Using sitcoms as a social platform to discuss contemporary issues isn't anything new. Will & Grace, M*A*S*H, The Cosby Show, and even Friends embodied the voice of social issues facing their audience as they aired. The Michael J. Fox Show promises to step up and do the same by taking the same approach: not becoming defined by the issues.
The Michael J. Fox Show is the sitcom demanding the most of its prospective audience: it's almost asking you to ignore the hook. The stories and situations highlighted in the preview mostly have more to do with a man driving his family crazy and trying to settle back into a professional world than a man coming to grips with his diagnosis.
Michael J. Fox is a fantastic actor, yes, but beyond that, it's the approach of the show that I'm most excited for. After semi-retiring from acting in 2000 because of the severity of his illness, Fox became an advocate for Parkinson's research. He speaks openly about his condition and what can be done to help pursue a cure.
More interesting, however, has been Fox's willingness to come back to the screen and use his illness as a storytelling tool. Those of you who watch The Good Wife know exactly what I'm talking about. Fox repeatedly guest stars as opposing council diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder characterized by symptoms similar to Parkinson's. Not only is Fox comfortable portraying a character so close to home, his character constantly exploits his illness in court to gain sympathy and manipulate the jury.
Rather than using this character to make a statement about neurological disorders, Fox uses this character to not make a statement. The lack of heavy-handed commentary forces the audience to consider his character as just that: a character. It's revolutionary in a time when every show on TV is coddling and sucking up to its audience, toeing the politically correct line. Knowing Fox's treatment of neurological illness on The Good Wife, I can barely contain my excitement for The MJF Show.