. Most notably, the success of “2 Broke Girls” has moved “Two and a Half Men” from its role as the center of CBS’ successful Monday night schedule. It will join “The Big Bang Theory” on Thursdays next fall.

Tonight, TBS launches “Men at Work” (9 p.m.). As the title implies, the show is about guys. Four of them. They work together, drink and prowl for sexual conquests together and meet again for breakfast the next morning to talk about what they did together the night before.

‘‘Men” kicks off as Milo (Danny Masterson, “That ’70s Show”) is telling the guys how his longtime girlfriend dumped him the night before. Actually, we see and hear two versions of the story because the guys find the first one too unbelievable. This is about as clever as “Men” gets.

Milo and his pals work together at an unnamed magazine that seems like an amalgam of what Maxim and Rolling Stone were circa 1999. Tyler (Michael Cassidy) appears to be the alpha dude, the features editor with a huge apartment who gets to interview really big stars. Gibbs (James Lesure) is a photographer and all-around stud. Neal (Adam Busch) is an ad salesman and the nerd of the group.

‘‘Men” does not conform to television series’ new pattern of strong, sassy women; it barely acknowledges women at all, except as easy conquests. One gets the sense that the folks behind “Men” learned about human behavior by watching beer commercials that air during “Seinfeld” reruns.

• “Duets” (7 p.m., ABC) joins the summer talent competition fray with big stars and several variations on this very familiar format. Singers Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles and Robin Thicke will judge and mentor singers they choose as the show progresses.

Legend was called in to replace Lionel Richie at the last minute, even though Richie still appears in clips on the network’s website. So the unknown performers may not be the only ones winging it tonight.

Tonight’s other highlights

• “Perez Hilton All Access: Lady Gaga”(7 p.m., CW) has an interview with the singer who recently appeared on “The Simpsons.”

• Alex Trebek hosts the geography quiz “Geo Bee 2012” (7 p.m., National Geographic). I’ll take Burkina Faso for $1,000!

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