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On Monday Night TV’s Male Bonding

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I am, I fear, in for some disappointment again this television season.  I sat there last night watching My Own Worst Enemy and marveling at just how much fun the show is.  I woke up this morning to see the ratings and can't help but think that it's not going to last that long.  It's quite the shame, the show is funny, suspenseful, and truly engrossing.  Oh, it's not perfect, but it's plenty good.

The most interesting thing, I think, about the series thus far is the growing battle between Edward (the superspy) and Henry (the average family man).  Obviously, what with the title and all, it is this battle that will repeatedly be brought to the fore, but it really is developing wonderfully.  Even if the plot of Edward having a chip implanted in his head which created Henry is ridiculous, Christian Slater's portrayal of both men is down to Earth and wholly believable. 

Henry is this poor guy, thrust into a world he didn't choose and doesn't understand, while Edward loves trying to put order into the chaos of the world as a whole.  Edward is clearly excited by living on the edge, avoiding death at every turn.  Henry just wants a nice quiet life and a return to normalcy, even if that original state only came about because Edward got a chip put in his head.

On last night's episode we saw that the two men have figured out how to communicate with one another on a regular basis – just before the transformation they leave each other video messages on their cell phone.  It's not foolproof, but it's smart, and last night allowed for some really great back and forth between the two. 

The two (or is it one) men have, in a very short span of time, grown to hate each other.  The question I hope the show gets the time to answer is if that hatred can continue or if Henry and Edward have to find a way to work together.  Henry tried to throw out an olive branch last night, only to have Edward set fire to it, but I don't imagine that course can be followed indefinitely.  Eventually, I'd think, Henry and Edward have to find a way to work out their differences, as distasteful as that may be to each man. 

Two guys that have worked out the vast majority of their differences (and those differences are legion) were on ABC at the same time that Henry and Edward were doing their thing.  Denny Crane and Alan Shore have managed to become one of the greatest, most underrated, television couples in history.  They're able to jab at one another about relevant issues of the day, have semi-meaningful discussions on every topic under the sun, fight like cats and dogs, and still manage to be friends at the end of the night. 

As Boston Legal rides off into the sunset I find myself longing for seasons past when the show was somewhat better populated, but pleased that the this final season's pared-down cast has allowed the Denny-Alan relationship to be explored even more fully.  It's all too rare that television shows display such meaningful bonding.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.