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Truth in Characters on Trust Me?

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I have been watching Trust Me for the past few weeks and I have to say — well, I don't have to, but I will — I quite enjoy it.  How could I not, it's got Will Truman and Ed Stevens in it.  You know, Will Truman from Will & Grace and Ed Stevens from Ed

I know what you're thinking — you're thinking I shouldn't refer to Eric McCormack as Will Truman and Tom Cavanagh as Ed Stevens, after all, Eric McCormack isn't Will and Tom Cavanagh isn't Ed.  The thing is, their characters have some striking similarities.  While I watched Will & Grace regularly and enjoyed it, I wasn't a terribly big fan of Ed.  I watched the show on occasion, and I always liked the characters, but never really got into the show itself.  So, when I refer to Tom as Ed and Eric as Will, I'm not trying to be insulting, I'm recognizing past work that I enjoyed and seeing that I still like the way the actors go about their job.

I wonder though if it bothers Tom Cavanagh to get cast as the goofball and Eric McCormack as the straight-laced high-strung guy.  The show is fun, and the two have great characters and chemistry together, but I wonder if they ever tried to switch the characters. 

Okay, I don't really, that's not the sort of decision that the actors get to make, I much more wonder if they would like the opportunity to switch characters.  Could Cavanagh play the straight guy?  Could McCormack play the wacky one?  It's not that Conner (Cavanagh) is solely funny and Mason (McCormack) is totally serious, obviously both parts require both actors to be at turns funny and serious, it's that each of the roles fit the personas we as an audience ascribe to the actors due to their other work. 

The upshot is, of course, that it works, it's not genius, but it works.  The two are funny together and the whole thing is vaguely believable (with more than a dollop of suspension of disbelief). 

For those who don't know about Trust Me, it's not Lie to MeTrust Me is the TNT advertising-based show, not the FOX human lie detector-based one.  Why networks would launch two series with two such similar names in such a short period I can't guess, but I can only assume that, in part, TNT liked Trust Me as a title far better than they liked Truth in Advertising (the show's working title).  Trust Me follows the foolish exploits of Conner and Mason as they negotiate the cutthroat world of advertising in Chicago.  And, as you may have surmised, Mason is the serious guy, Conner is the goofball, and the two are partners.  It is, as the en vogue saying goes, a dramedy, which I increasingly feel is the way shows are positioned so that networks (be they cable or broadcasting) can try to appeal to everyone – it's life, only funnier (similar tag lines have been used).

But, at least in the case of Trust Me, it works.  It's clever enough and amusing enough to make me want to watch every week.  I do, however, always find myself wanting more at the end of the episode.  I both want the show to be longer and for it to have greater depth.  Depth really isn't though of as a part of advertising though, is it?  Maybe the producers worked that out and that's why it feels vaguely shallow. 

Wow, smart producers, I have a new found respect for the folks behind Trust Me now.  Go them. 

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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.