I fell in love with Scott Foley in The Unit as the new guy coming into special ops, doing things he didn’t know someone was going to tell him to do. I missed him on Felicity, even though I knew he existed then. I saw him a few months later in my marathon of Scrubs and was glad for it. I like JD as much as the next girl, but really, you choose him over Scott Foley? I followed him through Cougar Town, Grey’s Anatomy, True Blood, and recently, Scandal, but now, Scott Foley fans can catch him getting his true leading man game on in The Goodwin Games on Fox.
The characters Scott Foley plays generally needs to have the rules, the better to break them later. There is an air of danger to him that plays well with his role choices and I like it. It doesn’t pigeonhole him, but brings something different to the role than just about anyone I could think of. However, when he’s out of character mode and in interview mode, he is relaxed but on top of things. He mentioned that he loved to work, and the casual ease and pleasure he took, not only in accepting the questions, but answering them in this conference call interview made me an even bigger fan.
The Goodwin Games has at the helm Craig Thomas, Carter Bays, and Chris Harris, better known for their show How I Met Your Mother. According to Fox, THE GOODWIN GAMES is a single-camera comedy that tells the story of three grown siblings who return home after their father’s death, and unexpectedly find themselves poised to inherit a vast fortune – if they adhere to their late father’s wishes. Scott Foley plays Henry Goodwin, the successful doctor and more successful of the three. He is joined by Becki Newton (of Ugly Betty fame) and comedian T.J. Miller, playing Chloe and Jimmy respectively. These siblings must learn to get along all while facing the death of their father and the possibility of winning 23 million dollars. Or 22 million… well, you’ll see after you watch the pilot.
When asked what drew him to the show, Scott Foley referenced one of my favorite family dramas, Family Ties. He felt that The Goodwin Games had the same kind of balance that Families Ties had long ago. Even though it is a comedy, nothing is funny all the time, but nothing is sad all the time either and he thinks that balance as well as the cast and crew help make the coming comedy something worth watching. When asked about what he brought to the role of Henry Goodwin that wasn’t written, he answered that he hope he brought a lot. “I hoped that I brought a dynamic to the siblings that no one else could have, whether it was in my relationship with the other characters and whether I saw him [Henry Goodwin] as a little more stiff and proper than the writers saw him… the way he held himself the way he spoke, his history with his siblings is all sort of my creation,” he said. “I hope that comes across.”
I asked him how he psyched himself up between playing the heavier, dramatic role of Capt. Jake Ballard on Scandal versus the lighter role of Henry Goodwin. “You have to develop a character and find the real moments and you play the situation in the words. if I have the character down in my head, whether comedy or drama, and you find where that character lives and you play the reality of the situation. For me, there’s not much difference. I like both equally and I’m glad I don’t get pigeonholed.”
After watching the pilot episode of The Goodwin Games, and enjoying Scott Foley’s highly braggadocious and conceited Henry Goodwin very much, as well as his dynamic with Becki Newton and T.J. Miller, I am a little excited to be adding a new comedy to my Mondays this summer. I think with the combo of Craig, Carter, and Chris – especially considering how much I like How I Met Your Mother – as writers and the phenomenal actors, this production will find itself growing past the few missteps of the pilot.
So, what did I think of the pilot episode of the Goodwin Games? A bit rushed at times as we try to get to the Games. I felt like there should have been a bit more time to give the characters the chance to show us how they will process their grief. If they’d been allowed to leave, how would they have handled what their father threw at them? Yet even as we anticipate seeing them process their grief through mind-boggling and irritating challenges, I still think a little more grief would have been good. There was a moment, in the attic, that was very touching based on what seemed like an almost throwaway moment earlier. I like how the actors have defined their characters so far. Scott Foley does this thing when his character Henry walks into his family home. He sees his old trophies and, almost preening, says, “I forgot how many there were.” It was such a good way of understanding how much the Henry character needs to feel superior. Even in the scene when the father is saying which character is going to get the money, even Henry’s siblings think that, based on how much Henry talks about his success, he is the best Goodwin that their father is speaking of.
Becki Newton is at her most exaggerated when she is playing the popular girl, but in the real moments, when she is taken back to her math nerd moments, she really shines as Chloe. T.J. Miller as Jimmy is hilarious. There are a few moments in the pilot where he makes me laugh out loud, including the closing moment when a snapshot is taken just as their father delivers horrifying news to the other two siblings. Miller’s face is priceless in the middle of their shocked faces.
So take a look at the pilot and let me know in the comments whether Scott Foley achieved his acting goals as Henry Goodwin. The Goodwin Games airs on Fox on Mondays beginning May 20th.