Ever since his starring role as Shane Vendrell on the hit police drama “The Shield” I’ve been a big fan of Walton Goggins. Like the rest of the strike team in that series he was a tough hard-nosed detective who had no qualms about breaking the rules to get the bad guys and making a little money on the side. Staying true to his tough guy image he followed that up by playing Boyd Crowder in “Justified“. Another memorable role. Along the way he then proved his versatility by playing the transgendered prostitute Venus Van Dam in six episodes of “Sons of Anarchy” proving that he could play a comedic role with a touch of pathos thrown in. A truly memorable performance all around. Going back to his roots as a tough guy he did 11 episodes of military drama “Six” playing Navy seal Rip Taggart. He is also recently appeared in “Deep State” and “The Righteous Gemstones“. When I heard he was going to do a sitcom at first it seemed to me he would be out of place since he always plays such bad ass characters. But remembering his comic chops playing the transgendered prostitute gave me hope that he can master a full-fledged comedy.
Much to my delight, my hopes were fulfilled in the new CBS sitcom “The Unicorn“. Here he plays Wade Felton, a widower who is trying to raise 2 teenage daughters on his own. As the series opens it has been a year since he lost his wife. The family has been eating frozen casseroles that people made for them when his wife died. He has a sort of a meltdown when he takes the last casserole out of their freezer. Meanwhile his friends are trying to get him to go out in the world and start dating again.
Through various scenes we see that he has dealt with his grief by being highly involved in his daughter’s lives. He is fluent in videogame jargon in a way most parents would not be. His daughter Grace is played by Ruby Jay most known for playing the title role in the Hulu children’s series Holly Hobbie. The other daughter Natalie is played by McKenzie Moss who is most known for voice work on the “Pup Star” films.
Wade is accompanied by 2 couples who are his best friends Forest played by Rob Corddry and his wife Delia played by Michaela Watkins. Also his friend Ben played by Omar Benson Miller and his wife Michelle played by Maya Lynne Robinson. Corddry is a comedic character actor recently seen in Ballers and voice work on a variety of animated shows. Watkins is most known for being on the 2008-2009 season of SNL. Miller was also in Ballers but is most known for 63 episodes of CSI: Miami. Robinson appeared in last year’s episodes of “The Conners” as DJs wife Geena who spends much of the show away in the military.
After going through a sort of sitcom cliché scene as his friends help him fill out an online dating profile, he soon discovers he’s quite a catch. He’s available but not divorced or not some sleazy guy who has been sleeping around. He is what all single women have been looking for. An elusive creature like a unicorn. He can’t believe the number of women ready to throw themselves at him. He finally goes on a first date which of course is a disaster. In the end the woman is ready to take him back to her house for a night of passion but he realizes its pity sex because he’s a widower. He just isn’t ready for this.
The characters are all likable. The situations are not overly contrived although having contrived situations is a staple of most sitcoms. Goggins proves he can pull off comedy. The show has a lot of heart. The kids are funny without being pretentious. His friends are a little bit shallow but I presume in future episodes we will get to know them better.
My ultimate test of a sitcom is did it make me laugh? In several places it did. Although not a kind of must-see sitcom like “The Big Bang Theory” or “Seinfeld“, it is an enjoyable show. I’m not sure I’ve got room for it in my already overcrowded viewing schedule. So I’m giving it a rating of “Recommended Watchable” which means I like it but I may not end up adding it to my regular schedule. But I can recommend you check it out and see if it tickled your funnybone.