CBS's new comedy Worst Week offers weekly tragedies for poor Sam Briggs, and weekly comedies for viewers. Sam means well, but finds himself in many Murphy's Law (whatever can go wrong will go wrong) circumstances. In the premiere, he helps a drunk girl get home safely even after she vomits on his clothes. But when he tries to clean up at her place, she awakens from her stupor and kicks him out… naked. Guess he should have asked her permission before showering off. All he can find to cover himself is a plastic bag twisted into a diaper.
Okay, so maybe some bad decision-making is part of Sam's problem. "We talk about how we're going to maintain it," said star Kyle Bornheimer. "I mean, I don't ever stop messing up. Life's folly keeps happening to me. I might reach a conclusion at the end of a bad week and I learned something there and then I start a fire. So it's like kind of life's folly. It's like make a plan and watch the universe laugh at you. I think that's sort of Sam's life in a nutshell."
"I love it," he said. "It's fun to go into work, to figure out the mechanics of that and how to make each moment funny. I mean, we had the most bizarre conversations about 'How much urine is funny?' And 'Is a blue diaper funnier than a green diaper?' Just that kind of weird, creative bubble that you step into where that's your decision-making process for 12 hours a day is to me really fun."
That urine incident involves Sam accidentally peeing into an entrée dish. When it spills later, his father-in-law slips in it and gets a concussion. "I mean, I have a kind of a goofy smile on my face whenever I'm working with these people because it's just kind of a gleeful experience," Bornheimer continued. "To know that you're going to be able to do this physical stuff and each time come up with something new, a new reaction and all based on reality."
Many episodes will focus on Sam's foibles with the in-laws, but there are just as many opportunities for disaster at work. "I would imagine every relationship that Sam has with everyone that he comes across presents a new problem, whether it's to impress a really strict father or to get on the good side of a really sweet mother. Even just hanging out with a buddy, I think Sam can mess that up somehow. I mean, all my relationships in my life are tense and stressful, and I seem to mess them up."
Sometimes Bornheimer contributes his own ideas to Sam's screw-ups. "When you get into that kind of physical stuff too, it's once you're presented with a pot of urine, the possibilities, or the 'pissabilities' are endless. That's when it gets really fun like batting back and forth, 'Well, what if I did this, and what if…' and something will happen in the scene that you weren't expecting because there's so much physicality going on and people are moving in different directions that no two takes are alike anyway."
"Couples relate to each other so differently given the circumstances. I kind of tune out on shows and movies too where it's like the guy messes up and then there's a typical argument about it, like 'Why did you do this?' My wife and I, sometimes she'll surprise me and be like, 'I know. I would have done that too.' You screw with each other and sometimes, she's going to be on his side and a team member. They're almost like a comedy duo. They're getting into trouble together."
In real life Bornheimer is happily married and a new father. He was expecting his first child while doing press for Worst Week over the summer.
"The due date is actually August 1st. It's the day we start shooting. We wanted to pick a really inconvenient time. We decided the day we start shooting would be a little more interesting for the rest of the cast."
Seriously, balancing work and family could give Bornheimer a real life Worst Week. "I don't plan on having any grace or harmony whatsoever in pulling any of this off, which will feed the show some humor, I guess."
Worst Week airs Mondays this fall at 9:30 on CBS.