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March 22, 2014

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THE SUNDAY GAZETTE MAIL | MARCH 23, 2014 2 | Cover story By Jacqueline Spendlove TV Media R emember "TheWonderYears?"The short-lived but well-loved "My So- Called Life?" More recently,"That '70s Show?"The coming-of-age motif never seems to get old, perhaps because of the healthy dose of nostalgia it instills in those of us who have made it out of our teenage years alive, if not unscathed. The now-20- and 30-somethings who grew up amongst the Walkmans, grunge flannel and way-too-big jeans of the '90s should feel right at home with "Surviving Jack" — Fox's new ensemble series "about a man becoming a dad, as his son is becoming a man, in a time before 'coming of age' was something you could Google."The series is set in the '90s, and stars Christopher Meloni ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit") as a no- nonsense oncologist who becomes a full-time dad for the first time in his life. Catch the series premiere Thursday, March 27, on Fox. Similar to "TheWonderYears" style, "Surviving Jack" is narrated by the future voice of the youngest member of the family, just starting to come into himself. It's from his perspective that the plot un- folds, as he reflects on his experiences and misadventures growing up and ap- proaching manhood. Frankie Dunlevy (Connor Buckley,"TheAbduction of Zack Butterfield," 2011) is starting high school having grown 10 inches over the summer and gained those first precious scraps of attention from the opposite sex.With all the awkwardness and uncomfortable sit- uations that are part and parcel of one's teenage years, it's about time Frankie has his dad around to help lead him into manhood. The humor in the show's premise comes from no-bull, ex-military patriarch Jack Dunlevy's blunt and straightforward approach to life and parenting.The man is no warm, lesson-spoutingWard Cleav- er orAtticus Finch, though that's not to say he loves his family any less than these bastions of fatherhood.With his wife, Joanne (Rachael Harris,"Suits"), return- ing to law school, Jack is taking up the gauntlet of full-time parenthood — a challenge that, as a busy working man prior to this, is new to him.With his 17-year-old daughter, Rachel (Claudia Lee,"Hart of Dixie"), to wrangle as well as Frankie, Jack, like his son, is entering an uncharted phase of his life that he has to figure out as he goes. If the gruff, tough-love father figure brings to mind a similar character recent- ly seen on (and quickly gone from) prime time, that could be because of the cre- ators."Surviving Jack" comes from long- time writing partners Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, who were also be- hind the short-lived CBS sitcom "$#*! My Dad Says."That show was based on Halpern's book of the same name, which in turn was based on hisTwitter feed con- sisting of hilarious and often off-color quotations from his father, Sam. Despite the popularity of the feed and the book, the series flopped and was canceled in its first season after a mere 18 episodes. "Surviving Jack" is based on Halpern's bestselling autobiographical book,"I Suck at Girls," so like "$#*! My Dad Says," it contains real-life material — let's hope that it translates better to the screen than his previous attempt. While both books have been success- ful, that doesn't guarantee a successful TV show, as "$#*! My Dad Says" has dis- mally proven. Critics have noted the simi- larities between the two shows — both based on Halpern's relationship with his father — but Halpern is confident that "Surviving Jack," and specifically this fa- ther figure, will make a better transition toTV than "$#*! My Dad Says" ever could. Citing aTelevision CriticsAssocia- tion Q&A, Lisa De Moraes of Deadline. com writes that Halpern's response to what went wrong with the CBS sitcom was that it was "very much the wrong tone," and that the dad character "did not live well in a multi-cam sitcom world where it's all about setup and punch lines. On a single cam [which is the for- mat of 'Surviving Jack'], the comedy comes more organically," he said. Of "$#*! My Dad Says," Halpern went fur- ther, and admitted in the Q&A that "it was really bad." The good old days Fox's new coming-of-age comedy promises laughs and nostalgia Rachael Harris as seen in "Surviving Jack" ALIGN BOLD BULLETS CENTER CLIP ART CROP CUT EXIT EXPORT FONTS ICONS INDENT INDEX INSERT ITALICS LANDSCAPE LAYOUT LETTERS MACRO MARGIN MENU MICROSOFT WORD NEW OPEN PAGE PASTE REVIEW RULER SAVE AS SPELL CHECK SUBSCRIPT TABLE TABS TEXT TIMES NEW ROMAN TOOLBAR UNDERLINE UNDO UPPERCASE VERDANA WATERMARKS WORDART ZOOM From the list below, find each word and circle its letters in the puzzle to reveal the message relating to this week's theme. Word Processing A/Glass Block Place 1 x 1" 3 x 3" BASEMENT & BASEMENT & BATHROOM WINDOWS 304-345-6840 wvglassblock.com Contact: Rich West 304-348-1744 rich.west@cnpapers.com 8 million pageviews. 2.3 million unique visitors Online advertising with Is a BIG DEAL

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