Showtime Wanks It Up

Hello Meta Man; the Grim Reaper Lands a Series

The most interesting thing about Out of Order may be its gender politics. Lorna is the dominant one professionally, while Mark is an oddly epicene character, with a high voice (Lorna reprimands him for shrieking like a girl at their son's soccer game), a smallish penis, and a tendency to fill his emotional void by stuffing his face with chocolate and Pepperidge Farm Milanos. (He also dances around the room to Garbage's "Only Happy When It Rains," a cute Gen-X-reaches-midlife signpost.) When feminized Mark falls for soccer mom Danni, there is a faint air of the lesbian about their affair. Meanwhile, Lorna boozes and shoots the shit with her drug buddy Steven, a washed-up movie producer played by William H. Macy.

An awkward mix of glamour (power meetings with directors like Peter Bogdanovich), Thirtysomething angst, and superfluous postmodern gimcrackery, Out of Order manages to keep you watching even as it irritates. It's hard to identify with these wealthy characters—something the series self-consciously acknowledges: "I know, nobody sympathizes with someone in a Mercedes," Mark quips while driving his son to soccer practice. "But it's the best car I've ever had, so don't hold it against me, OK?" More frustrating is the sense that the show is grasping for a profundity beyond its reach. That's the new middlebrow for ya.

Guess who's coming to dinner: Out of Order.
photo: Annie Chia
Guess who's coming to dinner: Out of Order.


Out of Order
Premieres June 1 at 10 p.m. on Showtime

Dead Like Me
Premieres June 27 at 10 p.m. on Showtime

Hey Monie
Tuesdays at 8 on BET

Hey Monie is a series in the same vein as Sex in the City, except that its feisty gal pals are African American. Oh, and they're also cartoons. Since March, Hey Monie has been airing Tuesday nights at 8 on BET, the first animated series to place a black woman at its center. Starting June 1, it will also run Sundays at 9:30 on Oxygen, which coproduced it with BET. The show revolves around Simone (a/k/a Monie), an upwardly mobile PR executive. In the episode I previewed, she's struggling to impress her bosses at work, keep her wily grandma at bay, and stay tight with her best friend, Yvette, who makes her crazy but always comes through, in true sitcom style. Although there's a little too much righteous head-waggling (of the "Uh-huh, sister, you tell it" variety), the fraught relationship between the sparring women results in some great dialogue and gentle, convincing comedy.

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