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Soapbox: What's the Matter With "My Boys"

Soapbox: What's the Matter With "My Boys"

Because I went to journalism school in Chicago and have lots of guy friends, I was excited to watch the new show "My Boys," which airs Tuesday nights at 10 on TBS. The show follows a sportwriter named PJ (played by Jordana Spiro), who lives in Chicago, writes for the Sun-Times, and has a pack of close guy friends. It sounded right up my alley.

But after seeing the first two episodes, I've mostly just been nothing but annoyed and frustrated by this show. Many reviewers have compared "My Boys" to "Sex and the City," since the protagonist is a writer who provides continuous narration about her love life. But in this case, the narration is in the form of relentless sports comparisons, i.e. "Love is like baseball". According to "My Boys" creator Betsy Thomas, the show is meant to be a kind of "Sex and the City" for women who don't always relate to the super-feminine characters on that show. In an interview on, Thomas says

"I love sports and sort of begrudgingly wear makeup, and I have a weekly poker game, and I think when I first wrote this, I felt very alienated by a lot of the women portrayed on TV."

But in attempting to offer up a less cliched version of "Sex and the City," the writers for "My Boys" have just dug those cliches deeper and deeper. For the rest of my rant,

Instead of the age-old romance issues that Carrie Bradshaw struggles with in "Sex and the City" (namely, the Mars versus Venus conundrum), PJ's problem is that she's too much like a guy, and this, apparently, isn't sexy. The thing that is hard to understand, however, is what could be NOT sexy about PJ. She's physically attractive, intelligent, straightforward, and assertive. She doesn't seem to like playing relationship games. She loves sports, poker, and beer. She is, it would seem, a dreamboat.

But on the show, these traits are a major problem. In one scene in which PJ is trying to make out with love-interest Bobby (Kyle Howard), he wants to slow down and just talk. He then freaks out, saying that "the girl" is supposed to be the one who wants to slow things down. Really? I thought guys liked it when women see what they want and go for it.

And then there's PJ's one girlfriend, Stephanie (Kellee Stewart), who exists solely to provide the "girly" voice in this masculine world. She is the quintessential caricature of girliness, to the point where I wonder what on earth she could possibly have in common with PJ. Opposites may attract, but how would these two get through a conversation in real life without becoming disgusted with one another? For a show that seems to be reaching for refreshingly real, this friendship is laughably unrealistic.

Yet overall, the reviews for this show have not been as bad as I would have expected, and this is surprising. What am I missing? Is the appeal simply that PJ is a new, different character on TV, giving voice to all the women who were called tomboys growing up? The good thing I will say about this show is that, unlike of every other movie or TV show in which the woman is too masculine/plain-looking/forward/loud and changes to be more attractive to men, PJ hasn't (yet) compromised her values or her personality to be more pleasing to her love interest. That's one less "foul ball" for this show, I suppose.

Have you guys watched "My Boys"? What did you think?


Join The Conversation
kelsen kelsen 10 years
I watched a few of this show's more recent episodes. Other than the fact that the main character is soooo freakily similar to a girl I went to college with, generally I thought the characters were annoying. Maybe with some fine tuning, it will improve, but "My Boys" will NEVER be "Sex and the City."
Pinkrabbit Pinkrabbit 10 years
I was also VERY excited about this show! However I didn't know it was going to be on at 11!? I finally got to watch a rerun this weekend and I didn't like it nearly as much as I thought I would. The girl is a tad too pretty like one of you were saying, her "girl" friend would never be friends with her in real life, but her guy friends seemed perfect. They just need to twick the main charcter. *shrugs*
hazel_eyes_smile hazel_eyes_smile 10 years
While some of the writing on this show annoys me (yes, the eternal baseball comparison) I kinda like PJ's character. The only thing is, she is WAAAY too attractive for the guys around her to not notice. Maybe if she hung out in T-shirts and jeans more often, but she gets to dress up and hit the clubs. Why is she still single?!? And I thought Bobby freaked out because he was dating that Claire (?) girl. I keep watching this show, hoping that it will get better. Might just have to stick with Heroes.
JasmineBlossom JasmineBlossom 10 years
I think the show has potential. Sure it needs some fine tunning (the dialogue is ridiculous at times) but it gives hope to those of us that weren't into Sex in the City. As far as My Boys goes they do need to cut down on the metaphors a tad. It gets annoying.
Nan-Einhart Nan-Einhart 10 years
I liked this concept, but even the promos seemed a bit sketchy to me. I have not watched the actual show.
flutterpie flutterpie 10 years
i actually like it but it does need to some fine tuning, she needs to have a couple girlfriends and they need to lose the stupid cliches, the whole you sound like a guy kinda bugged me too. but this show does remind me of a friend of mine who loves sports and is beautiful but has trouble finding the right guy because she intimidates them i know he thinks you're fine and stuff but does he know how to wind you up?
Entertainment Entertainment 10 years
It is such a relief to hear that I'm not the only one puzzled by this show and its very positive reviews!
KrissyThePirate KrissyThePirate 10 years
mreh, I'm indifferent, so far. Nothing in the show has had me wanting more when it's over. And if PJ's baseball euphamisms don't slow down soon, I will actually punch my TV. Metaphors are okay--but good god. I was thinking about watching it tonight, I want to give it a chance...but I don't see how people are giving this that great of reviews. Sex and the City far surpasses My Boys.
Fergie-Ferg Fergie-Ferg 10 years
I'm like you. I was both hoping and expecting to REALLY like it. Jim Gaffigan (one of "the guys") is my favorite comedian, and I felt like I could really relate to this type of character. But I just can't sit through it. It's unwatchable in my opinion. I was really upset and disappointed. Oh, well, I still watch TBS for Raymond and Freinds!
aembry396 aembry396 10 years
I've seen a few of the episodes...and I don't hate it. I was the girl with only guy friends in high school and college, so I like the whole guyfriends-become-boyfriend and guyfriends-meet-outsider-boyfriend thing. I will watch it again as long as I have seen the Will and Grace or Friends reruns at least 4 times before.
Jinx Jinx 10 years
I was also looking forward to the show, and have seen it. I love the female lead. I think she's an adorable actress. I agree with the best friend thing, lose her, or have her have more female aquaintences. I do agree there's something wrong, and the show could be better. I never heard the SATC reference, and wished I hadn't. I'm going to keep watching and hope for the best. ~Procrastinate Now! Don't Put It Off~ (Ellen)
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 10 years
I watched about five minutes of the second episode and then I changed the channel. The dialogue was so bad that I couldn't stomach it.
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