There’s nothing horrifying about having Parkinson’s, insists Michael J. Fox — no “gothic nastiness” to his affliction that is the basis for many jokes in his new eponymous sitcom debuting this fall on NBC.
“A lot of times when you have a disability, the one thing you deal with is rejection of your experience, or fear they have about it,” Fox told reporters Saturday at the Television Critics Tour. ” They’re not seeing the experience you are having. But there’s nothing horrifying about it. There is no gothic nastiness. The reality of Parkinson’s is that sometimes it’s frustrating and sometimes it’s funny,” he continued. “I need to look at that way.”
Fox said that he and Executive Producers Will Gluck and Sam Laybourne mined the actor’s life for comedy gold. (The series focuses on a former news anchor with Parkinson’s who returns to work — much to the happiness of his family). Most of the jokes that are told in the pilot episode — like how Fox’s character takes too long to serve food, which prompts his wife (Betsy Brandt) to criticize his need for a “personal victory” — came from Fox’s personal experiences.
“We sat down and I said here’s the kind of stuff I deal with on daily basis,” said Fox, who also invited his real life wife Tracy Pollan to appear in the series’ third episode.
“We’re honoring” Mike’s family, added Gluck, who described Fox’s home life as “wildly funnier.”
The producers also teased how they’ll use Anne Heche, the newest cast member. “She’s the newest nemesis for Mike,” Laybourne said. “Let’s just say there was a disputed incident 20 years ago in the Everglades and she used Mike to help her career. As an anchor, they’ll butt heads.”
Here’s the trailer for The Michael J. Fox Show, which will debut at 9 p.m. on Sept. 26 for a one-hour launch, and then shifts into its regular 9:30 p.m. slot.