Goodbye, The Goodwin Games…. We hardly knew ye

Photo via flickr user TheeErin.

Have you heard of this show, The Goodwin Games? It’s currently on the air, having come on as a mid-season replacement on FOX. But, apparently, its finale will air next month.

Too bad. Okay, I’ve only watched one episode (“Hamletta”), having just stumbled upon the show the other day. I’m not saying The Goodwin Games is brilliant — how could I, especially after just one episode? But it does seem to be, at least, *good.* Sometimes, that’s refreshing in itself. Also refreshing: the main characters — one sister and two brothers, previously estranged but reunited after their father’s death — all seem to share positive values. They’re multidimensional. They love each other and say so. And: one of the Goodwin brothers, Jimmy, is a Buddhist.

Yes, this character is fond of quoting the Buddha, make no mistake about it. In fact, when I first stumbled upon the show, I only caught a sliver of the middle of it, but there was Jimmy saying, in response to his brother’s threat to dispatch an unusual creature found in their house, “No, Henry, I won’t let you hurt it. In prison I learned the way of the Buddha. And in Buddhist morality, the first precept is, ‘Never harm, kill, roughly pet, or squish any other living thing.’” (…Not an actual quote, of course, but Jimmy definitely grasps the idea.)

Then, when I watched the episode from the beginning, there was Jimmy again, with more Buddha talk. Cool, I thought — but let’s hope they don’t turn this guy into a cartoon.

Thankfully, they don’t seem to have. As I learned as the show went on, Jimmy Goodwin is an ex-prisoner who, during his time in prison, read “48 books about Buddhism” and “almost 1200″ books in all. So Jimmy’s making all these references to the dharma mostly just because he’s taken it to heart. It’s not mere zealotry. (Though there’s a maybe little of that in there, too, which is perhaps only fair.) Played by the very enjoyable standup comic and actor T.J. Miller, Jimmy has humanity and a gentle silliness. (Miller’s role was played by another actor in the show’s pilot.)

So, to sum up: A super-positive (but not cloying) portrayal of a dharma-practicing ex-prisoner? Sounds refreshing to me.

I look forward to checking out the reruns and seeing how it all holds up. If you’ve seen the show and would like to weigh in, please do in the comments. More, including full episodes — streaming in the US only, sorry — can be found here.

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