Mind of the Married Man

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Aaron: C- | Grade It Now!
Out Of My Mind

I have a shocking confession to make: I'm not married.

Now I know that's probably going to come as a surprise to anyone in the audience not named Lauren Ambrose, but it's true. If you're wondering how a guy as obviously witty (whiny), handsome (neurotic), and intelligent (what can I say? It comes with being Jewish) as myself has managed to avoid getting engaged to any of those Miss America contestants or sexy Nobel Prize winners that are always hanging out on the internet, well, wonder no more. It's actually because I'm saving myself for Sars. Ow! Dammit, Daniel, I was kidding. Stop hitting me. Not you, Sars. That I kinda like. Anyway, the point is that this brief autumn journey of ours into the Mind of the Married Man will be just as much an adventure for me as it will be for all of you. Well, all of you who aren't married, that is. Oh Lauren, why hast thou forsaken me?

Right. Anyway, now that we've got the overtly ironic intro out of the way, it's time to take a break and be serious for a moment. I can't imagine anything more pointless and inane than dedicating a recap of this crap-ass show (tm Miss Alli) to the people affected by last week's attacks, but that's exactly what I'm going to do, largely because sometimes it feels like that's all I can do. My dad spent five years in the FDNY, and he probably knows way too many of the guys who were in those buildings. There's really nothing I can say about sacrifice and heroism that hasn't already been said better by someone else, but since HBO saw fit to honor the memory of these men and women by canceling the premiere of this show and replacing it with a movie about a terrorist attack on New York, I thought it was important to try and inject some dignity back into these proceedings. So, if you haven't already, click the "What can you do to help" link on the front page. Believe me, there's nothing pointless about that.

And now, on with the recap…

We open with some '40s-style black-and-white credits as an anonymous crooner assures us repeatedly that he does, in fact, love his wife. From there, the show moves straight into what appears to be its signature style: inane banter about sexual subjects already well-covered by far superior shows, movies, and men's magazines. Two men are wandering through the wind-swept streets of Chicago, babbling about wives and computer pornography. Since there's nothing about these characters that anyone who read the one-line descriptions in the TV Guide doesn't already know, I'm just going to go ahead and give their names up front. The guy on the left is Mickey, our protagonist. The guy on the right is Doug, our, uh, pussy. Seriously. But more on that later. Anyway, the gist of the conversation is that Mickey's wife has found pornography on his computer. "What kind?" asks Doug, and it was here that I had originally intended to insert a minor treatise on all the myriad and wondrous forms of pornography to be found on this great internet of ours. Then I remembered that if you're reading this, you're already on-line, so it's not like you need me to tell you where to find the porn. In fact, do me a favor and close that other browser window. That's disgusting. At one point in the scene, we cut to a shot of Mickey's wife Donna checking out the previously mentioned pornography on a product-placed Powerbook. So, would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what Gerald Levin might be doing in the presumably pornographic pictures Steve Jobs apparently has of him? I mean, given the incessant placement Macintosh products get on both HBO and the WB, I'm surprised they haven't replaced that goofy singing frog with a goofy singing apple by now.

It's at this point that they're joined by a third friend, who, when filled in on the whole porn snafu, promptly replies, "You're fucked," just so we know he's the vulgar one. He proceeds to expand on this characterization by explaining that Mickey only masturbates because he doesn't have the guts to go after the real thing. You do get where they're going with these characters, right? How the one friend loves his wife, and the other cheats? One's good, and the other is bad? Are you sure you get it? Anyway, apropos of almost nothing, the vulgar friend (Jake) offers to set Mickey up with his "computer consultant." Cut to later, where Mickey is nervously pressing Jake for details on exactly what sort of "consulting" this woman might do. In accord with the frank, mature, and intelligent way in which this show handles its sexual content, I've decided to dub Binder's anxious, stuttering "acting" style here "sporting a Woody." He does it quite often, so it's important that we all be clear on the terminology. Jake explains that all you have to do is call the consultant and tell her "you've got a hard disk problem or a stuck floppy," while we watch jump-cuts of a saucily-clad young woman bending over to upload his…whoops. Almost went to a bad, bad place, there. You know, it was recently pointed out to me by a fellow recapper that my doing this show was going to afford me "all the wrong kind of opportunities," and now I'm worried that she might be right. At least there doesn't appear to be anyone stalk-worthy on this one. Lauren must be so relieved. Anyway, Jake seems to feel that his cheating with prostitutes is precisely why his marriage is so good. The extra sex on the side means that he doesn't ever resent his wife, whereas Mickey will always be "pining." Fortunately, "pining" doesn't seem to be any kind of a euphemism in this context. It's also worth noting that we're only three minutes in here, and I'm already on page three of the recap. Somehow I don't think the fact that this show is only a half-hour long is going to make much of a difference for me. Those legions of you out there who found my SFU recaps to be stultifying, sedulous, and anything but succinct should probably be heading over to ScoopMe right about now.

Back at the Binder Boudoir, we finally get to meet Donna. We learn that she's a tough-talking career gal (in fact, she's a newspaper reporter, just like her husband), as well as a loving and caring mother. We know this because she's got a baby in one arm, and she's using the other to hold the phone she's screaming into. Her other arm, not her other baby. Primarily because she doesn't have another baby. Yet. More on that later, too. Mickey returns home to this scene of domestic bliss, and he completely ignores the maid behind them in the kitchen as he rushes to greet his wife and young son. Donna covers the phone long enough to ask him to change the baby's diaper, but Mickey refuses and whines that he can't be expected to change a diaper immediately upon returning home because he needs time to "acclimate." Instead of putting down the phone, kicking him in the nuts, and filing for divorce like any other sane woman would do, Donna merely shoves the kid into his arms and goes back to her phone call. Wow. We're only four minutes in now, and I already hate every character on the show. This doesn't bode well. Hell, even Dawson was likable four minutes in. ["No, he wasn't." -- Sars]

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Mind of the Married Man




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