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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

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