Unusually Thicke is a show that is on TV

Unusually Thicke (Photo: Peter Bregg / TVGN)
Unusually Thicke (Photo: Peter Bregg / TVGN)

Alan Thicke is back on TV. Yay? Unusually Thicke is unusually bland for a celeb-reality show, but not totally unwatchable. Help.


Unusually Thicke, which airs back-to-back episodes Wednesdays at 10pm on TV Guide Network (TVGN).


Alan Thicke, his third wife Tanya, and his third son Carter invite a camera crew into their home to document their lives.


Alan Thicke was the dad on Growing Pains and wrote the theme songs to Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes. His son Robin had a minor hit last summer with “Blurred Lines” and was seen dancing with Miley Cyrus that one time.1

What Works

Unusually Thicke is probably the most realistic of the candid celebrity shows in that it depicts a rather boring family. For a show nobody asked for, there are surprisingly few wacky hijinks. The sound cues (particularly rim shots) are on overdrive, but the conversations and actions don’t feel like they have gone through multiple reshoots.

What Doesn’t Work

Why is this show? Growing Pains has been off the air for over 20 years and is not currently in syndication or streaming, as far as I can tell. Jeremy Miller popped up on Dancing with the Stars a few weeks ago2 to support Danica and Candace, but has otherwise been quiet. No one has been clamoring for a reunion or any kind, so…why Alan Thicke?

I have no idea who the audience is for Unusually Thicke. It’s not like the Thicke family are in the tabloids. Yes, Robin is still in the zeitgeist, but his association with the show is minimal if not non-existent. Some of the guest stars in the first episode were Bob Saget and Bill Maher, which…huh. If someone has a Venn diagram to illustrate the demo, please share it with me.

The last question I kept asking during Wednesday’s airing: when was this made? Aside from references to Thicke’s age (66 at the time, he’s 67 now), the most recent reference was from 2009. The episode made jokes about hoarding and decluttering, which seems so antiquated now that Hoarders has been gone for over a year. Although it is refreshing to watch a show where tweets and Facebook and hashtags aren’t mentioned (aside from a bug in the corner), it underscores the blandness of what we are watching.


Unusually Thicke is bland, inoffensive, and baffling. I would like you to watch an episode in the hope that you can explain to me why this exists.

  1. Robin will probably not be on the show.  
  2. I thought he was Bill Engvall when I fast forwarded past the segment. Oops.  

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About Mike McComb 970 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv