28 September 2013 | MovieAddict2016
Fox deserves better than this.
"The Michael J. Fox Show" is about as generic a sitcom as its title. It sucks to admit this, since Michael J. Fox is such a likable talent, and solely on the basis of his returning to television, I *wanted* to like this new show -- but it just isn't that great, and barring a huge revamp of its approach, I doubt there will be much room for improvement.
It is a modern sitcom, which is to say it has been inspired by Modern Family with its talking head interviews, which don't flow very naturally with the procession of the storyline.
Obviously there's no dismissing the elephant in the room, which is Fox's battle with Parkinson's Disease, but...the show goes the opposite route, by embracing it and poking fun at it a little too much. We're supposed to feel comfortable with the sitcom put-downs and quips at his expense because he's cool with it, but that doesn't make them any less uncomfortable, to be totally honest. Honestly, they'd have been better having a couple jokes in the beginning of the episode, then moving on. Instead, they've worked the entire NARRATIVE of the show around his disease -- his character, Mike Henry, is a hugely famous broadcaster who had to quit at the peak of his career due to his Parkinson's struggles. Sound familiar?
The show keeps beating you over the head with this, which, I guess, I could put up with more, if the supporting cast - and writing - compensated. Neither does. From the promiscuous aunt character to the precocious teenager, these are all tired caricatures and none of them quite feel real.
Perhaps most disappointing is that in struggling to overcome all these obstacles he's faced with, Michael J. Fox isn't even given much to work with. He carried Spin City with his easy charm, but with this program he's basically the brunt of a lot of jokes about his physical ailment and playing an exasperated dad whose family is constantly ribbing him -- it's just not that funny or amusing.
I hope it improves, but frankly, they'd have to revamp the whole show and its format, I think, to overcome these problems. I'd be very surprised if this lasts beyond a single season.