Despite the fact that “Men of a Certain Age” has attained the audience numbers and critical acclaim to warrant a second season – which launches tomorrow night (12/6) on TNT – don’t expect the Ray Romano dramedy to linger on season after season.
That’s the word from the series’ Scott Bakula, who says of Ray and his co-creator, Mike Royce, “It was never their intention to have it become a nine-year-old show, to keep it going and going. Their intention is to move the stories along relatively quickly.”
Thus, “Ray’s character is moving forward in his relationships. His gambling story takes a crazy turn this year,” says Scott, speaking of Romano’s character’s apparent betting addiction. The third member of their triumvirate of buddies, played by Andre Braugher, will be seen “taking over his father’s car dealership with his wife. His dad has stepped away — but not stepped away.”
And as for Scott’s character, ne’er do well actor Terry, “The good news about him was he had so many places to go. My character turns 50 this season, and when you’re an almost 50-year-old and as much of a Peter Pan kind of guy as Terry is, there’s all kinds of potential. His car dealership job sticks for awhile, and Terry gets involved in a 9-to-5 lifestyle, which he’s never had to deal with before. That’s a maturing step for him. He has a responsibility because his friend has bailed him out and gotten him a job. Because of his commitment to his friend, he can’t just bail out this time.”
Bakula makes it clear that as far as he is concerned, “The cohesiveness of the writing on this show is what brings it all together. It’s not predictable, that’s kind of the wild card. These guys, their styles are so jarringly different, nobody’s on the same page. It’s amazing they all ended up in the same show. Do you buy that these guys are good friends and buddies? If you do, then we can do almost anything.”
Ironically, considering how convincingly he and Ray and Andre portray long-time bosom pals, they were near strangers when they began. “We didn’t hang out that much before the show started. I think I’d met Ray twice before the auditions. We would cross paths at golf tournaments, fundraisers and that kind of thing. We had a day of rehearsal or so together before we started shooting. That was it,” says Scott.
And during the hiatus between seasons, they also didn’t have a chance to pal around off-stage, “because Andre lives on the East Coast, he jumped on a plane even before the wrap party. We all have kids. Ray has a hugely busy life.”