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Disclaimer up front: I find myself in similar circumstances (wife going back to school, multiple kids with HS freshman son, taking greater responsibilities at home) and remember the 90s (my late 20s) fondly. And I have been known to parent in ways similar to the titular Jack.
This show should be a huge hit. It captures 90s life fairly accurately without going to far and becoming cartoonish (hello 70s Show, talking to you). Yes, there are structural similarities. If the show had centered on Red and Eric, those cursory reviews would have a point. But it is that difference that begins the conversation.
This is a coming of age comedy. But as the son comes of age, dad has to reveal more about himself in order to form the connection with his kids (primarily the son) necessary to be the one that is "taking over the parenting" as mom goes back to school. Son Frankie has the requisite friends (if you don't recognize Mikey among your kid's friends, guess what-your kid is it) that are well cast and deliver well in support. The sister and mom are perfect. But the stories center on dad and son and they shine. This is a comedy played straight and without a laugh track, and is so much the funnier for it.
4 episodes into the run and I have a new favorite sitcom. I can't stop telling people about this show. I see that it only has a run of 8 episodes and find myself intensely nervous about its future. This show makes me laugh out loud. Consistently and often. My son actually fell off the couch laughing as Jack dropped the kids at school in episode 1. Watch this show. You will soon set the series record on your DVR so you can watch it over and over.
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