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.