James Wolk Teases ‘Ordinary Joe’ Is About How Choices Shape Your Life
In every episode of the ultimate “what if?” series, Ordinary Joe, we’ll watch earnest Joe Kimbreau (Watchmen’s James Wolk) live out the three paths he could’ve chosen when he graduated college: What would’ve happened if he’d become a nurse, a cop or a rock star?
Ten years later, “The guy who’s Bono-famous and has a charcuterie platter waiting for him is going to be different from the guy who’s working a 10-hour shift and then gets a beer at the corner bar,” says Wolk. “It’s fun to play with those ideas but yet know that [these Joes] have the same spirit and heart. One’s not going to be a total a**hole if one’s nice. You’re only going to be more a**hole-ish.”
Parallels abound: Cop Joe croons love songs at a bar, and nurse Joe plays covers with his 9-year-old son. Cop Joe stops a shooter, and nurse Joe tries to save that same shooter’s victim.
Even their love lives have some overlap. Nurse Joe is in a shaky marriage with college best friend Jenny (Elizabeth Lail). Rocker Joe faces a personal loss with wife Amy (Natalie Martinez) — whom he meets on that fateful graduation day — and single cop Joe sparks with Amy when they cross paths again later.
“The writers’ intention is to make it hard for the audience to choose,” says Wolk. “One life isn’t better; they each have challenges. It’s more about how choices shape him versus how he went in the wrong direction.”
Ordinary Joe, Series Premiere, Monday, September 20, 10/9c, NBC
This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s 2021 Fall Preview issue. For more inside scoop on the new fall TV season, pick up the issue, on newsstands Thursday, August 26.