In Christopher Meloni’s new FOX comedy, “Surviving Jack,” he takes a bit of a time warp back to 1991. While it might not sound like that long ago, it’s been over two decades since then and just about everything is vastly different.
For Meloni, it’s not just the world that’s changed, but also his life. “It’s a little surreal in that there’s a slight disconnect,” he tells Zap2it. “At the time I was a different person, you know? I was a young, single, struggling actor guy. Now, I’m playing the guy more as I am now, which is a dad with youngish children.”
Luckily, playing the more hard-edged dad on the shows isn’t completely foreign to him. While Meloni’s own parenting might not be nearly as severe as his on-screen counterpart’s, he still knows where to draw the line with his kids. “I have a very clear belief system about what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s important and what’s not so important,” Meloni explains. “I am a sillier hard-a** than Jack, but a hard-a** none the less.”
Since he’s got the parenting side of the character locked and loaded, now it’s just a matter of readjusting to show’s time period. “It’s the small things that hit me, you know? To make a call you have to walk to the kitchen phone with that circular stringy, always-gets-stretched-out cord, cause everyone’s always pulling it into the hallway to have private conversations,” he remembers. “And I forgot how freaking ugly the cars were back then. Really ugly. They’re all boxes, like big cereal boxes.”
Having Rachael Harris at his side, playing his wife on the show, certainly makes everything a bit easier, though. “It’s better than I hoped for or could have imagined,” Meloni says. “Not only does she posses the requisite comedy chops and timing, but she has a great deal of power and heft to what she gives off. I think that’s absolutely necessary to go toe-to-toe with my character.”
You can go back in time with Meloni when “Surviving Jack” premieres Thursday at 9:30 p.m. ET on FOX.