Growing Up Fisher: Are You Barking For More?

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growing-up-fisher325In the new NBC comedy, Growing Up Fisher, which bowed Sunday night (10:38/9:38c), J.K. Simmons (The Closer, Oz) plays a blind lawyer named Mel who must navigate his career and family after getting a divorce… all with the help of his young son and guide dog. But did the show leave you wanting more or should it be put in the dog house?

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Before you vote in the poll below, a brief recap.

Meet the Fisher family: At the head of the clan is Mel, a devoted father and lawyer who just so happens to be blind. When we first meet the man, he is chopping down a tree in the family’s backyard. “Why is he wearing safety goggles?” Mel’s daughter, Katie, asks. “Safety goggles?” replies Mel’s son, Henry. “That‘s what’s wrong with this picture?”

Not quite. While much of the show (and its jokes) deal with the fact that Mel doesn’t have the gift of sight, it also focuses on the family’s other zany characters. There’s Mel’s purple-pants-wearing ex-wife, Joyce (Jenna Elfman, Dharma & Greg), who seems just about as lost in life as her teenage daughter, Katie (Ava Deluca-Verley, Southland).

And then there’s Henry (newbie Eli Baker), the youngest in the Fisher family. Much of the first half-hour explores Henry and Mel’s relationship. Henry (whose inner monologue is narrated by Arrested Development‘s Jason Bateman) has always been his father’s right-hand man, helping Mel “hide” his blindness from new clients and assisting him with everyday tasks – that is until the new guide dog threatens the relationship.

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Dog or no dog, Growing Up Fisher is a charming show that provides a fresh twist on the family comedy. Simmons and Elfman shine in their roles as parents to the Fisher kids.

But tonally, the pilot doesn’t always seem to know what it wants to be: Is it a dark comedy, a family comedy, or a complex dramedy? The show could benefit from letting more of its tender moments breathe, which could help it live up to its potential.

Worth noting: Growing Up Fisher moves to its regular timeslot on Tuesday, Febuary 25 at 9:30/8:30c.

Now, let’s hear what you have to say. Will you return to Growing Up Fisher? Is Mel officially the best dad ever? Grade the new series via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice.


Comments (34)

  • Hope Growing Up Fisher won’t last that long but overall I give it a C.

    Comment by Tran 2.0 – February 23, 2014 08:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Found it funnier than About a Boy which I liked too. I think I will tune in again!!!

    Comment by Sparky – February 23, 2014 09:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ve never cared for Jenna Elfman, but I really liked the rest of the cast. I’m willing to give it a few more episodes. I liked About a Boy better.

    Comment by MP – February 23, 2014 09:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I, for one, loved it. I may have a bit of a bias, because I am a blind individual, and it’s nice to finally see a blind person so well represented on tv. But, it really isn’t just that. It’s a nice, clean family show, and those are hard to come by these days. It’s nice to see a show that I could picture a whole family watching together.

    Comment by Lisa – February 23, 2014 09:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Pardon my ignorance, but what device do you use to write comments in these sections? Does it involve vocal recordings/screen reader software or perhaps you write using the Braille system?

      Comment by Hannah – February 24, 2014 12:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • My father is blind, and he uses a computer system that reads off line for line what appears on the screen. Not exactly sure how he uses it, but he uses the web just about like everyone else. His program is called JAWS i do believe. Its a screen reading program.

        Comment by Dusty – February 24, 2014 07:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • My mother is legally blind, but is not fully blind. She can still function extremely well, including writing on a computer and watching TV, but is not allowed to drive, and has issues with low light situations.

        So being blind, does not mean you don’t have any site at all, if you follow the legal term.

        Comment by Brian Garlick – February 24, 2014 11:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Anyone else giggle when the blind person said, “I could picture,”?

      Comment by Mark – February 24, 2014 06:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Your ignorance is showing

        Comment by Sarahliz – February 24, 2014 12:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I’m not easily offended, so I won’t take offense to this statement, but I will warn you that a lot of others would. A blind person has a brain, and an imagination, just as someone with sight does. We “picture” things. It may not involve the same “visual representations” you receive when you picture something, but we do it, just the same. We also use words like “picture” and “watch tv” and “let me see that.” It’s all just a part of speech. It’s no different than when I hear a sighted person say that they were watching a show with their eyes closed, because they were relaxing.

        Comment by Lisa – February 24, 2014 01:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • If you haven’t already, check out the show, Covert Affairs. It’s a spy show, not a family show, but one of the main characters is a blind CIA agent. There’s an episode where he shows his therapist how to use a cane and I found it fascinating. Chris Gorham is the actor who plays the blind character, Auggie, and I think he does a fantastic job (though you might have a different opinion, of course). It’s really been illuminating for me to learn about a blind person’s day to day life, as much as television is a real life representation.

      Comment by Katherine215 – February 24, 2014 07:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I’ll probably check it out. My only worry with that concept is that they may overdo the character’s capabilities. Don’t get me wrong, a blind person can do almost anything a sighted person can do, but you do have to be realistic. Without having seen the show, I’m not sure how a CIA agent being blind would work; I would assume with a job like that, you’d need sight for certain parts of it. Hopefully, the show deals with that realistically. I’ll check it out.

        Comment by Lisa – February 24, 2014 01:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Lisa, you should definitely check out Covert Affairs. I think they do a great job handling Auggie’s capabilities – he is a former field agent with the CIA who began working in the office once he lost his sight. They show him using a lot of technology (screen readers, BrailleNote, etc.) to do his job. While he is not running around, chasing bad guys, and shooting guns like some of the other characters, he is an integral part of the team.

          Comment by Anna – February 24, 2014 03:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
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    Comment by how to overcome anxiety – February 23, 2014 09:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was cute.

    Comment by GeoDiva – February 24, 2014 12:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Missed the premier because it was sooooo late. Would live for it to re-air. We are gonna watch the next episode (and see what its all about) but hate missing the beginning.
    commercials looked great.

    Comment by Sandy – February 24, 2014 04:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Would give it a B, but it loses a point for having Jenna Elfman, so gave it a C.

    Comment by Eli – February 24, 2014 05:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Parker Posey was way better in pilot which you can find on the net!

    Comment by DavidSask – February 24, 2014 06:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I am watching that right now and was so confused about the Jenna Elfman thing. This episode has Parker Posey, who is great. Did they switch her out for Elfman?

      Comment by Kim R – February 24, 2014 06:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • PP dropped out right when they picked up the show.

        Comment by wmjindsm – February 24, 2014 08:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Every time I read “Growing Up Fisher,” I wish for a half hour sitcom about the wacky adventures of little Nate, David, and Claire growing up in the funeral home. WHO’S WITH ME?

    Comment by sheri – February 24, 2014 06:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I LOVED the show.. The cast was great, really enjoyed the little boy, JK Simmons and of course Jenna Elfman. I liked About a Boy too, I was almost thrown off by the first “sex scene” but glad the rest of the show was what I hoped.

    Comment by Joanne Martin – February 24, 2014 08:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • A teeny, tiny OZ reunion!!!!!

    Schillinger and Hill. Wow.

    I liked it and will continue to watch. Well, on On Demand, of course, my Tuesdays are already jam-packed.

    Comment by Dee – February 24, 2014 09:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Most effective comedy pilot I have seen in a long time. I absolutely adored the characters. A must-see for me. Wish the show great success.

    Comment by opus – February 24, 2014 11:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Having a blind cousin, I LOVED this show. Growing up, it was always interesting watching her navigate the world around her. It’s great to see a show centered on that but in a comedic way that isn’t derogatory. Fantastic!

    Comment by Sarahliz – February 24, 2014 12:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I am blind. I raised a family, and am now near receiving a Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health at the age of fifty-nine. My husband is legally blind also, but can see to some degree. Raising our three children was filled with challenges, but we were truly blessed to have three wonderful caring children who are now adults. In addition I have three adorable little grandchildren. Doing what others do involves training, opportunity, and attitude. Most of the problems which the blind face is socially driven. Therefore, for me, Growing Up Fisher was delightful in many ways. You could say that the funny moments were some what odd, but being able to laugh at life and ones-self is part of the learning and acceptance process. Yes, I do use a JAWS adaptive voice with a computer. If the writers need any ideas they should go to The National Federation of the Blind, the largest organization in the Coujntry made up of the blind and their friends and families. Over thirty books, (Kernell Books), were written speaking about all situations blind individuals have had to cope with. I hope this program busts some of the myths of blindness. I just wish that they hired a blind man to take the Dads part. There are many blind actors as well. Nothing is perfect, but this program helps us see this family as one who is facing all the issues of the 1980s with laughter hope, and love.

      Comment by Renee Radicioni Pavlus – February 24, 2014 07:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • SO CUTE! I just watched it and am in love!

    Comment by jalahyacinth – February 24, 2014 04:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Anyone notice one of the beginning scenes where Jenna converses about a water bra with her preteen son, then juggles her boobs to make the point. Cringe.

    Comment by Midtown – February 24, 2014 04:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Watched this show on OnDemand last night, and I was pretty impressed overall. I liked the characters, except Jenna Elfman’s mom. She still seems like she’s playing Dharma all these years later.

    Comment by MiaB – February 25, 2014 05:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved the show . . . Haven’t laughed that hard during a show in a long time. Definitely a keeper. Good clean fun . . . And that is what’s missing in the world today.

    Comment by Kelly Kitley – February 26, 2014 08:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Great show! Good clean Hysterical Humor

    Comment by Shelley – March 1, 2014 05:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is a good, wholesome show that really pulls at the heart strings. I hope it makes it.

    Comment by Dennis – March 12, 2014 09:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the first 3 episodes. This type of show reminds one of the old “I Love Lucy” comedy. Great for family viewing. I’m spreading the news to all my friends to watch it.

    Comment by mjm – March 12, 2014 10:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I really like this show. This is one on the few “family” shows on TV. With more character development, I think this could be another Wonder Years. If they seriously want to expand their viewership though, they’ll have to move it out of the crappy 9:30 time slot.

    Comment by Shasha – April 2, 2014 09:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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