Nudie 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.
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.
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