Surviving Jack is the story of a man becoming a father to his son who becomes a man, in the ’90s, when you couldn’t Google it for advice.


Surviving Jack is an new American television series coming to television screens in Costa Rica this week, debuting on Warner on April 9, at 8:00pm.

The series is written by Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, and is based on Halpern’s autobiographical book I Suck at Girls.

Set in 1990s Southern California, the series centers on Jack Dunlevy, an ex-military man and no-nonsense guy who becomes a full-time parent when his wife decides to go to law school. He takes an unorthodox approach to keeping his teenagers, Frankie and Rachel, in line.

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Christopher Meloni, a fine actor, plays Dr. Jack Dunlevy, whose wife, Joanne (Rachael Harris), returns to school and leaves him with day-to-day responsibility for their teenage son, Frankie (Connor Buckley), and daughter, Rachel (Claudia Lee).

A former military man, Jack approaches his children the way he would approach a group of new recruits at Parris Island.

Frankie, in particular, is treated as an incompetent idiot who must be insulted and humiliated until his will is broken and he can be molded into the man Dr. Jack knows is there.

So yes, Jack does this out of deep caring. When Jack curtly tells Frankie that if he died, “There would be a grieving period,” we know he’s really saying, “I love you, son.”

Trouble is, the jokes too often come off as cartoon setups and Jack himself too often comes off as a bully.