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Michael Gross brings “ageless” quality to Jason Priestley’s Call Me Fitz

- October 24th, 2013

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The first thing you’ll notice when you see Michael Gross in Call Me Fitz is, well, he looks great.

Gross, of course, is best known for his role as Steven Keaton, the father on Family Ties back in the 1980s. Gross, now 66, has a guest-starring arc in the fourth season of Jason Priestley‘s Canadian cable comedy Call Me Fitz, beginning with the episode airing Monday, Oct. 28 on The Movie Network and Movie Central.

My God, it doesn’t look as if Gross has aged much.

“First of all, I think that’s delusional, but I appreciate the compliment nonetheless,” Gross says. “Because I do feel older. But having said that, I was blessed with my mother’s wonderful Irish skin. She was relatively wrinkle-free, even in her mid-80s.

“But yet, that’s a problem in some ways, too, because I should be moving into the grandfather roles and they’re going, ‘You know, you don’t look like a grandfather.’ I’m serious. There is all that sagging that takes place, the wrinkled, wizened quality, and it actually stands in my way, to be quite honest.

“I’ve got that thing that juvenile actors have, when they’ve played all these kids, then they move into their 20s and they should be playing 20- and 30-year-olds, but they still look 17.”

You know, in any other walk of life, looking young would be a good thing.

“I found a way to make it bad,” Gross says with a big laugh. “As my wife would say, ‘Well, you’ve managed to find the negative side again, Michael.’ ”

There’s plenty of comedic negativity to go around among the core family on Call Me Fitz, but Gross found a way to make that work for him, through his character.

“When I took the role, people said to me, ‘Call Me Fitz is so edgy and coarse, how are you doing that show?’ ” Gross recalls.

“And I said, ‘Simple – I play the character who is very nice.’ ”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

Brooke Nevin cracks Cracked for season two on CBC

- September 26th, 2013

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There are criminals, and then there are complex criminals, according to Brooke Nevin of Cracked.

“Certainly people who have mental issues represent a particular sort of criminality, more complicated than your run-of-the-mill burglar,” Nevin says. And exploring those nuances is exactly what her new character does in the second season of Cracked, which debuts Monday, Sept. 30 on CBC.

Cracked stars David Sutcliffe (pictured above right) as Detective Aidan Black, who himself is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Nevin (above left) – a Canadian actress who you’ll recall from her regular roles on Breakout Kings and Call Me Fitz, as well as tons of episodic TV work in Canada and the U.S. – joins Cracked as Dr. Clara Malone, a new member of the psych-crimes team.

It’s not as if Dr. Malone applies for the job in a direct way. A crime at the facility where she’s working first puts her into contact with Det. Black, and it becomes clear she might have a liking for this line of work.

“I join the psych-crimes unit as a new forensic psychiatrist, so I lend my knowledge and expertise, not coming from a cop background, but from a very medically based background, and also having dealt with some criminals in the past,” Nevin explains.

“What I love about Cracked is, it’s a procedural, but it’s still very human-based. We’re not dealing only with the inhumanity of psychotic killers and sociopaths and some of the darker aspects. It’s bringing to light the grey areas that occur when people with mental illness are thrust into situations that are crisis points.”

Of course, everyone has dealt with some sort of trauma in their lives.

“But where trauma begins and ends is, how much do you keep on the inside?” Nevin observes.

Whoa. Deep. Nothing Cracked about logic like that.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

If the F-bomb “Fitz,” say it; Call Me Fitz swears it’s the new Trailer Park Boys

- November 30th, 2012

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Call Me Fitz continues to try to top Trailer Park Boys for rapid-fire usage of foul language. In a comedic way, of course.

What is it about the East Coast?

Pushing the F-bombs-per-minute meter into the red, the original Canadian series Call Me Fitz airs its third-season finale this Sunday, Dec. 2, on HBO Canada.

Fittingly, the finale has an F-bomb in its episode title, specifically, “And Baby Makes … F—! Part Two.” Part One aired last weekend, but it repeats just before the debut of Part Two on Sunday.

If you saw Part One, you know that lead character Fitz (Jason Priestley) was sent to jail. It was part of a setup by Fitz’s alter-ego Larry (Ernie Grunwald) to reunite Fitz with his estranged father Ken (Peter MacNeill), who also happened to be in jail.

Of course, the rivalry between father and son merely intensified behind bars as the two of them battled for control of “the yard.”

In the finale, with Ali (Kathleen Munroe) in labour, Fitz sets out to buy back the car dealership before his son is born, and also before his own father buys it back first.

Guest-starring as “Sean the Gay” – the head of the homosexual mafia – is Steve Schirripa, who you’ll remember for his role as Bobby Baccalieri on The Sopranos.

Not that there was any foul language on THAT show. Hope Schirripa remembered to cover his sensitive ears.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv