Unusually Thicke title card (screenshot via slice.ca)
No, you’re not watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians, this is the Thicke’s house. (screenshot via slice.ca)
If you told me not too long ago that there would be a Keeping Up with the Kardashians clone starring Alan Thicke and his family, I’d say that you’re crazy, but here we are.
Unusually Thicke opens with gorgeous, bright, sunny shots of Santa Barbara and they might be enough to fool you into thinking it’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians. A few more seconds in, however, you get to the Thicke household and it’s clear you’re not watching the Kardashians, but rather the far less gorgeous Thicke family.
Tanya tries to convince Alan that her shoes are worth keeping because they’re pretty, but Alan shoes aren’t therefore he’s just hoarding. (I don’t get it either.) (screenshot via slice.ca)
Like most other reality shows in this vein, there’s some sort of menial drama added in an attempt to make the show somewhat interesting. In the debut episode, it’s Alan’s wife looking at random assortments of things and claiming he’s a hoarder—the argument is a bit silly. If either of them watched an episode of Hoarders they’d know what they were dealing with was merely amateur hour.
Unusually Thicke is unusually filled with cameos (top left: Bill Maher, top right: Robin Thicke, bottom left: Minnie Driver, bottom right: Bob Saget) (screenshots via slice.ca)
If that sounds incredibly dull to you, you’re right it is. Unfortunately, Alan Thicke doesn’t have Kim Kardashian’s good looks to fall back on, so the show enlists a bunch of celebrities to make up for the lack of whatever it is that make the Kardashians so appealing. In the debut episode Minnie Driver, Bill Maher and Bob Saget all make cameos. Robin Thicke is probably too cool to stick around for the filming of the entire series so his only appearance in the premiere was showing up for a second or two in a framed family photo.
It’s odd when you think about it: If anyone would be suited for a show like this, it would be Robin. He seems like the type of guy who would have an interesting life. I suppose you could argue he already had a show like this of his own. It’s over on BET, The Real Husbands of Hollywood. The show is essentially a spoof of Bravo/Slice’s Real Housewives, but he left it after the first season.
Alan Thicke’s creepy smile in the opening sequence (screenshot via slice.ca)
Tanya “the hot younger wife” (screenshot via slice.ca)
Carter has no idea what to do with his arms in the opening sequence (screenshot via slice.ca)
But back to Unusually Thicke, not only would Robin be more suited for the reality show format, but Alan feels very out of place on this show. That’s particularly odd considering the show is a vehicle for him. However, his wife, Tanya, and son, Carter seem to fall more in line of who you would think of as reality TV stars.
Tanya reminds me a lot of Cheryl Hines in Curb Your Enthusiasm: She’s much younger than her husband, she seems to really care about him, yet she’s not afraid to speak her mind. She kinda reminds me of Anna Nicole Smith too, not in a bad way though. As I just said, she seems to genuinely love Alan and she seems quite smart too. Alan’s son Carter…is Carter. He’s just a typical teenager, but in an atypical family.
I hate spoiling shows, but I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to know that to help with Alan’s “hoarding” problem, Carter suggests a yard sale. Tanya wasn’t too keen on the idea but eventually relents. Alan of course tries to hold onto as much as he can. Okay, now this might warrant a spoiler alert: There’s a bombshell in the first episode—Tanya wants a baby. She lets Carter know, but he’s so out of it, focused on wanting a yard sale for some strange reason, that he didn’t really seem to care.
Alan is caught by Tanya trying to hide some of his many hockey jerseys (screenshot via slice.ca)
isn’t too bad as long as you’re not expecting a reality show. To say this is a reality show is like saying The Office
is a documentary—it just isn’t. You’re likely to feel duped and frustrated if you believe it’s real. (Remember the hullabaloo
over The Hills
Taking it as a comedy based on Thicke’s life, along the lines of a toned down Curb, makes it far more enjoyable. The number of celebrity cameos is quite something too. They show up completely randomly like Tanya casually chatting with Minnie Driver in a small get together of friends or his son enlisting Bob Saget to help with the yard sale.
Perhaps Unusually Thicke would’ve been better if it was a straight-up sitcom (screenshot via slice.ca)
Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would rather have a more traditional sitcom with Alan Thicke and company rather than a “reality” show, or maybe what would even be better would be the best of both worlds, a reality show spoof a la Real Husbands. I’m guessing Alan was attracted to the reality show idea because he’s done sitcoms, he’s done talk shows, so why not give this a shot? With a reality show spoof, he would’ve had a new genre to tackle and could make it incredibly funny (not to say it isn’t right now).
I just feel this show isn’t the best showcase of Alan’s talent. Why try to carbon copy shows that typically star people who are simply famous for being famous when you actually have talent yourself? Even with that aside, I feel there’s a lot hampering Unusually Thicke from being a great show, as opposed to merely being a good one.
Episode reviewed: Hoarders
Unusually Thicke airs Wednesdays at 10 PM on Slice