Strong start falters by episode three
Published: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2013 22:10
Two weeks ago, the one hour series premiere for the new NBC sitcom “The Michael J. Fox Show” was an absolute delight. Michael J. Fox, one of the most brilliant comedic actors in television history, proved his return to a regular series was more than just a novelty. Embracing his Parkinson’s disease by starring as similarly afflicted TV newsman Mike Henry, Fox successfully managed to mine great comedic material from a somewhat sensitive and serious issue, providing viewers with something truly unique to enjoy.
Unfortunately, the follow up to the brilliant one hour premiere was lackluster from the start. Ridden with typical cliche’s of the genre, “Art” was barely more than a passable effort. Given the success of the series premiere, the audience should rightly feel somewhat disappointed.
The basic premise of the episode centers around Mike’s daughter Eve and her newfound hobby, photography. Her parents are excited she’s found a creative outlet, that is until they learn exactly what she’s been photographing: nude male models.
Things get even more complicated when Eve (rather absurdly) convinces her mother Annie (“Breaking Bad’s” Betsy Brandt) to pose topless. To solve things, Mike and Annie have no other choice but to break into the museum where their daughter’s photographs are being displayed to prevent public embarrassment.
An easily forgettable subplot revolved around Mike and Annie’s eldest son Ian breaking up with his girlfriend and subsequent encounters with Mike’s boss and best friend Harris whom Ian sought ought to receive (rather poor) advice on women.
Many of the funniest parts of the series premiere were centered around Mike’s various antics both in the newsroom and in the field reporting. Seeing one of the most acclaimed comedic actors in television history make his return to a regular series was nothing less than an absolute thrill.
Which is why it is all the more confusing as to why this episode centered primarily on the cliched adventures of Mike’s children rather than on his own storyline. This episode lacked virtually all of the humor and charm that made the series premiere so enjoyable. Joke after joke fell flat like a series of dominoes. Its almost as if this was a different series. Perhaps NBC is trying to “play it safe,” attempting to replicate the success of similarly formatted series on other networks.
This episode of “The Michael J. Fox Show” was far from the worst thing you could have caught on television last week, but I can assure you, there was nothing extraordinary, unique, or even all that funny to see here. Besides Mike Henry himself, nearly every character is a largely forgettable clichéd, by the book sitcom stereotype. Despite a solid premiere, one should already have reason to fear for this once promising new series.