Michael J. Fox has been making a steady return with television, with a recent role on CBS‘ ‘The Good Wife,’ and now he is starring in his own show titled what else, ‘The Michael J. Fox Show.’ It takes a number of pages from the Fox’s real life, dealing with his crazy but loving family and deciding whether to return to work after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
It’s a quasi-documentary look at the life of Mike Henry, a newscaster who is driving his wife Annie (played by ‘Breaking Bad‘s Betsy Brandt) and their children–insane with scheduled apple-picking trips and hover parenting. With the help of his former boss Harris Green (Treme‘s Wendell Pierce) they get him back out into the working world, which proves to be a bit of a disaster as his segment his cut due to breaking news in Washington. I have to say, Matt Lauer does almost too good of a job of playing a douche, if he’s even really acting. Along the way we meet his normal, by sitcom standards, kids who talk about how their dad’s disease has affected all of them for daughter Eve’s (Juliette Goglia) school project. The cuts from the confessionals to the other action of the show could use some work, in fact the show would work better if it were shot like ‘Parks & Recreation.‘
Mike’s family is one of the huge pluses of the show. Brandt’s character fully supports her husband, and it’s nice to see a couple actually be affectionate with each other on tv again. The bawdy Aunt Leigh (Katie Finneran) seems like she belongs on another show on a different network though, as her self-obsessed whining about bangs and her age only bring a few laughs.
Of course there is the non-issue of fox’s Parkinson’s disease. It’s right out in front, as his character uses it to accidentally drop a dinner roll onto Harris’ crotch in an attempt to get him away from a weird date, played by Fox’s real life wife Tracy Pollan in the second episode. We’re supposed to laugh with him through his struggles, but will the joke get old? That’s something the show might struggle with, along with it’s overall tone. To go from a touching moment between the siblings to Mike faking having drowned in a ball pit is a weird, but maybe the odd sense of humor can set it apart from it’s competitors. A family sitcom is sure to have some cliche moments, but I hope they work out all of the kinks to make this one solid.
Are you going to watch?