So far, television has milked workplace drama from hospitals, law firms, radio stations, fishing boats and wherever it is that New Jersey mobsters get work done. There’s nothing left to mine but the seedy, sellout world of advertising—too bad a certain splashy ’60s drama got there first. TNT’s new series Trust Me is like Mad Men recast with middle schoolers, with none of the glam and all of the grumpiness that comes from hawking jingles for a living. Television veterans Eric McCormack (persnickety Will, of Will & Grace) and Tom Cavanagh (congenial Ed, of Ed) are careful to distance themselves from their respective signature roles, but in doing so sacrifice all likability.
McCormack is harried art director Mason, who nags his buddy and copywriting partner Conner (Cavanagh) into submission like an uptight nursemaid. Their ad agency is in flux, jobs are up for grabs and a mousy, entitled new colleague, played by Monica Potter, promises power struggles and, we bet, eventual workplace sex with one or both of them. This grating crew could be saved with flashes of brilliance; with The Closer and Saving Grace, TNT has turned abrasive-yet-capable protagonists into a cottage industry. Sadly, this pair’s “genius” work is tedious and nonsensical. (We’re not sure, but we think their point is that cell phones cure homelessness. Or something.) Trust Me...with what? No one here seems to know, or care, about the underlying social contracts that drive advertising. The Sterling Cooper agency over at Mad Men may be staffed by sociopaths and sexists, but they’re still more capable than these clowns—we’ll take our business there.
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