Jimmy Tatro knows that playing a dad isn’t exactly an expected move for him. At 29, he’s best known for his frat-tastic YouTube channel and for playing “bro”-y characters in movies and on TV. (To see: adults 2, 22 Jump Street, and american vandal for a few salient examples.) But on Domestical economy, ABC’s delicious new family comedy, the YouTuber and american vandal The actor took to fatherhood like a fish to water or, perhaps more aptly, like a middle-aged man in New Balance sneakers.
“A lot of people my age would be worried about getting old playing a dad,” Tatro told The Daily Beast in a recent interview. “But I think I played with high school and college guys so much that I really liked the idea. And I just thought it was a good different look.
Domestical economy follows three siblings, each living in a different income bracket. Topher Grace plays older brother Tom Hayworth, whom the show describes as middle class. (Although for the record, given the size and location of his home in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tom’s family in less upper middle class, if not upper class.) Caitlin McGee plays older brother, Sarah, who struggles financially, including due to a recent job loss. Tatro’s character, little brother Connor, owns a private equity firm, putting him firmly in “the one percenter”.
On paper, Connor reads as nothing short of obnoxious. He made his money investing in a weird friend’s wacky invention. He constantly brags about buying Matt Damon’s mansion and asks his daughter’s nanny to put whipped cream smileys on his pancakes in the morning. Like so many Tatro characters, he’d be easy to hate if the actor who played him didn’t lean so convincingly on his goodness.
It’s something Tatro has done before, including on american vandalwho plays his exhausted character Dylan Maxwell for laughs in the early episodes before slowly peeling back the layers until viewers just felt bad for him.
“These characters are someone you would see or read on paper and think, you know, ‘silly,’ ‘dick,’ ‘douchebag,'” Tatro said. “And then I just like trying to prove your snap judgment wrong.”
This strategy comes directly from Tatro’s personal experience. From the way he looks and the sound of his voice, the actor said, people tend to assume he’s an asshole himself.
“When I’m talking on the phone sometimes…and I’m like, ‘Hi,’ people are like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on? What did I do?!’ Tatro said. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, no, that’s just how I talk… That’s just my voice.'”
Tatro grew up in Venice, where he started making and posting skate videos. Eventually, these turned into comedy videos and then into full-fledged comedy sketches. In college, when Tatro was looking for a way to make money, he discovered the paydays that some YouTubers had taken home and decided to go full steam ahead.
Tatro is the first to admit that his “brother” image is partly his doing. Between playing a fratty character on his YouTube channel, LifeAccordingToJimmy, and creating the parody series The Real Brothers of Simi Valley, Tatro has showcased his most rowdy qualities on several occasions. He’s even faced awkward run-ins at times with fans mistaking his character for his real personality. (“They’re trying to give me a chance, and I’m like, ‘I’m just trying to have lunch.'”)
“I think like everyone else, I’m constantly trying to prove that I’m more than what you see,” Tatro said.
Domestical economy makes full use of that reputation, initially casting Connor as a two-dimensional jerk before revealing that he and his wife, Emily, are going their separate ways – leaving Connor a single parent to their daughter, Gretchen, as he and his ex find out what’s going on. he calls “police custody.”
As Connor worries about his daughter and, at times, overcompensates to make up for their stressful home situation, it’s hard to feel anything but love for him. (Although that said, some of his tantrums are quite funny, especially the one that occurs during kids’ karaoke.) Above all else, Tatro’s deep understanding of not only his character, but also the assumptions we’ll make about him, shines through as he subverts them one by one.
“I think like everyone else, I’m constantly trying to prove that I’m more than what you see.”
Speaking of Gretchen, working with child actors has actually become one of Tatro’s favorite aspects of working on Domestical economy. Shiloh Bearman, who plays Gretchen, has already made a particularly strong impression on her on-screen dad. He recalls an occasion when she asked, “Have you seen the original Wizard of Oz? The one with Judy Garland?
“I didn’t even know her name was Judy Garland,” Tatro said, before adding, after a long pause that seemed almost perfectly timed, “…don’t put that in there.”
And although Topher Grace is playing the show’s designated wet cover, Tatro has apparently already started acting like a bit of “daddy” on set.
“It’s really fun to have kids around,” he said. “I like to say, when there’s one, there’s one, but if there’s two, there’s six. And if there’s three, there’s, like, nine. They multiply exponentially.
Tatro swears he hasn’t become the guy who begs kids to use their “inner voice” yet – but that’s largely because he’s already the guy who scolds them for eating Fruit Gushers. breakfast. “I’ll see them eating Gushers or, like, candy at 10:00, and I’m like, ‘What are you doing?! “”, Did he declare.
At this rate, a plea for “inner voices” can’t be that far off.