Third episode verdict: Men in Trees

Men in Trees againWhat a difference a good writer makes. Conversely, what a difference a bad writer makes. I actually really liked the first two episodes of Men in Trees. They were fun bits of rom-com plotting from one of the head writers of Sex and the City.

The third episode zoomed by on Friday and I think I’d rather brave a pack of ravenous jackals than sit through it again. On aggregate anyway: the second half was slightly better – I might be willing to brave a slightly malnourished jackal instead of watching that.

But my God, that was appalling. If I were to suggest an image of its quality, I’d offer one of Elmo’s racoons trawling through a skip and chucking out an old Northern Exposure script covered in unmentionable forms of slime. Dull, stupid and utterly unengrossing: ooh, a fund-raising event that auctions off men – never seen that before.

And correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t there supposed to be ten men for every woman in Elmo: do they really need an auction as a way to meet men*? Isn’t it the whole point of the show that Elmo is a town where women have the upper hand, simply because there are so few of them, and they can therefore get almost anything they want, thanks to the laws of supply and demand? Marin Frist is supposed to be finding herself, not bidding for the chance to have a date with a guy. Dear oh dear.

So I’m not sure what to recommend to you, the reading and viewing public. Judging by word of mouth, Men in Trees isn’t likely to last very long, and if this is what the scripts that aren’t by Jenny Bicks are going to be like, I’ll grab my shotgun and help put it out of its misery myself. But if this is just a blip – and a very ill-timed one for my third-episode verdict – maybe it will be worth struggling on with.

I’ll watch next week’s just to be sure, but I’m now going for a thumbs down on this one.

* Footnote: There is a saying, apparently, about the chances of meeting a man in Alaska – “The odds are good, but the goods are odd”. The goods aren’t that odd in Elmo though, so I don’t think that should alter things too much.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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