Just when you thought your television couldn't get any funnier, the midseason showed up, bringing with it a bunch of new comedies that you forgot were ordered last summer to help fill out the spring 2014 TV schedule. Next on the debut docket is NBC's Growing Up Fisher, which the network has strategically scheduled in hopes of giving it a Winter Olympics-fueled boost. But is the show worth your time? That's the question I'm here to answer in this latest edition of Hey TV.com, I Didn't Even Realize This Show Was On!
Growing Up Fisher, so this is a prequel to The Deadliest Catch?
No! The show is actually kind of difficult to define, not because it has a complex premise, but because it has an incredibly simple one. Growing Up Fisher is about an 11-year-old boy named Henry whose family gets closer when his parents get a divorce and his blind dad gets a guide dog. Say what? Yeah, it's not exactly a high-concept comedy. The series features voiceover narration from Henry as an adult, so Netflix will be recommending it alongside The Wonder Years—it's just that the dad is blind in this one. The beating heart of Growing Up Fisher is the relationship between Henry and his dad, who is blind. Did I mention that the dad is blind?
Who's behind the show, and who's in front of the show?
DJ Nash created Growing Up Fisher along with executive producer Jason Bateman, and it's a lot like Nash's past work: Up All Night, Guys With Kids, Traffic Light, Accidentally on Purpose, and 'Til Death. They're all shows that existed at one point or another, but that we probably won't really remember 10 years from now. J.K. Simmons stars as blind dad Mel, Jenna Elfman plays Mel's ex-wife Joyce (the divorce proceedings kind of happen in the pilot, but they're kind of glossed over), and relative newcomer kid actors Eli Baker and Ava Deluca-Verley play Henry and his sister Katie. Bateman provides the voice of Adult Henry.
When will Growing Up Fisher see the light and make its debut?
Growing Up Fisher premieres as a "special preview" on Sunday, February 23 at 10:30pm on NBC, after the network's coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremonies. A couple nights later, it moves to its regular time period of Tuesday night at 9:30pm on February 25.
Who might enjoy Growing Up Fisher?
Families who don't like to stir the pot with anything too edgy, and require their funnies to have a strong sense of family unity! Growing Up Fisher definitely falls under NBC's "broad comedy" initiative, so if you tend to get offended by almost everything, the show should fit well within your boundaries of taste.
What's to like about Growing Up Fisher?
Remember the days when comedies weren't filled with lame sexual innuendo, selfish 20-somethings with no morals, or interesting concepts? Growing Up Fisher does! This is a retro sitcom about a loving family unit, except it's modernized to include a mandatory divorce arc. However, divorce isn't played like a bad thing, but rather as an increasingly normal fact of life; in that sense, Growing Up Fisher shows some faint DNA overlap with ABC's Trophy Wife. The bond between Henry and Mel is the core of the show, and there's definitely something refreshing about a pre-teen son who idolizes his dad. And Mel's indomitable spirit is admirable, even if it means that a blind guy driving because he's too stubborn to accept his handicap. Finally, J.K. Simmons in anything is great.
What isn't so great about Growing Up Fisher?
The pilot is so saccharine at times that it leaves little space for wonder. Growing Up Fisher's upbeat tone actually makes it a bit of a bore; it's almost as if the series is so scared of real emotion that it won't allow Henry to be actually sad about his parents' divorce. Instead, he projects his grievances onto his dad's new guide dog. Growing Up Fisher is wearing kid gloves wrapped in pillows that are covered in marshmallows. And while we're at it, it's pleasant without being funny. I don't belong to Jenna Elfman's fan club, but even I know she probably deserves better material than her youth-recapturing character gets.
So, should I watch it?
Maybe if you're having a really crummy day and you want to spend half an hour watching something that has no chance of upsetting you, then sure. Otherwise, I'd pass on Growing Up Fisher, even though it's sweeter than cotton candy and just as fluffy.
Let's take a look at a trailer anyway!
Growing Up Fisher premieres Sunday, February 23 at 10:30pm on NBC, right after the closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The show moves to its regular time period the following Tuesday, February 25 at 9:30pm.
AIRED ON 5/28/2014
Season 1 : Episode 13