Tickle me, Elmo, this has got me hooked
Most of the intrigues of love are played out by the quirky pairs
Men in Trees 10.30pm, Nine
SUMMER television programs are like holiday romances. You know you could fall in love but you don’t want your heart broken, so you can’t let yourself get attached. Alas, for me and Men in Trees, i t’ s probably already too late.
So, what’ s to love? Well, Alaska, for a kick- off, though the show is filmed in Canada, cut occasionally with stock scenes of the low, snowcovered peaks of the coldest US state. Still, the outdoor scenes of real snow, real log cabins and real wilderness are breathtaking.
Men in Trees has been described as Northern Exposure meets Sex and the City , but it is more engaging than either. It has more warmth, better characters and more humour than Northern Exposure , and while it has a good deal of sex, it doesn’ t have the neurotic undertow, the feel of women carrying on like a bunch of promiscuous gay men, that was so apparent in Sex and the City .
The comparison is apt, though, not least because of the involvement of series creator Jenny Bicks, who wrote
Sex and the City . for
Men in Trees is Bicks’ s baby, and she has set a sure- footed direction. The show wants to be as much about the conundrums of love as the hardships of sex, about wisdom more than selfishness, greed and manipulation. It’ s no accident then that her protagonist Marin Frist ( Anne Heche) is a relationship counsellor, a psychologist who discovers Elmo, Alaska, on a book tour when things have fallen apart in her relationship back in New York and decides to stay.
That men outnumber women in Elmo by a factor of 10 to one and that most of the men seem to be girlcrazy, ruggedly physical yet romantic individuals may have had something to do with her decision.
Marin’ s former lover Jack ( James Tupper), who is now engaged to someone else, is still about town and having as much difficulty letting go of Marin as she appears to be having in letting go of him, which does not do a lot for his new partner.
In fact, most of the intrigues of love, from denial to wistful regret, are played out by the quirky pairs here.
Men But the killer attraction about in Trees is its humour.
Tonight, Marin’s great New York friend Jane ( Seana Kofoed), who has also fled New York for Elmo, drags herself out of her husky boyfriend’s arms in the middle of the night to help out when the poor dear has an unfortunate encounter with a bat in the outhouse of her new log cabin.
Clutching each other like Ethel and Lucy, the two shoulder calamity as only the best comic pairs can.
Seeking wisdom in Alaska:
Anne Heche in Men in Trees