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Bill Lawrence dominated the Monday afternoon panel for his new Fox comedy, Surviving Jack, at the Television Critics Association press tour, declaring several times during the session, “I think this show’s going to work.”
Based on Justin Halpern‘s I Suck at Girls autobiography, Surviving Jack,starring Christopher Meloni, takes place in 1991 in Southern California and tells the story of a man becoming a father and his son becoming a man before “coming of age” was something that could be Googled.
Not surprisingly, a comparison was made to ABC’s 1980s-set family comedy The Goldbergs.
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“This show is really focused around the father-son relationship and really tracking the show through Dad’s eyes a little more than The Goldbergs. I like The Goldbergs. I have friends who work on it and it made our lives much easier to take their scripts and change the names towards the end of the year,” Lawrence joked. “That show is a little bit more nostalgic slice of life — in The Wonder Years vein.”
To hear Halpern and the other producers discuss the show, Surviving Jack is not a ’90s show, but rather a show that happens to be set in the ’90s.
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Though the pilot highlights the ’90s of it all, Halpern said that they “go away from it,” emphasizing that Surviving Jack is a family comedy at its core.
Halpern was also candid about his failed 2010 CBS sitcom $#*! My Dad Says, based on his book of the same name, that lasted just one season. “The Feces My Dad Says sucked,” Halpern admitted. “It was really bad.”
When Lawrence pointed out that Halpern created the show, Halpern noted the irony of it all: “I am blatantly aware.” His take on why the show ultimately failed to nab a renewal? “The show was the wrong tone” and there were difficulties evolving a character, based on his own father, that relies on punch lines and not arcs.
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