Allow me a preface: there is only a handful of shows that I consider all-time favorites. ‘Friday Night Lights’ is one of them. I think ‘Necessary Roughness’ will be, once it has run its course. Because I believe writing compelling drama and humor without getting overly dramatic or downright comic is incredibly difficult. And ‘Necessary Roughness’ accomplishes that. With the plus of an incredibly well-picked cast (similarly to FNL here, but that and football are about the only two things the shows have in common). So it deserves a place amongst my all-time favorites.
All that to explain … I’m ridiculously excited right now. Because I just interviewed one of my Panthers! No, I haven’t gone Dr. Dolittle in the zoo. I mean the Dillon Panthers. Oh my, I just spoke with Smash — I mean, Gaius Charles! He has joined the cast of Necessary Roughness as Damon Razor, a new wide receiver for the Hawks that will compete for a place in the team — against none other than our favorite hyper flamboyant Hawks star: TK (played by the incredibly talented Mehcad Brooks). So we had a little chit-chat about how things are on, you know, the “I got money and fame” side of the TV football business.
Two of my favorite shows combined. Doesn’t get much better than that. What’s that I’m hearing? I didn’t mention the hotness? Don’t worry, we’ll get there. (You’re new here, huh?). Plus, when I say Gaius Charles and Mehcad Brooks it’s not like the hunchback of Notre Dame comes to mind now, is it?
In short, forgive me in advance, but I can barely contain my inner fangirl. Granted, I am a Tim Riggins woman first and foremost (yeah, yeah. Who isn’t. And hi there, Taylor Kitsch). But Smash and Street followed closely, so y’all will understand how I was this close to going all “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!” during the interview. Non-FNL fans, never mind.
And we are at our usual impasse: if you’re a spoiler nazi like Shonda Rhimes, beware, do not trespass this paragraph! (But you’ll miss out, BIG time!). There are SPOILERS AHEAD! And there’s a lot of great stuff about TK and Damon’s relationship and about what’s in store for Damon as the season progresses. You have been warned.
As I know you’re all more than impatient at this point, here are the answers to your (and most of all my) burning questions.
Alessandra: “As a big fan of ‘Friday Night Lights’, I can’t help but make comparisons between the sports-wise similar, but in other ways completely different situations you have as a character and as an actor on the two shows. While on FNL you played an unprivileged player of a High School team, here you’re projected into what was basically Smash’s dream… to be an NFL player. Doesn’t it feel a bit ironic that Damon is the opposite of Smash character-wise and thinks he’s not good enough for the situation? How did you as an actor feel about this, how did you face this challenge of putting on the shoes of a new character that — while being in the same environment — is so different from Smash?”
Gaius Charles: “That’s a good question. ‘Friday Night Lights’ was High School football. The world of Smash and ‘Friday Night Lights’ is a completely different and separate world from the world of Necessary Roughness and the world of Razor and the Hawks. Totally different show, totally different style, totally different genre, totally different shooting style. In a sense, I’ve had a fair amount of experience playing TV football, but I really saw it as a completely new character and a completely new story.
As an actor you’re always looking for ways to show a new side of them (characters), or a different kind of range of what they can do, and because I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to play Smash, this is like seeing another side of the coin. It helps me show how I can play the really big and confident character (note: that was Smash on FNL) but with the Hawks it’s a complicated character who’s trying to find himself. I think that it’s great […] because sports is a great platform to show how people respond to challenges, and so I was just really happy to play Damon and show another side to what I can do as an actor.”
We found out on Wednesday’s ‘Necessary Roughness’ episode that Damon Razor has a teeny weeny problem called “Imposter syndrome”. The ever kickass Dr. Dani is of course there exactly to solve the issue, and Damon has not only a syndrome to face, but mainly a competitor for his wide receiver spot to handle: the King of all that is over the top, TK. The dualism of the two characters is, of course, an aspect that will be explored in future episodes. And that will take TK and Damon’s relationship on an unexpected path.
Gaius Charles: “Mehcad Brooks (who plays TK) is wonderful. I mean, everybody is wonderful, but I actually thought it was really smart writing… in that: “Ok we have this larger-than-life wide receiver in Terrence King. Now let’s put him up against this very shy, humble, complicated character like Damon Razor and see what happens.” We’ve shot four episodes so far and you’re gonna catch a scene in which you see how Damon is affected by TK and his behavior, but also how TK is affected by Damon, the challenge of having to hold your own when there’s the new kid on the block. Mehcad made sure that I felt comfortable on set and felt at home like all the other cast members, and it’s been a pleasure to work with them.”
Alessandra: “You mentioned scenes between TK and Damon. I’m thinking about a specific one that takes place during a party at TK’s… (note for readers: hint hint, girls and food will be involved). Could you tell us a little bit more about how Damon will or won’t be “corrupted”, so to speak, by the “rich and famous” world he’s just entered and how he will cope with that?”
Gaius Charles: “That’s a great question. (Yes, he said it. No, I’m not bragging. I’m just quietly beaming with pride.) I think, while it’s easy to see the rivalry between these two wide receivers, what ends up happening is you get more of a friendship developing and almost a brotherhood. In a sense, that’s grounded in reality, because I’m entering this new fraternity that is the New York Hawks and TK is my guide, Damon’s guide. Damon has to learn how to deal with his past, but he’s also learning how to deal with his present from TK, and you see kind of a mentor/mentee relationship developing. And Damon has to decide whether the life that’s being presented by TK is the life he wants to live.
I think it [the scene at TK’s] was probably one of my favorite kind of moments in their interaction, because you do start to see the respect and the need that these two have for each other. I think also, somebody asked the PTSD question (note: relating to the fact TK is dealing with PTSD and how Damon behaves with him consequently) and I don’t know that, I’m just saying that sort of in my own experience, sometimes when you help somebody else — like TK is helping or mentoring or leading Damon — you benefit from that. So our relationship might also be kind of healing for TK… let me help you, and I’ll help myself in the process.”
And this makes me even more excited for future episodes, because people? The Smash and TK playing football for the same team on my screen. I am in TV heaven. Yeah, yeah, it’s Damon and TK. But even Mr. Charles himself has had trouble keeping Smash out of it!
Gaius Charles: “Having played Smash, and now looking at TK, there was a thing in my mind that made me say: “Ok, remember, you’re playing DAMON! Because Smash kinda wanted to come out!” (he laughs).
Oh I’m begging you. Puh-leeeze! Unleash the Smash! For me? The level of priceless a scene with TK and Smash would have is just too much for this TV world. Even better, include Mama Smash: “I’ll whip yo ass so hard, you won’t even have one left if you don’t start behavin’, Terrence King!” Oh, TK would SO need a high dose of Mama Smash! And I would, too. She is one of the most awesome mamas I ever saw on TV. She would own Dr. D. as well. She’s possibly the only one who could. (Other than the deliciously sexy and perfect Matty D., that is. Never forget how damn lucky you are, Dr. D.).
And that’s all, folks. I think I’ve reached the limit. Or passed it, even. That’s what a combination of TK and Smash will do to me. And not just in terms of character, if you catch my drift. Well I’m sorry, but I’m not blind. And I won’t pretend I don’t see the ridiculous amount of hotness here. With the current temperatures, possibly fatal. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you watch the next episode of ‘Necessary Roughness’ and find yourself in front of scantily-clad TK and Razor. Which, judging by the amount of gratuitous TK shirtlessness in Wednesday’s episode, is sure to happen.
I hear many of you are now making good use of those DVRs and re-watching, or catching up with ‘Necessary Roughness’? See, sometimes it’s all in giving the right lead. Get on it, people! I will make sure to keep you all updated on what matters. Till next time, lovelies! And don’t forget to check out an all-new ‘Necessary Roughness’ episode next Wednesday at 10 p.m. on USA Network!