MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE is so unique in the sense that there are so few shows revolving around the personal lives and problems of men in their 40’s or women in their 40’s, are you surprised by the success of the show?
Scott Bakula: To be quite honest with you, I don’t think this show would have made it on the air if Ray hadn’t been attached to it. I think this is driven completely by the presence of Ray Romano and his return to television. In terms of the landscape of today’s television, writers would pitch a story about three men and the network would be asking, “Do they fight crime together when they’re not at dinner talking?” or “Do they own a strip club?” But happily, because Ray and the network’s desire to be in business with him, he was able to let the show be, let the show breathe and the network has been fantastic with allowing the show to be human. So we’re just lucky, nothing against guys my own age and guys in their 40’s but I think the concept in television is that we are not that interesting unless we are doing you know solving crimes or driving fast cars or flying Starships as I have done.
How challenging is it to play a struggling actor/perpetual bachelor, considering that in real life you are neither?
There is hardly any of me in him which was what made him so attractive when I read the part. Obviously, I can relate to the actor side of him and I can relate to some of his actor’s frustrations certainly but what has been most appealing for me is that he is so different from me, allowing me to really escape into a character. For me to play this guy who has no responsibility and no relationship and no kids and no mortgage and sleeps with all kinds of women — different ages, sizes and colors — it’s really a blast for me to do.
Do you still sing and is there any chance your character will be singing on the show?
I do still sing, I still study voice, and I’ve done a few musicals in the last 3 or 4 years where I’ve been able to get out do that so that is kind of my first love. That said, I don’t know that I will sing on the show, my character certainly is an actor and we talked about some musicals that I did when I was back in college. So I have the possibility of doing that. There was a time when the originally conceived Terry that he was going to maybe be – my part time job was going to be as a kind of a wedding singer which would have been a blast but they went away from that. But I hope that you know maybe, we’ll get a chance to sing. There was a point in time , had we gone long enough in ENTERPRISE, I would have been a singing Starship captain but we didn’t get that far.
Is there an overall theme to this second season and what do you see as each guy’s challenge this year?
Well, certainly, Terry’s challenge is similar to what – it’s life challenges which is you know when is he going to grow up and kind of get on with life? And with his real job trying to sell cars for his friend in the car dealership, he is pressed into that and also he is – gets involved in a more serious kind of adult relationship this year on the show and there are challenges there.
Joe’s character is wrestling with being single, continues to wrestle with some gambling issues and his kind of peculiar friendship that he has with Manfro, his bookie, and Andre’s challenges are beyond just trying to live and balance a life and three kind, the reality of that and he is now saddled with running this dealership and still having his dad looking over his shoulders and running a dealership in a time when not everybody is out there buying cars.
So everybody has – again, some kind of very real issues, none of them earth-shattering but all of them you know kind of relevant and relatable.
Despite your varied and lengthy career, one might argue that you’re best known role remains QUANTUM LEAP’s Sam Backett. Do you ever yearn for those days playing Sam Beckett or wish the show didn’t last longer?
Yes, I am very aware of the effect, the worldwide effect, that QUANTUM LEAP has had and I’m reminded the few times I get out and do any kind of convention or a fan gathering that people come from all over the world and are fans from all over the world and I’m always touched by that. You know, for the people that were involved in making the show, it really lands on you in terms of you know the impact that you’ve had and the families that watched our show together and how much of an impression we made and so that is always a great feeling.
And yes, we would have loved for the show to have gone on longer and I guess the continuing popularity of the show and with younger people now and people that grew up on it are now sharing it with their kids and things like that, it really makes you proud and it makes you realize that you did something that not only has – had a lot of effect on people when it came out but still has relevance in the world and meaning in the world and certainly, a character like Sam Beckett is – we could always – we could use a few more of him around so I’m proud of the show and I love to hear that you enjoyed it over there so much and I hope it wasn’t just because you only had a few channels to watch.
MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE kicks off its second season Monday December 6th at 10PM on TNT