Weren’t a big fan of the short-lived CBS sitcom “$#*! My Dad Says”? You’re not alone — the series’ creator, Justin Halpern, wasn’t into it either.
Halpern trashed his own show at the Television Critics Association panel for his new show, “Surviving Jack,” on Monday, admitting that the previous series “sucked” and was “really bad.”
Halpern added that he thought that “$#*! My Dad Says” hit the “wrong tone,” adding that the character based on his father is “unintentionally funny,” and “that character doesn’t live as well on a multi-camera sitcom … it just doesn’t feel organic.”
Clearly, Halpern has higher hopes for his new offering, a Fox comedy set in the ’90s that stars “Law & Order: SVU” vet Christopher Meloni as stern but loving father Jack Dunlevy. (For what it’s worth, the new series, like it’s predecessor,” is also based on Halpern’s relationship with his father.)
But, while Halpern — who co-created “Surviving Jack” with fellow “$#*! My Dad Says” alum Patrick Schumacker — took pains to distance his new baby from his first-born, a reporter at the panel compared the series to another retro family comedy, “The Goldbergs.”
Executive producer Bill Lawrence was quick to dismiss comparisons.
“I think what we liked best [about “Surviving Jack”] … was that this show is really focused around the father/son relationship, and really tracking the show through the dad’s eyes, a little more than ‘The Goldbergs,’ though I like ‘The Goldbergs,'” Lawrence offered. “I think that show is little more of a nostalgic slice of life in the ‘Wonder Years’ vein …these two shows are not in the same storytelling vein.”
The cast and producers also addressed the key to making Meloni’s hard-ass dad character relatable while retaining his air of intimidation.
“We just never wanted the character to be mean, we wanted him to be honest,” Halpern said.
“Sometimes I think of Archie Bunker, without the racism,” Meloni offered.