Hands up who’s seen Walton Goggins (The Shield, Justified) play a nice guy? No one. Literally no one. Well, hang onto to your hearts, evil Goggins fans, the man known for playing gun-toting, borderline psychotic cops, criminals and members of clergy now stars in The Unicorn as Wade - a really nice middle-aged dad. Yep, stay with us.
A year after his wife’s death, Wade’s friends think he should start dating again. The way people date these days. Online. That’s the premise of the show. Sit with that.
Death – rightly or wrongly – tends to make people feel uncomfortable. So, when someone says, "wife died a year ago – time to start dating again” and calls it comedy, you could be forgiven for not knowing how to feel about it. But The Unicorn has more magic than that.
Wade is a loving, hands-on dad who works hard, who was faithful and committed to his wife for twenty years, and who’s put his own mourning on hold to support his daughters. He’s a unicorn. A rare kind of man. (A myth some cynics might say).
While he and the girls are functioning, it’s in a kind of organised chaos. They’ve been living off post-death frozen condolence meals and the dogs now laze about on the kitchen benches, but, you know, as Wade’s daughter Natalie points out – “They’ll get down when they need to pee.”
The point is, Wade’s doing a bang-up job of keeping it all going. Until the last frozen meal is chiselled from the ice and it hits home that their former life is truly over.
It’s time now, his friends (played by great comedy actors Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins and Omar Benson Miller) believe, to get out of the house and start living again, which means dating. And barely a second after the profile has been published, Wade’s phone beeps wildly because – unicorn.
So off he trots, dating a new woman every episode, having lots of sympathy sex that ultimately leaves him cold, empty and sad, while spending his down time with two daughters that he finds completely mind-boggling. JOKES. This is NOT how it goes. Wade doesn’t want to be defined by his tragedy, he doesn’t want sympathy dates, and he doesn’t want to commence dating and shagging a railroad of eligible bachelorettes.
Instead, he goes on a journey to re-learn who he is, what he wants, how dating in an online world works, process his grief, help his daughters process theirs, try be a good single parent and build a new kind of normal for the family.
And this family is a modern one. It’s a group of friends who are so intimately involved in each other’s lives, they’re all muddling through the effects of Wade’s wife’s death together, as a unit. School drop offs, BBQs and dinners, reality TV watching, making sure Wade’s new partner – if one comes along – is going to be the right woman for all of them.
These are the kind of friends that have each other’s passwords, know where the spare keys are kept, and communicate using brutal home truths. Blood may be thicker than water, but that doesn’t necessarily mean blood bonds are better than water-based families.
The Unicorn premieres 7.30 Wednesday 20 November on 10 and 10 play