By Matt DiVenere
“Surviving Jack” is a funny show starring Christopher Meloni (best known for his role Elliot Stabler on “Law & Order: SVU”) as Jack who takes the lead raising his children while his wife (Rachel Harris) attends law school. Oh, and it takes place in the 1990s.
Do I really need to say more?
Fine, here are five things you learn from watching FOX’s new hilarious comedy “Surviving Jack.”
Christopher Meloni Is The Man
I don’t know how else to explain this one. If you were a fan of him in “SVU” when he was playing a badass cop that took down the worst scum in the universe, all while having a soft side for his family, then jump aboard the bandwagon. Meloni plays a father, Jack Dunlevy, who is put in charge of parenting, while his wife, Joanne, goes back to school in order to become a lawyer.
Well, Meloni’s character clearly isn’t one of the most emotionally-supportive father figures on television. In fact, in the opening scene of the entire show, he makes his son Frankie (Connor Buckley) take a lap around the block for getting caught watching an inappropriate movie at 3 a.m. in the living room. Jack also goes head-to-head with his daughter Rachel (played by Claudia Lee). I suspect more loveably, yet hilariously embarrassing, fathering techniques as the season progresses.
The music, the clothes, the hairstyles—the 1990s are back! And no, not in some lame VH1 show where they make fun of your obsession with the last really great time period before the Internet ruined everything. Even the theme song and show’s opening clips are so 1990s that it almost hurts to realize where we are as a civilization. But this brings us back to the glory days with very subtle, but awesome 1990s references.
The Inner-Monologue of a Pubescent Male Freshman in High School
Remember when you were outrageously awkward? How about your first high school party? The first time you completely embarrassed yourself in front of your entire high school? Or how about that girl you really liked…do you remember how weird you became the second she started talking to you? What was going through your head? Chances are it’ll be the same exact things going through Frankie’s inner-monologue that narrates the show.
Let me word nerd out on you for a second. The writing for this show is fantastic. Granted, it’s based off of the book “I Suck At Girls” written by best-sellers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, who are both the creators and writers for this show. My hat goes off to both of them, as well as their executive producer Bill Lawrence (“Spin City,” “Scrubs,” “Cougar Town”).
Nonetheless, the dialogue is so conversational that it sounds like actual conversations rather than forced crap that most of the new shows are using. From Jack’s sarcastic and outraged sighs, to Rachel’s overall disdain for her younger brothers’ friends eye-humping her any chance they get—everything is on the money. Even the interactions between Jack and Joanne are tight and serve as a fun reminder that they’re not just parents –they’re a married couple trying to live their lives as normally as possible despite their children’s countless issues.
There’s Always a Lesson To Be Learned
Just like any and every single television show that took place in the 1990s, there is always a lesson to be learned at the end of each episode.
During the show, you tend to learn a whole lot about parenting. These lessons tend to be hilarious ones, such as learning the ground rules of carpooling created by Jack or how excited parents get when their kids are out of the house for the night leaving them alone. However, at the end of the episodes, you learn that despite life’s tough choices and overall relentless attempts to knock you to the ground, the people that love you will always be by your side to pick you back up.
And if that person who is helping you get back up just happens to be holding a glass of scotch in your hand, maybe make sure it’s not a trap before letting them help you up—even if it’s your dad.