Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Scott D. Pierce: About a Boy,’ ‘Fisher’ will warm your heart
First Published Feb 20 2014 11:39 am • Last Updated Feb 20 2014 04:15 pm

NBC’s new sitcoms "About a Boy" and "Growing Up Fisher" are somewhat unusual for 21st-century network TV. They will both warm your heart.

They’re both about nontraditional families. They’re both pretty funny. Sometimes hilarious.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

They’re both full of characters you will like. Characters you’ll enjoy spending time with every week.

"About a Boy" is based on Nick Hornsby’s novel that inspired the 2002 movie. David Walton stars as Will, a ladies’ man/slacker who’s living off royalties from a song he wrote years ago. He doesn’t like kids and he’s totally self-involved — until 11-year-old Marcus (Benjamin Stockman) moves in next door with his uptight vegan mother, Fiona (Minnie Driver).

Will and Fiona take an instant disliking to each other, but they both love Marcus.

"I look at it as a story about a family that will never in their lives admit that they’re a family," said executive producer Jason Katims, who has already adapted two movies ("Friday Night Lights," "Parenthood") into very good TV series. "It sort of takes a little bit of Fiona and a little bit of Will to make the best version of Marcus, but Will and Fiona will never admit that they need each other to help raise this boy."

It’s warm, winning and very funny.

The premise of "Growing Up Fisher" is weirder — and weirder still because it’s based on the real life of executive producer D.J. Nash.

His 11-year-old alter-ego, Henry (Eli Baker), has to adjust when his father, Mel (J.K. Simmons) — who has successfully hidden his blindness from almost everyone but his family — and his mother, Joyce (Jenna Elfman), get divorced. Dad gets a guide dog; Mom starts living the adolescence she missed; and Henry and his older sister, Kate (Ava Deluca-Verley), still have all the love and support they want.

Oh, and the adult version of Henry (Jason Bateman) narrates it all.

story continues below
story continues below

It’s an offbeat family, but it’s still a family.

"Even though there’s a very specific hook to the show, it’s a universal story," Nash said. "It’s a story about a family who in times of great need are selfless for the sake of family."

It doesn’t gloss over the fact that this is a family in the middle of a divorce, but it doesn’t sink under the weight of that.

"What is true of my parents — and what is true of these parents — is that they never let the fact that they’re getting divorced keep them from being amazing parents," Nash said.

"About a Boy" premieres commercial-free on Saturday at 10:07 p.m. on NBC/Ch. 5; "Growing Up Fisher" debuts, also commercial-free, on Sunday at 9:38 p.m. (after the Olympics). The shows then move to their regular time slots — Tuesday at 8 and 8:30 p.m., respectively.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.