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Surviving Jack' jumps obstacles of parenting, high school

Parents are your role models. You go to them for advice, and they are ultimately the people who raise you and help you become the person you are. Be thankful if you have good ones.

Whether the father Christopher Meloni ("Law and Order: SVU") plays on his new FOX sitcom "Surviving Jack" (airing Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.) is a good parent is still up for debate.

The show takes place in 1991 and follows a workaholic dad, Jack, who takes a break from traveling and his hectic job to take care of and raise his kid as his wife, played by Rachael Harris, goes to law school.

In the pilot, Jack's wife is nervous about this change as Jack begins to say how being the parent who stays at home will be "easy" for him and has an "I got this" attitude.

Jack is presented as a distant father, and as the show continues you can see relationships forming with his two high school teens, Frankie and Rachel, played by Connor Buckley and Claudia Lee. Although the show is centered on Jack, the teens face high school dilemma, particularly Frankie, and Jack is tough on them about their issues and problems, unlike their mother.

Frankie is entering his freshman year of high school and doesn't seem to be confident or socially graced at school in the first few days. He has a lot going for him, as he grew 10 inches over the summer, threw a no-hitter for his baseball team and is getting noticed by girls, but he has no idea how to act. Jack gives Frankie relationship advice during the premiere and tries to teach him how to drive, but he is not up to speed on the parenting thing as he decides to embarrass his son to make his points.

When Jack is not on the screen, the show is not at its strongest, but the pilot is very funny when it comes to his insight into his kids' problems and to communication between spouses. Christopher Meloni brings a character and personality to Jack as parent who is not up to date on how to raise the kids.

Amanda Boyer can be reached at


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