Michael J Fox show. What did you think?

Many of our Parkinson's support group got together to watch the premiere. The general consensus was it was way too politically correct with a lot of innuendo that wasn't necessary. It was basically a big commercial for NBC and a lot of us felt they took advantage of the show.

However, when the show was dealing with Parkinson's humor it was really funny. Parkinson's has such a variety of symptoms that vary in intensity from person-to-person it will be hard to touch on each symptom on an individual level that we feel is important to us. Overall though it was good exposure. If they can clean up the script and keep on point by presenting Parkinson's in a "humorously" real manner it just may work.

33 Replies

  • When I started to watch the pilot, the first thing I noticed is that MJFs eyes where continually very wide open as if he had undergone an extensive eye lift.,making him look continually surprised..I couldn't tell whether it was his attempt to have expression on his face or a surgery done poorly, but it was confusing and made him appear very manic.. I am very used to Parkinsons symptoms but I wonder if the general public will watch a show which puts more aggressive symptoms in their face. Most people only think of Parkisons as a slight tremor...but MJF is in your face reality.

    I thought the writing in the first episode after the pilot was much improved, and got a chuckle about the fact that everyone who talked to Micheal's character had to tell him about someone they knew with Parkinsons. I am sure many of us could identify with this! I hope that the writing will improve and the public will embrace the show, but my gut feeling is that it will only make people uncomfortable and they won't watch. I hope I'm wrong..

  • as far as the eye thing goes while it is a more common symptom is PSP I have seen other PD folks that had that surprised look rather then the half alsleep or angry look.

  • I ve seen MJF before on interviews and this is the first time I have seen him look so wide eyed..could this be a recent development?

  • I stumbled upon this post after watching many episodes of The Good Wife in which Michael plays a lawyer (with a particular syndrome because of which he has involuntary movements, as he explains in this role).

    It is not so much the movements but the wide open eyes that I find hard to watch each time. I don't know what this is a symptom of. I've read that the involuntary movements may also be a symptom of certain medications, so one never really knows anymore what causes what. But whatever the cause is of the wide open eyes, it distracts me from the scenes that he is in as much as other actors' face or eye lifts would distract (whatever may be the reason in his case).

  • Didnt notice that particularly Kimimila until you mention it here. What you probably are noticing is to do with the problems we have with immobile face and so lack of facial expression, makes it hard for us socially". Also reduced blinking probably increases the impression of staring.

    MJF plays a lawyer with Parkinsons Disease.

  • My husband often has the same expression just like Michael's, and he moves in very similar ways. He was diagnosed with PD about 13 years after Michael was. So for me, watching Michael on TV feels familiar. Hopefully, people watching his show will now be able to identify someone who looks like him as possibly having Parkinson's Disease. While it doesn't personally bother us when people stare wondering what is wrong with my husband, it would be great if a few more people understood it is PD they were looking at. Michael's show might make lots of people feel more comfortable with it.

  • Tried to find something funny. Would not have minded a good parkinson's joke. Kind of a dreadful show

    that I doubt will last. Even repeated a joke that happened on the Larry David show that was funny then.

    Thought it was a commercial for NBC. Pretty bad

  • i tried to like the show but not yet. i will watch one more time.but thats all the time i will spend on it. my time and yours is just as precious as mr fox.so entertain me or lose mei can watch myself to see someone with parkinsons only i just had dbs am doing fantastic yeah!

  • Hi salon, glad your doing great but what's dbs. 

  • It was dreadful.

  • I am in the UK how can I see it .

  • You can watch the pilot online. I didn't find the first episode though. Click this link to see the pilot:


  • I have been supporting my husband for 55years the last 10 years being diagnosed with Parkinson's . Only the other morning as I woke up I suddenly thought I don't think I will ever have anything to smile about or anything happy to be able to look forward to .

    Not that it's going to stop me me caring and loving him .

    When we have our mishaps for instance I couldn't get to quick enough with his BOTTLE today and Hey Ho ! I do make a joke of it and get him laughing but it's the last thing either of us feel like doing . So I hope the viewers don't think everybody can keep their spirits UP ALLTHE TIME ,

  • I don't think the viewers would think that everybody can keep their spirits up all the time. It's a comedy show, so they kind of want to keep you laughing.

  • Cabbagecottage, you're a PWP helpers Hero!!! Try to keep that smile and the jokes going, however hard. Your husband has much to be thankful for, having you there for him, as I'm sure he knows. God bless

  • Humor is what saves us. We make a joke of the tough times, otherwise the sadness or frustration can swamp us. If Fox's show could capture that reality, it would be great. And the moment when the caregiver counts to ten and says kind words rather than anger.

    And gratitude: that's what gets us through, along with humor. I didn't see a lot of gratitude, not that it has to be like treacle.

  • As a result of the show, I heard the question, "If Michael J Fox can walk, run up stairs, and star in a TV series series, and he's had Parkinson's longer than you have, then why do claim that you can't walk and that you're always exhausted as a result of having Parkinson's?" I have PIGD. I'm not sure how to respond to this question.

    I think that Michael J Fox and his foundation are doing excellent work and I admire and respect him for that. I'm defiantly going to watch future episodes to see how this plot unfolds.

  • I think the show was great! It shows a man living his life that happens to have PD. MJF eyes were wide open but so what? That kind of stare is part of the disease. I liked the Parkinson's joke and how the family took it in stride. I don't think the public will think that people with PD are always joking about it. I think MJF teaches the public that he has PD, but PD doesn't have him. I make jokes about my PD all the time because for me laughter is the best medicine.MJF put a face on PD, if it wasn't for him I don't think the general public would be aware of PD and that it's not strictly an old person disease.

    Thanks MJF

  • I also admire Michael J. Fox and his foundation. I like the way he looks on the bright side of things and makes the most out of a bad situation. I am sure he has his bad days like the rest of us but I admire his spirit and his all out effort to find a cure. Yes, I will watch the show.

  • We need to answer questions like Joel got faced with more and better info than the pilot or E2 could possibly have fit in...like how PD varies from one Parkie to the next and from day to day or hour to hour, etc. The show was fun, IMO albeit a bit off the mark with the sexual innuendo, and IMO again, with way too many NBC "commercials". I could understand the latter if they had inadequate commercial sponsors but then I would imagined they could have played this up to the commercials and the trailers and advertisements before the show even aired as a way to draw more sponsors and higher ratings. Kudos on casting Betsy Brandt (fresh from "Breaking Bad" as MJF's show wife, and for keeping the genuine Mrs Fox in the cast.

    I hope they can work the bugs out of the show...I think it will likely prove our one and our golden opportunity to raise PD awareness.

    BTW, I saw a link to watch the Pilot on imbd.com.

    Meanwhile, best wishes to you all!

    Steve in Bisbee, AZ

  • I think your point is a very good one. I watched in amazement as he ran up the stairs, I am scared to death of stairs and surely could not run up them! Yesterday I talked to my sister who is not interested in learning anything regarding PD. Of course, her first comment was, he has had PD longer than you have and look what he is doing! I attempted to explain to her that it affects everyone in differing ways.

    I have always loved MJF, never thought we would have this disease in common. I believe he is attempting to educate people about PD, I don't think he is purposefully misrepresenting the disease.

    I am not so sure the show will survive, it was uncomfortable to watch even for me. His speech was difficult to understand and I had to rewind parts to figure out what he was saying. I think the general public would find it even harder to watch than those of us who are educated in regard to PD.

  • It goes to show how different everyone is , although my husband can no longer even stand at one time as bad as he was he could always manage to get up the stairs or steps much easier than walking on the flat . Long before he was was diagnoses I would have trouble keeping up with him going up hills and ask him to slow down . He use to say he couldn't get up them any other way .

    He cannot manage his cutlery or get the food to his mouth but if I shout catch and though a ball to him he never fails to catch it . Complex !!

  • PIGD (postural instability gate disorder), I think that's what it stands for, is the form of Parkinson's that I have. It accounts for balance problems, difficulty walking, and worst of all freezing. If I was to attempt to run up that flight of stairs in front of that building, my actions would undoubtedly result in numerous broken bones and a plethora of bruises, scrapes and contusions. On second thought, that's not actually true. If I tried to get my foot up on the first step and then attempted to bring my other foot up to join it I would either plummet forward or tumble backward before I ever made it to the second step.

  • I loved the show . Did we watch the same show? I hate sit coms (except Big Bang Theory), but this one was great. Very cute kids. Liked that his real life wife plays upstairs neighbor who is attracted to him. Yes, people can be attracted to pwp's! Sneaked in other information about PD: tremor goes away when asleep, life revolves around taking meds. Making people uncomfortable? There's now a schizophrenic professor (Perception) , a medical doctor with apparently Asperger's (Royal Pain), the OCD detective (Monk) was a huge hit, all kinds of addicts (recovering and otherwise) as characters -- highly educational and at the same time entertaining. As for my dyskinesias, I'm going to stop "EXPLAINING" that I have PD and just rock with it :D

  • It is interesting to see the variety of responses to the Michael J Fox show question. As I stated in my original comments, Parkinson's has such a variety of symptoms and symptom levels for each of us and it is only natural for us to view this show through our own prism. I enjoyed the show and did not look for it to solve or even present all of the problems that Parkinson's represents for me.

    Michael J Fox is an amazing actor and person. I applaud and respect everything he has done for the Parkinson's community, including getting the show on the air. My major point was that NBC took advantage of this opportunity. They spent way too much of the time promoting NBC and tried to tick off all of their politically correct viewpoints. It felt like 50 to 60% of the show time was focused on NBC. I, like others, hope they clean up the writing and focus on the show development.

  • AMEN !

  • Acting ok. But why don't they show him napping in the afternoon? His words.

    As for people that ask me why I can't work. I don't have millions to find good doctors. No, I can't run up stairs or walk down the street very far. Fox makes others seem like we are faking. I tried to give this a fair try. I like his acting. But, not this.

  • I hate sitcoms for being vapid and superficial. Fox's on screen family are just too precious and precocious for me to believe in. They cater to the immaturity of his character. It's unfunny.

    The only thing I liked was at the end when he was pretending to his wife that he had a crush on a neighbor and she called his bluff saying, people with PD don't have tremors in their sleep. The older son has potential to be the most grown up of them all, as when he tells his sister to stop collecting exotic people and just be herself. That's a good message for the writers. Let the story be about real life PD patients. Fox's character makes a poor "poster child" in that we don't see his down times, meltdowns, or sad times. Lot's of things about PD aren't funny nor do they make good comedy.

    And the wife is long-suffering and a saint. My husband are partners in his care. And he does things that make my life easier because he understands we're a team. The wife is just to patient and solicitous. She deserves some good times for herself not being a dutiful wife and mother 100% of the time. And what's up with that sister. She's an adult but acts like she's in middle school.

  • I admire MJF for what he has done to bring awareness of PD to the fore. But he can so a lots of things that many of can't do - like walking, standing without fear of falling. He can talk too, which I have great difficulty. He apparently doesn't have any dementia,memory problems and the like. He can probably write his name. Sorry - I'm beginning to feel sorry for myself...

  • You are not feeling sorry for yourself you are simply stating the facts of how very many people suffer

  • Thank for your understating. It is just a little tiring all the publicity he gets, but doesn't talk to many of us. Oh, I still admire him for what he does. I suppose I'm just a little jealous.. .

  • I have always respected the Fox Foundation for their dedication to finding a cure and for MJF for being able to withstand the publicity - good and bad. I find it fascinatingly outstanding that he is able to go "back to work". Which is exactly what the sitcom is all about. If I was able to return to my job, heck, I'd be so thrilled I would bring USA Today and CNN to film me too. But that is not my line of work. However it is his. I know, by reading the replies many feel the same. The show is not showing PD it is showing a man with a disease returning to work. The only problem I have with it is - How does this affect our presentation of PD to Social Security Disability and company disability?? I am sure it will make them question our ability to "return to work"also. Pd. awareness has now encompass all 12 months out of necessity. Comment??

  • While I commend MJF for working, I have a hard time watching him, My PD is a daily and constant battle, I just don't like to watch PD after living PD for 12 yrs.

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