7/3/2014 10:00 A.M. ET
Thicke joins 'Express Written Consent'
Beloved sitcom dad discusses his new reality show 'Unusually Thicke'
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
In today's world of reality TV -- where shows are staged from beginning to end but are passed off as things that are really happening (they're not), unscripted (they're not) with real conflicts (fake, fake, fake) -- it's kind of nice to see a show like "Unusually Thicke" emerge onto the entertainment landscape.
This reality show is, as fully admitted by the cast, very loosely based. It stars real people using their real names -- Alan Thicke, his wife, Tanya, and his son, Carter, and they're "acting" as they would when the cameras are off (for the most part), and it takes place in their home. So in those respects, it's reality.
But "Unusually Thicke" is also a bit on the cheeky side, where topics aren't necessarily completely off the cuff. There's planning ahead of time, to be sure, but while the topics of the day might be agreed upon, conversations taking place after that are considerably less scripted.
Even Thicke, in an interview with "Today," described the show as "Honey Boo Boo meets Larry David."
And that's what Thicke alluded to during his time in the MLB.com booth at Dodger Stadium during the latest taping of "Express Written Consent," where celebs are invited to kick back, take in a game and talk about whatever comes down the pike.
The first order of business during Thicke's conversation with host Jeremy Brisiel was his latest reality venture, which airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on the TV Guide Network.
"It's a reality sitcom," Thicke said. "A real family, real situations, but in a sitcom format where we're telling stories, and trying to get laughs and bring a few celebrities in."
Thicke obviously knows sitcoms. Before he became known by the younger demographic as Robin Thicke's dad, Alan Thicke was famous for his role as Dr. Jason Seaver in the 1980s sitcom "Growing Pains." Along with Cliff Huxtable, Steven Keaton and Tony Micelli, Dr. Seaver will live on in infamy as one of the 1980s most beloved TV dads, and perhaps it's that experience -- in addition to the obvious lessons learned from actually raising his own children -- that made Thicke a good candidate to star in this not-quite-real reality show.
Thicke summed up "Unusually Thicke" this way: "It's like Jason Seaver saying, 'Come on over, I'll open the door.' There's the real family, there's the fridge."
Thicke's appearance on "EWC" was not his first visit to Dodger Stadium. He has been closer to the action, much closer, having taken part in celebrity hardball games at Dodger Stadium back in the day.
That's actually where he solidified his love-hate relationship with fellow TV dad Tony Danza, star of the widely popular "Who's the Boss?" of yesteryear.
"I love him because when 'Growing Pains' started, 'Who's the Boss?' was our lead-in," Thicke said. "It gave us a great lead-in. I sent him champagne and chocolates that very day and professed my undying love."
So that's the love part. The hate? Well...
"Within a couple years, I'm at the Dodger game," Thicke said, referring to the celebrity event. "I'm up to bat, Tony is the pitcher. I got a hit off him, I made it to first base, I'm making monkey faces at him. And he picks me off first base."
Thicke categorized it as "the most embarrassing, humiliating baseball moment I've ever had." Except, that is, for the time he was playing second base, backed up to catch a fly ball, and tripped.
"I landed on my keester and 50,000 people cheered sarcastically," Thicke recalled.
Thicke's sense of humor has served him well over the years, and while some consider it a gift to have the ability to laugh at themselves, you don't necessarily find an abundance of that quality in Hollywood. Thicke is clearly in on the joke, whether it's coming from him, or it's about him, which made him a perfect guest to appear on "EWC."
In "Start, Bench, Cut," he really let it fly.
"Start, bench, cut these famous reality show families," J.B. said. "The Osbournes, the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo."
Thicke would start the Kardashians, calling them "The grand daddy and grand mommy. ... They have raised the bar and become the gold standard for success in that neighborhood."
And he'd cut Honey Boo Boo, "because I don't always understand it. And sometimes, I feel they're troubled."
Next up: start, bench, cut these famous Canadians (Thicke is originally from Ontario): Celine Dion, Wayne Gretzky, Justin Bieber.
"Start Gretzky," Thicke quickly answered. "Just because he's Wayne Gretzky."
He'd cut Dion -- "She's in Vegas now, and she simply doesn't need us" -- and he'd bench Bieber.
"I think he's still got a chance to be special," Thicke said. "He's a fine-looking young fellow and has recorded some terrific music, and just needs to find that pocket.
"It might be a correctional facility somewhere. But the kid's got a shot."
Sounds like a good premise for a reality show. With some editing, of course.