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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Men of a Certain Age – Can’t Let That Slide

TNT sent me an advance copy of the final six episodes of season two of “Men of a Certain Age” and I’m blogging my way through them. I’ve been attempting to do summaries of episodes and to be honest, that’s not my thing. I’m more of a pick a scene that moves me kind of guy and write about that. So, from here on out, that’s the plan with this series.

Ray Romano plays Joe in
"Men of a Certain Age"
Photo: Danny Feld
Over the past couple of episodes, Joe’s bookie, Manfro, has been going through chemotherapy. He asked Joe to pick up money from a bettor and that plunged Joe back into his old gambling habit – but this time, he’s cutting in on Manfro’s action while he’s sick.

Joe gets in even deeper during this episode, which airs tonight on TNT at 10:00 pm Eastern, 9:00 pm Central. He takes a large bet from a man named Marty who can’t afford to pay after he loses. Joe walks into Marty’s place of employment, an electronics store, and applies the heat, hoping the man will crack and somehow come up with the money.

“Listen George,” Marty says to Joe, who is using a pseudonym, “I’m kind of going through a whole thing right now, okay?” He’s unshaven, fidgety, desperate. “So, I don’t know ... I guess it all kind of got away from me.”

Joe stares at Marty as he pleads his case, seeing himself and not liking what he sees.

“Look I just needed to hit this one time,” Marty says, “Just one more stupid time and I would be out of this stupid hole that I’m in now.”

Joe continues to stare.

“My wife left and she took the kids and I’m staying in this piece of s**t apartment,” Marty continues. “My kids are seven and eight. I feel like a total a**hole. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I don’t have it. I don’t have it. I’m sorry. I don’t know what to say man ... I’m sorry... I don’t have ...”

And there it is – Marty has just described the exact same situation Joe went through as a result of his own gambling problems.

“It’s okay,” Joe says. “Yeah, it’s okay ...” He turns around and walks out.

Self deception isn’t all that difficult, but when somebody else we know demonstrates the same faults or poor decisions we’ve made, then it becomes much more difficult. As I watched it unfold, I felt for both men and I felt for their families who were torn apart.

The damage won’t end there. When Manfro finds out Joe has been taking advantage of him while he’s been going through chemo, that friendship is bound to end. Although, if Manfro was really thinking the way a friend should, he would have never put Joe in the position he did to begin with.

Brokenness tends to breed brokenness though. One bad decision leads to another one, and so it goes, until someone or something wakes a person up. Maybe this will be the wakeup call Joe needs. I hope so. But the fallout is still going to be ugly.


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