A Few Minutes With... John Gammon of ABC's 'The Middle'
ABC's The Middle has won over audiences with the Heck family's middle-class, Midwestern slice of life. Surrounding the Hecks in their fictional home of Orson, Indiana are plenty of other folks who are allegedly average yet just a bit quirky. I recently caught up with John Gammon, who plays Axl Heck's teammate and friend Darrin, to ask him about what he'd like to see for his recurring role and what else may be in his future.
"I like the show so much that whatever I'm doing, if they give me a call, I'm going to drop it," said Gammon, who told me he doesn't yet know how many episodes of season four that he'll appear in, but who doesn't mind whatsoever. "I love playing the role," he continued. "I've always loved making people laugh, whether it's by making jokes or being the butt of a joke. I've always felt like it's totally worth it. I like to learn more about myself and help others learn more about themselves."
While he's so far in the dark as to what might happen with Darrin this season, he has some ideas for what he'd like to find in an upcoming script. "I like relationships a lot," he continued. "If they were to bring someone on who might be my new enemy, that might be a kind of fun thing to do, like a friendly rivalry. I would love to see something like that."
Darrin is not the brightest bulb in the proverbial chandelier, but Gammon doesn't think that means the character is necessarily looked down upon. "You still want to be his friend and I like that about him," he said.
The role of a less-than-genius athlete is also a departure for him personally, which he appreciates. "I love playing the role," he explained. "I'm not that way, of course, in person, but it's nice to go from Point A to Point B with this very different character. I really like the difference that there is with the character and being able to sort of enjoy it as an inside joke with the people that I work with. I really love seeing the people that I work with."
He also doesn't mind seeing himself on the small screen. "I love to watch myself. I really do," he added. "It's like one out of a hundred times that I won't want to see myself. I really like to see what I did. A lot of times I like to watch and see what I could've done better, [and] I like to enjoy what I did well."
As for what else and who he watches, "I'm a big fan of basically anything that's on HBO or Showtime. I absolutely love Eastbound and Down. Andrew Garfield was really, really good in The Social Network; Jesse Eisenberg was fantastic in that too. Tom Hardy's just fantastic."
When he's not on The Middle, Gammon would love to do some work totally different from the sitcom: drama on the stage. "I would like to do a very good play next. Something that's very serious," he said. "I know that Andrew Garfield [did] Death of a Salesman on Broadway and I absolutely love that. If something could come along in a few years of that kind of caliber.
"My favorite medium is still film but I don't think there's anything like the challenge of theater. There's no second take. You have one shot and it's a live audience and there's nothing like the energy."
What captures his attention when he's looking for a next role? "Always something different and something meaty," he said. "It might not be even that big. If I have this kind of feeling that it will be memorable, that's something I go for every time."
The Middle starts season four tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on ABC.