TBS’ new comedy Ground Floor primarily takes place within the walls of a typical office building, but on the day Entertainment Weekly visited the set, star Skyler Astin had swapped his suit and tie for some gear fit for a day at a baseball game. In the episode, which will air in a few weeks, his character, Brody, takes new girlfriend Jenny (Briga Heelan) out to the ball game, where they clash over more than just their opposing team loyalties.
“Brody is a fan of the Giants and being in the luxury suite at all the games, and I got us really, really terrible tickets,” explains Heelan. “So we’re sort of at odds.”
It’s the latest riff in an ongoing (humor-injected) struggle between the two characters who come from two very different worlds — he’s a rising star in the business world and she’s a maintenance worker who spends her days on the ground floor, natch, of the building in which Brody works.
In the middle of it all is John C. McGinley’s Mansfield, Brody’s intimidating boss-turned-mentor. “The only reason I wanted to do it was because this character was so different than Dr. Cox on Scrubs,” says McGinley, who worked with Ground Floor creator Bill Lawrence on the medical comedy for eight seasons. “The big difference is Dr. Cox was a reluctant mentor and Mansfield embraces that and relishes being the mentor and father-figure of Skylar Astin’s character.”
One thing we likely won’t see Mansfield so willing to do, however? Sing, which is something Pitch Perfect alum Astin is (unsurprisingly) often seen doing. “I wanted to be careful because I think we could get into trouble with having me singing too much because it’s an easy thing to do,” says Astin. “But when I figured out the devices they were using, the ways to have me sing and the way Brody sings differently from other characters I’ve played, I think it’s clever. Story and comedy always comes first.”
In the baseball episode, for example, “There’s a little bit of singing, a little ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game,’” Astin previews, “and a little other singing you’ll see,” which may or may not take place on a toilet. If that’s not a tease enough, this season, Astin’s Pitch Perfect co-star Anna Camp will guest star as a Brody’s ex girlfriend. “I love going head-to-head with her,” he says. “She’s a powerful, strong actress, comedian, singer, and everything. It was like having my best friend on set.”
Overall, says Astin, the show, premiering tonight, “kind of has a Spin City feel to it.” “It has a style and an attitude, and that’s what I love about it,” he says.
More from the set below.