Go On Interview: Tyler James Williams Discusses Owen’s Family Life

TV Equals was able to learn more about Go On‘s upcoming episode “Videogame, Set Match” from Tyler James Williams, who plays Owen on the show. During the conference call, Williams talked about how he approaches his character, geeking out about the episode’s guest star (Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh), and more.

Getting into character

Williams said he started with Owen’s silence when it came to constructing the character in his head.”You know, understanding why he is quiet. What goes on in his head. I think that was the biggest thing to tackle and that’s what I kind of went at first. Which is, he’s in this support group but he’s not speaking. And that’s kind of one of the big things that you have to do there. So that was my biggest kind of hint. And it was mainly because he doesn’t necessarily feel like he has something to say,” he said. “And he’s mildly entertained by these people who are kind of off center. But doesn’t feel like he’s really lost anything yet. And he’s kind of holding on to that shred of hope in a way, but doesn’t want his issues to become that big of a deal. It’s not that big of a deal in his house, you know, with his mom. And she’s always kind of telling him he needs to get over this and kind of go see his brother and he’s not ready to do any of that yet. So that was the biggest thing to really tackle. Especially in the pilot because it wasn’t really much to go off of. It was a mystery to everybody else but also kind of to me. So I had to, you know, make everything as specific as possible which was a really fun challenge to tackle.”

Williams said that the introduction of Owen’s mom in the upcoming episode helps create a rounder vision of Owen’s backstory. “…[N]ow with the introduction of the mom, Owen becomes much more well-rounded,” he said. “As the season goes on, as soon as I was able to latch onto that information, you know, he starts to smooth out the edges a bit.”

Owen’s silence in comedy

“It’s made me tackle comedy different,” said Williams when discussing how Owen’s quiet persona affects how he approaches the show’s comedy. “…[W]ith the character of Chris [from Everybody Hates Chris] it was more of these ridiculous things happening around him and him responding to all of those things. With this it’s more of how does Owen feel about these things that are happening. He’s got to sit next Mr. K [Brett Gelman] in a group session, how does he feel about that? You know, is he uncomfortable. Does he understand Mr. K is kind of harmless but just really weird. Is this, all these other things that has to be thought about. So it makes me think less about the comedy and more about the character.”

Owen gets rejected

In the upcoming episode, Owen gets rejected by a girl and the sting hits him very hard. Williams talked about how he got into the headspace to accurately (and painfully) project Owen’s slight depression.

“Well, you know, first off every guy has been rejected in some way. I don’t care who you are. So, you know, it’s finding, you know, how to incorporate that feeling with what else is going on in his life,” he said. “You know, I feel like at that point in the story it was a pretty high point for Owen. And, you know, he was optimistic about something again. Which, you know, we haven’t seen happen with him really in a very long time. So it kind of brings him back down to where he was before, and therefore requires the help of Matthew [Perry]’s character [Ryan King]. So I had to kind of let him peak a bit and then come right back down. To this, you know, depression that he’s been kind of going through. This silent depression.”

Acting alongside Chris Bosh

The Miami Heat are Williams’ favorite basketball team, so how did Williams react to meeting Bosh?

“I fanned out, I really did. I had a big kind of fan girl moment, you know, it happens in the show and it’s funny how that kind of came about,” he said. “…I actually told Matthew I was like, ‘I’m a huge Heat fan and I’m kind of losing it right now.’ And he thought it was kind of funny and then took it over to [executive producer] Scott Silveri and was like, ‘Is there a joke in here?’ and that’s how that whole me staring at Chris Bosh not being able to speak joke came about because it was kind of happening in real life.” As for the future of the Heat this season, Williams thinks they’re in a good spot. “I think he’s playing great ball right now, the Heat are in great shape, I’m excited.”

The new episode of Go On, “Videogame, Set, Match” airs Tuesday at 9/8c on NBC.