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TV Review: FOX Buries ‘The Goodwin Games’ For Good Reason
CHICAGO – “The Goodwin Games” is bad, bad, bad. You know a show is likely to be awful when a network cuts back the order and buries its premiere in a time of year when most people are getting outside or going to see Summer blockbusters. While the networks are busy promoting Fall 2013 at Upfronts, who cares about a new show that won’t make it more than two months? And yet there is sometimes reason for hope that a network executive just missed the humor and is actually burying a hidden gem. Hope dies at “The Goodwin Games” and I wish they had buried it deeper.
Television Rating: 1.0/5.0
Not one laugh. A talented cast, decent direction, even a clever concept — but not one laugh. The attempts at jokes hit the floor, the character archetypes are broad, the emotional manipulation is unacceptable. Not one laugh. In fact, it’s stunning that anyone looked at this premiere episode and thought, “Yeah, that’s good enough.” One has to presume that future episodes are stronger and they just knew that the opening act was weak because there must have been reason for future success to keep people coming back to the set.
Beau Bridges plays Benjamin Goodwin, the patriarch of a family of three siblings who he tortured from a young age with competitions that are allegedly funny in sitcom TV but would actually be considered highly abusive in real life. He made his kids competitive nightmares and he’s got one last competition now that he’s passed away. Henry (Scott Foley), Chloe (Becki Newton), and Jimmy Goodwin (T.J. Miller) come to the reading of his will to discover that their pop held on to over $20 million and only one of them will get it all if they can follow the instructions. First game, play a round of Trivial Pursuit about their own family history and try not to fight. Nothing’s less funny than another family fighting over Trivial Pursuit.
The Goodwin Games
Photo credit: FOX
Foley may not be the first actor considered for a sitcom but he’s got that dry delivery that’s not unlike Jason Bateman, and we all know what a great fit he was for a little FOX dysfunctional comedy called “Arrested Development.” So while he’s given a cliched, paper-thin character — the OCD-esque doctor who considers winning more important than anything else — I don’t blame Foley. Miller’s comic style has never been one that worked for me. He’s too broad, but he might have fit in here as more of the Buster Bluth character, the permanent adolescent. Then there’s Becki Newton, who had a solid arc on “How I Met Your Mother” and could definitely still become a star. But it won’t be in this show.
It may seem cruel to get down on “The Goodwin Games” since it will likely be gone before you stumble upon this in a search for what future stars like Becki Newton did before they became famous, so I’ll be brief. FOX is barely advertising it, premiering it in an awful time of year, and already cut back the episode order. I’m 90% sure everyone involved has already moved on to bigger and better things. Like anything else. You should too.