Men in Trees: Jack Rowand
Gillian Flynn
December 06, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

What do you watch for sheer enjoyment?

If you take off your critical robes for a second, what new TV show would you recommend for sheer enjoyment’s sake? —Lauren O.

Lauren, a critic never takes off her robes! I will however, loosen this delicate ornamental hair shirt… yes… and… Men in Trees. The ABC series — wisely relocated to Thursdays, after Grey’s Anatomy — is about sassy, New York-based relationship guru Marin Frist (Anne Heche, pictured) who learns the truth about men in tiny Elmo, Alaska. This idea triggers an inherent gag reflex in me. But Trees overcomes its premise. Heche, despite wearing a series of silly, unsuitable outfits from the Carrie Bradshaw line, comes across as a woman of good humor and sensibility (and how often do you see that on TV?) The men of the town — including John Amos, who makes everything better — aren’t stereotypical idiot-jerks, but decent guys with kind instincts (again, how refreshing). And then, of course, there’s James Tupper, as an earthbound fantasy man: a laconic biologist who can be romantic without being unmanly, and who handles women’s hair and wild raccoons with equal aplomb. Unlikely, yes. Enjoyable, quite.

(Got a TV-related question for Gillian? Post it here.)

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