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Playing, but not acting, a ‘Certain Age’

Ray Romano, 52, portrays good-natured and friendly Joe in “Men of a Certain Age,” now in its second season on TNT.

Ray Romano, 52, portrays good-natured and friendly Joe in “Men of a Certain Age,” now in its second season on TNT. The deadpan comic, whose “Everybody Loves Raymond” won three Emmys during its 1996-2005 run, recently talked about why his new series isn’t just for middle-aged dudes, Joe’s dreams of being a professional golfer, and other Season 2 storylines.

What is the appeal of “Men of a Certain Age”?

People identify with it. You don’t even have to be that age, or that sex. What we try to do is write what we know and what we live. That’s what worked with “Raymond.” We want to make these characters real. We didn’t want to make them heroes or villains. These are three guys who are flawed but who are trying to make their way the best they can.

You’ve written golf into your character. How far is that going to go?

We always had that as part of the storyline for Joe, that eventually he will try out for the senior tour.

Does it make it easier going to work knowing you’ll be on the course and playing a few holes?

It’s fun, but it’s a little bit more pressure than the real acting because now I have to act like I am a scratch golfer and I’m not, and I want it to look real. Normally, I’ll swing a club without any ball there, and then we will just use computer generated imagery later for the ball. So actually those scenes are more pressure than the others.

Where are the characters going in Season 2? Are they going to be affected by the economic downturn?

We do address that. Andre [Braugher’s] character, who is now trying to run [his father’s] car dealership, has to deal with the state of the economy and try to find his way as the boss now in such a horrible economic climate. So yeah, we try to incorporate what’s going on as much as we can in the stories.

 
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