On Unusually Thicke, does art imitate life? Or is it the other way around?
Premiering Wednesday on TVGN (the TV Guide network), Unusually Thicke is the latest edition in the “celebrity” faux reality genre. We get what’s obviously supposed to be an intimate look at Alan Thicke’s closest family relationships, that is his wife, Tanya, who takes nearly every opportunity to mention she’s half her husband’s age, and son, Carter.
In the first episode, Tanya wants to declutter their home, stuffed with nostalgic keepsakes and loads of swag bags from celebrity events. Carter smells a money making opportunity in the form of a garage sale, and Alan, accused of being a hoarder, doesn’t defend himself so much as convict by trying to smuggle his prized possessions from the house.
If it sounds like the premise of a typical sitcom, you’re right. Unusually Thicke doesn’t try very hard to present the idea that we are watching unfiltered or unscripted events. Rather, the entire episode feels so constructed through careful editing that it almost feels disingenuous. And, just so no one gets too sickened by the family’s tour through their expensive possessions, each of them mentions donating the funds to charity so much, they should’ve thrown in $100 for each time they speak those words.
Unusually Thicke boasts a slew of guest stars over its 14 episode season, beginning with comedian Bob Saget, whose arrival arouses jealousy and competitiveness in Alan. Again, much more like a sitcom than reality. There’s even a larger “story” arc involved as Tanya reveals a desire to have a new baby and wonders how Alan is going to feel.
Although I’m far from the target audience for Unusually Thicke, I found myself sucked in just to see what happens next or what cringe worthy words come out of someone’s mouth. And I have to admit there are moments of fun here as well. Fans of carefully constructed portrayals of celebrity life will find much to love and return to with Unusually Thicke. And why not? There’s something to be said for taking a break from the cannibalistic, drug dealing anti heroes that populate or television diets. Unusually Thicke fulfills exactly what it promises, and that’s rare these days.
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