Have you ever heard of the term “andropause”? Supposedly this is “male menopause,” which describes the slow decline in testosterone that men experience as they age. The medical community hasn’t made the term official because, well, it’s not the same as actual menopause. So imagine a drama about a man who uses these physical changes as an excuse to act like a total jerk around his loved ones. Read on for more information.
Opening shot: An overview of a small boat ashore on a beach. In it there is a man lying face down, blood all over the back of his neck. His skinny shorts have the word “HAPPY” on the back.
The essence: Yusuf (Engin Günaydin) is a shop owner in his mid-fifties who is going through a serious mid-life crisis. He has just dyed his gray hair what he thinks is blonde, but it looks more red. He has changed his clothes and rides around his seaside town on a scooter that he still can’t handle 100 percent. He rants about how time passes faster now than in the past. He decides to open an Instagram account.
His wife Mereym (Derya Karadas) is seeing these changes and decides to have her sister Fadime (Sebnem Hassanisoughi), who likes visions and divination, read the tea leaves. Fadime sees something coming that “will hang over her home.” Yusuf picks her up and they go to the beach for a beer, a rare event. He tells her to turn around and shows her her house by the sea that she wants to buy. They can sell their current home and family cabin, which Mereym calls a “family heirloom.”
When she goes to the doctor to have an ingrown hair on her butt looked at, she asks the doctor about all her changes, and the doctor suggests that she is going through “andropause,” or male menopause. Is it something real? Who knows, but the doctor sure convinces Yusuf that he is. But as he talks about it without saying what it is, more and more Mereym thinks that she is dying of cancer. She tells the kids, and after they get mad, they try to figure out who to split her assets with and put Mereym, still 40, in a nursing home.
Fadime’s husband, Halit (Tamer Karadagli), thinks it’s time for him to talk to Yusuf, as his brother-in-law seems to trust him. Instead of getting to the bottom of what’s bothering her, Halit gets drunk, admits to his affair, and drags Yusuf to a strip club.
What shows will it remind you of? man on pause (original title: Andropoz) it is like men of a certain ageonly crazier.
Our take: If you like wacky misunderstandings, an annoying main character who seems to drive loved ones insane, an oddly dramatic and violent subplot, and images of an ingrown hair on top of someone’s butt crack, then you’ll love this. . man on pause. If you think all of that makes for non-comedy eyes, like we did, then you probably won’t tune in beyond the first episode.
That’s where we are at the end of the first episode. The show is a chaos of tonal shifts and situations that could have been easily avoided if the characters communicated with each other as people. For example, how many times have you seen the plot where someone’s friends or family mistakenly think one of the other characters is dying? Feels like it’s been hundreds, if not thousands of times, right? Why would Günaydin, who writes and stars in the series, open his series with such an ordinary sitcom plot?
As we got into the first episode, it seemed like the misunderstanding would go on for several episodes, if not the entire season. It seems to be resolved at the end of the first episode, via an accidental Instagram post of Yusuf’s ingrown hair, but it’s not entirely certain that the people in his life still don’t think he’s dying.
Even if that plot is resolved, we hate the idea of ”andropause,” something that may or may not be real, being an excuse for Yusuf’s wacky behavior. He is over 50 years old, he feels that his life is slipping away from him. What he’s going through is a classic male midlife crisis, no matter what his hormone levels are. The andropause part makes him feel like an attempt to dress up another old-fashioned storyline in modern clothes. But a musty premise is still a musty premise, and there is nothing about man on pause we haven’t seen dozens of times before.
Sex and skin: None in the first episode.
Parting shot: Outside the beach house Yusuf is interested in, a car pulls up and we see a woman, or someone dressed in women’s boots, get out, holding a crossbow.
sleeping star: I have to be honest, nobody really stands out here.
Most of the Pilot-y line: After the Instagram ingrown hair debacle, we see Halim screaming three inches from Fadime’s face; he has his hand on the back of her neck or on some hair on the back of her head. “Stop talking nonsense about fortune!” he yells at him, among other things. This is one of the massive tonal changes that are jarring. We know that Halim has not been the best husband for Fadime and he seems like a drunken idiot. But is he also abusive?
Our call: SKIP IT. man on pause it has too many dated sitcom premises, combined with a weird killer subplot. In other words, you don’t know what kind of show it is, and what ends up on the screen is definitely scrambled and not that entertaining.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting, and technology, but he’s not kidding himself: he’s a couch potato. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, vanityfair.comFast Company and elsewhere.