Surviving Jack Premiere Review

There is absolutely no reason for Surviving Jack to be a good show. It has the same premise of half the sitcoms this season: kid with grumpy father grew up in the 80s/90s and is now reflecting on it. Television this season has basically been filled with a bunch of The Wonder Years wannabees. Despite starting from the same cliche, Surviving Jack uses the past as a tool to enhance the comedy, instead of as a distraction. There is no haha it’s the 90s, what were we thinking? It’s just a sitcom that happens to take place in the 90s.

Surviving Jack stars Christopher Meloni as Dr. Jack Dunlevy, who is a great doctor, but a rough parent. He love his kids, but doesn’t know how to get that across. Jack is forced to take over primary parenting responsibilities when his wife, Joanne, goes to law school, a move he fully supports. Like any mother, Joanne is afraid of what will happen. As it is, she has two teenage children, Frankie and Rachel, who are busy getting themselves into trouble.

In the premiere, Frankie and his friends George and Mikey steal dirty magazines from a homeless man. Not wanting to be found out, Frankie hides it in the backyard. Jack catches his son digging a hole in the backyard at 2am. He’s not mad that Frankie has the magazines. However, Jack disapproves of the fact that he stole them. A few days later, he takes Frankie, George, and Mikey to return the magazines. The homeless man jumps out from behind a tent, holding a shovel, and scares them. Jack fights the man until the boys are out of sight. Then, Jack pays the guy 20 bucks because that part was a set up. Of course, Jack would. He’s that kind of guy. Jack acts like a drill sergeant, whose convinced he’s actually a big softie. He’s not, but he cares.

When Frankie isn’t looking at naked women, he is afraid of everything. He’s the only 16-year-old boy in the world whose scared of driving and seeing a girl naked in person. Jack had to convince Frankie to go to a party, which was being hosted by a hot girl Frankie had a crush on. At the party, the girl invites him to her room. All they do is kiss because he doesn’t want to go further. Frankie ends up embarrassed when all the guests find out that Frankie didn’t do anything. It probably doesn’t help that Jack’s the kind of dad who puts condoms in his son’s lunch, so that Frankie doesn’t get any girls pregnant. Getting girls pregnant is the least of his problems, he can’t even talk to girls even when they are talking to him.

For Jack, Rachel’s dating life is a sore subject. She’s daddy’s little girl. He doesn’t want her dating any guy, even the ones who want to meet him. Rachel’s date Doug requested to meet her dad. Instead of talking to the kid, Jack thinks he’s some kind of freak for wanting to talk to him. Jack doesn’t seem to understand that in Rachel’s mind her seven week old relationship is serious. He found out the hard way when a topless Rachel and Doug were making out in her room. Joanne was obviously upset and wanted to know were Jack was. Jack responded, “Getting them some massage oil.” She thought he was serious until he clarified that he didn’t know about it.

Sitcom-wise, Surviving Jack is the stand out of the season. None of the characters are idiots. They’re normal people. Jack isn’t the best parent in the world. However, he tries his best and truly cares about his kids and his wife, who is understandably mostly preoccupied with law school. Rachel and Frankie are teenagers dealing with normal teenager stuff. Fortunately, they have parents who understand. Now that we’ve finally hit upon a The Wonder Years inspired show that doesn’t seem like a poor imitation, let’s hope the networks stop trying to capture the magic from something that wasn’t magical to begin with.

About Allison Lips

I am the editor and founder of "Wait! What's a Dial?". I graduated from Rowan University with degrees in both Radio/TV/Film and Journalism.

Posted on March 28, 2014, in Comedy, Fox, Primetime, Sitcoms and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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