A typical family in the middle of a divorce: two kids, mom, dad and guide dog. Oh, and dad's blind.

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Mel Fisher (13 episodes, 2014)
...
 Henry Fisher (13 episodes, 2014)
...
 Katie Fisher (13 episodes, 2014)
...
 Runyen (13 episodes, 2014)
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 Joyce Fisher (13 episodes, 2014)
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 Jenny (7 episodes, 2014)
...
 Principal Sloan (6 episodes, 2014)
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A typical family in the middle of a divorce: two kids, mom, dad and guide dog. Oh, and dad's blind.

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As far as we knew, we were normal.

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Comedy

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23 February 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Family Guide  »

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16:9 HD
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The Opening theme is "Tell The World" by Eric Hutchinson. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: J.K. Simmons/D'Angelo (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

Old-school family sitcom, with heart but a bit cliché-ridden
1 February 2015 | by (Spain) – See all my reviews

The story is told from Henry Fisher's (Eli Baker) point of view. It uses the same grown-up main character narrating his (pre) adolescence in voice-over technique as The Wonder Years. Of course, this show is not as brilliantly inspired as Wonder Years, but it would be unfair to judge a new TV show by such high standards. Eli Baker has a lot of boyish charm and does a convincing job.

Nowadays, it feels a bit old fashioned to have a traditional family sitcom. It's true that the parents are divorced, but they have such a good relationship that there's not such a large difference.

Any new show needs a differentiating element, and here the Mel's (J.K. Simmons, playing the father) blindness plays that role.

One problem is that, for a comedy, Growing Up Fisher is not very funny. A lot of jokes are made from Mel's blindness and how he doesn't let that keep him from any activity. Some of those are enjoyable, but that premise only takes us so far.

Another problem is that it relies too much on clichés. Henry starts awkwardly noticing girls, which is a reasonable plot point for a protagonist this age but one we have often seen. Joyce (Jenna Elfman), his mother, has gone back to the university and is obsessed about being cool and being friends with the other students and with her teenage daughter and her friends. There's nothing wrong with her interpretation, but beyond this not too promising plot element she is not given much to work with. The same can be said about Katie (Ava Deluca-Verley), who plays Henry's older sister. She does fine, but is not given much to do. Henry's best friend Runyen (Lance Lim), is an Asian mouthy kid who also feels like a sitcom cliché.

The show is at his best with heart-warming family lessons, like when Katie stands up for his father when he is almost expelled from a musical where she is starring because his guide dog started barking. This came after Mel had told her that he was so obnoxious and outspoken because when he was a teen his rowing coach had not liked having a blind kid in the team and had asked him to leave. Mel had left and he had always regretted it. Katie standing up for him in spite of being mad at him for spoiling her date was a nice moment. I fear that in our cynic times such simple feel-good messages are seen as too corny.

It's a pity this show was cancelled so soon. I enjoyed it and felt that it had potential to grow beyond the clichés that were holding it back. Unfortunately, we won't have the opportunity to see whether that's the case.


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