Surviving Jack: Did You Feel the Love?

Surviving Jack Series PremiereNudie magazines, cassette tapes, sweatpants… everything about the series premiere of Fox’s Surviving Jack (Thursday, 9:30/8:30c) reeked of ’90s nostalgia — and that’s not a bad thing.

RELATED | Exclusive Surviving Jack First Look: Chris Meloni Is the Ultimate ’90s Dad, Sweatpants and All

Jack is narrated by the adult voice of awkward teenager Frankie Dunlevy (Deception‘s Connor Buckley), who — as the show’s title suggests — does everything in his power to survive life with his overbearing father Jack (Law & Order: SVU‘s Christopher Meloni). Jack’s parenting approach is a mix of blunt honesty and intense mockery, but it’s all in the interest of helping his kids, even if it almost never seems that way.

Rounding out the Dunlevy family is Frankie’s mom Joanne (Suits Rachael Harris), whose dry humor and mild paranoia resulted in some of the premiere’s best one-liners, and sister Rachel (Hart of Dixie‘s Claudia Lee), who’s essentially a more self-aware version of Married with Children‘s Kelly Bundy.

The premiere was a solid introduction to TV’s newest throwback family, and in my opinion, there’s plenty to come back for. While Jack and Joanne’s parenting could use a little tweaking, neither Meloni nor Harris’ delivery needs any adjustment; they were easily the comedic highlight of the premiere.

And Frankie is the kind of character you can’t help but root for — while secretly relating to his awkward, pubescent plights.

What did you think of the Surviving Jack premiere? Cast your vote below, then drop a comment with your review.

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52 Comments
  1. Mike Haden says:

    It was like watching a John Hughes movie all nicely wrapped up in a half-hour TV show. Perfect in every way!

  2. robinepowell says:

    I tuned at 8:00 on CTV to watch this and next week I’ll tune in again, though at 7:30. Loved it!!!!!!

  3. alistaircrane says:

    Jack is a jerk. I don’t think I want to watch again. I don’t like characters like that.

    • Andy Swift says:

      I felt that way for the first half of the episode, but after Joanne told him he needs to start connecting, I noticed a major shift. He’s trying, he’s just flawed.

    • Ron says:

      It’s called character development. He’s never had to be overly hands on in the raising of his kids before, so he’s learning. I say give it another shot and see if you can’t warm up to his character.

    • Stormy says:

      Never having been a fan of CM [he seemed more like a serial killer than a cop on SVU], I watched it with great reservation. Nope, still can’t stand CM. Won’t watch again.

    • marie says:

      I got that from the commercials during Idol. Seems like a bully. Not even interested in watching.

    • Max says:

      Clearly you are not really watching show, he actually is a great dad and there is a method to his madness. There are some great tender moments between Jack and his son. It’s a great comedy and very well written and gets better every week.

  4. rmd1064 says:

    Liked the premise, but why did have to get so vulgar and crass so fast. Five minutes in, the boys are talking about girls periods. Really? Turned it off.

  5. Tina says:

    Thank God Chris Meloni is back on tv!

  6. Mark says:

    The son is cute therefore I’ll watch more. I did love the Scrubs throwaway at the start of the episode when Jack is holding up the x-ray of the lungs.

  7. Jaz says:

    I thought the episode was excellent. Very humorous and had a wonderful soundtrack! I will definitely be tuning in next week! Chris Meloni is AMAZING in this role.

  8. David says:

    I thought it was good and I’ll keep watching. I’m not aure why they held it for so long and it appears to be a really short season so I hope that doesnt hurt it’s chances at renewal.

  9. Max says:

    It felt kind of rushed, I wish it was an hour long show. Very entertaining and I couldn’t look away from the tv while it was on! Christopher Meloni is perfect in this role, as always.

  10. jennifer says:

    Chris Meloni is so funny without having to try. Sure he’s a dick, but he’s a lovable dick. The sun is well played too. It really does capture the nineties well. It’ll be a nice replacement for Raising Hope wich totally lost it’s way this season.

  11. jennifer says:

    *son

  12. Eli says:

    Positives:
    – The Music
    – Likable and relatable lead character
    – Rachael Harris

    Negatives:
    – I want to punch Christopher Meloni barely 30 seconds in and not in a good way
    – Yet another nostalgic comedy
    – Not a lot of laughs
    – Teenage cliches are getting tiresome

    Verdict:
    C. This won’t make my watch-list. It’s not a terrible show liks Dads, but it’s just not good or original enough to warrant continuous viewing.

  13. Elyse says:

    I enjoyed it! I’ll definitely keep watching :)

  14. April says:

    I’ll be honest…I only tuned in to see Meloni. I was pleasantly surprised. The show is pretty good.

  15. KC says:

    Shut it off after 10 mins – Terrible!!!!

  16. Nick s says:

    I was turned off By Meloni’s character…I know he’s supposed to be a Richard Head but came off as too jerky. Big fan of Rachel Harris and him though, needs to turn it down

  17. Joey Padron says:

    Like first episode, it was good and funny. Keep watching show.

  18. Lilly says:

    Surprisingly good. I liked it.

  19. Zach says:

    Come on, Fox. Please don’t cancel this! Doesn’t matter what the ratings are, shows on Fox aren’t going to get good ratings. Might as well have high quality shows.

  20. Dianne says:

    I will be tuning again next week. Love Chris Meloni in any medium. Plus, I raised my kids in the 90’s, so nice to take a trip back.

  21. Ron says:

    I liked it. My only problem, which is completely personal and something I’ll have to overcome, is that every time I see Chris Meloni, I see Eliot Stabler or Chris Keller — two completely different characters who don’t really work for comedy. Can you imagine the thoughts running through my head of Keller, the rather psychotic, slightly obsessive, bisexual, violent, yet oddly lovable, prison inmate as a father of two trying to raise his kids?!? All that to say, I’ll tune in next week.

  22. Kat says:

    Thought it was great. Fox, hang on to this one……and also PLEASE do not cancel Enlisted. It’s my new favorite comedy!!!!!

  23. wenraz says:

    Absolutely loved it! I guess Magnolia’s not coming back to Hart of Dixie then?

  24. Katie says:

    I loved it! I guess people who didn’t read Sh*t My Dad Says wouldn’t get that Christopher Meloni’s character really does love his kids from the first few minutes but like previous commenters have said he had had much hands on time with them. Anyway, my biggest pet peeve about this show is that they kept referring to him as a freshman in high school and then a few minutes later they say he was 16. That kept throwing me. But otherwise I was quite happy. Reminded me of my dad and how I grew up, in a good way.

    • sara says:

      A boy being sixteen as a high school freshman shouldn’t be that surprising as many boys are kept home another year before starting kindergarten due to the fact that they are more likely than many girls to not be ready at five.

      • Stormy says:

        I was 13 when I started my freshman year, and 17 in senior year. He would have to be held back more than one year.

  25. Margaret Carpenter says:

    Tuned in hoping that this would find a comedy I enjoyed. Most of the current shows have a laugh track that is loud and sounds off after every sentence. I did not even notice if there was even a laugh track. I like this show. I like it, I really like it! The final scene was worth the whole show!

  26. Cynthia says:

    Loved CM in SVU and still watch reruns. Like the new show and know that first episode is just an introduction of personalities. I will watch it again. Pretty witty.

  27. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I forgot to watch, and I’m sorry for that. Christopher Meloni is surprisingly good at comedy judging from his old Scrubs guest spot.

  28. Loved Kevin Rahm as the voice of the older Frankie. I enjoyed this new series completely and will continue to watch. Makes a great companion piece to ABC’s The Goldbergs. Got my 80s and now my 90s.

  29. Fugbegone says:

    I missed the show when it aired so just finished watching it online. I give it a “meh”. I might try again but so far it seems as stupid as The Goldbergs and The Millers. Dysfunctional families were funny when Archie Bunker was around or George Jefferson but these new writers..not so good. Or…perhaps I’ve outgrown them.

  30. shine says:

    Loved it. CM is hot!

  31. Toni Pierce says:

    Glad CM is back on TV,Thought show was good. Will watch it every week.CM is Hot.

  32. maureen says:

    Surviving Jack gets better with each episode, Christopher Meloni is really funny and although Jacks’ methods are unorthodox they are true to the time.

  33. Kathy Smith says:

    I LOVE SURVIVING JACK! WILL MISS IT. HAVE TO WATCH THE OTHER CHANNEL I USED TO WATCH I GUESS!

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