‘Ordinary Joe’ Star Charlie Barnett on Eric’s Thanksgiving Day Revelations

Ordinary Joe Season 1 Charlie Barnett
Spoiler Alert
Matt Miller/NBC

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 1, Episode 9 of Ordinary Joe, “Thankful.”]

Ordinary Joe‘s three worlds are celebrating what they’re most thankful for in the latest episode (and the last for the year), “Thankful.”

Among the most thankful is Charlie Barnett‘s Eric, who, in the music world, faces bumps in the road with buddy Joe (James Wolk) and revelatory moments with boyfriend Sai (Rushi Kota). Meanwhile, Eric and Amy’s (Natalie Martinez) adoption process became a little more real as they sit around the Thanksgiving Day table in the nurse world.

Below, Barnett opens up about Eric’s biggest moments from the pivotal episode, reveals his own personal connection with one of the storylines, and much more.

Ordinary Joe Season 1 Rushi Kota and charlie Barnett

(Credit: Eliza Morse/NBC)

Joe is upset when he learns that Eric knew about Amy’s one-night stand with Bobby. Will that little rift become a bigger problem?

Charlie Barnett: Ultimately, it’s a huge bump in their relationship, and I feel like Joe sees it as picking sides. This is probably the only world where Eric and Joe are not as tight as any of the others. His outlet into the relationship with Joe and the continuation of it is mostly through Amy and his work. So it’s a complicated situation. I think in that world as well, you realize that his relationship with Amy is just as strong [as it is with Joe]. The history is not there, but their friendship is as deep.

Ultimately, Joe and Eric are able to move past it, but those things, you remember and you carry it with you. I think you’re able to patch things up, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t look at the person in a different way or don’t have to take the time to rebuild that trust in a different manner, which is important, especially in this friendship.

Ordinary Joe Season 1 cast

(Credit: Matt Miller/NBC)

Sai opens up to Eric about being HIV positive. Is this detail meant to shine a light on the real individuals living with HIV or will there be a more central storyline revolving around Sai’s diagnosis?

I think both. I’m really happy to see it there because it humanizes him and it humanizes our characters. It brings into the fold something that maybe not many people face in their life from family or friends. I know I have very close friends [who have dealt with it]. But for me, it just brings into the fold, the experience that people are living through. And it needs to be reflected not only in a queer environment but in every environment.

It’s worked into the world and it is a big pinnacle, but it’s also nothing at least for Eric and Sai. It’s an opportunity to see them get closer, to see their bond develop more. It has nothing to do with AIDS or HIV, it’s more about the two of them being able to share it with each other, which is so important.

Ordinary Joe Season 1 Natalie Martinez and Charlie Barnett

(Credit: Eliza Morse/NBC)

Amy’s campaign is hitting some bumps after Bobby’s widow decided to run for his seat. How will that cause challenges for Eric?

Yeah. I’m really interested to see where it goes. The woman who’s playing Regina (Christine Adams) is an incredible actress and she’s a lot of fun to work with. So, personally, I want to see more from her as well. I have to admit, I don’t know too much on the political side of where this will go and how much of an uproar it creates for the work element within their campaign, but I do know that it only gets more and more complicated.

In Nurse Joe’s timeline, Eric and Amy announced their plans to adopt a baby. What can you tease about where that storyline will take viewers?

I’m so thrilled to see that storyline being developed. Personally, I was adopted. So for me, it’s a huge connection. We get to see that road build and build and build. I will say, it’s network television so there’s a little bit of expediency to it, but I’m thrilled to see it being championed and talked about. Within our adoption, it is a mixed-race adoption too. I am mixed, which is something that to me was very personal as well. So I’m really thrilled to see that coming to network television, but just also to be working on it in the show.

On a personal level, which of the three thanksgiving meals would you like to attend for real?

The nurse world environment. It’s not because I like the situation more, but it just felt like an easier day. Sad to say that Jenny doesn’t get to be there because she’s in Atlanta working on her dream and we’re all happy to see that of course. I really like Elizabeth [Lail] and I just really wanted to have a scene with her. So I missed that. But that world is laid back. Eric has a lot more power in the relationship he has with Joe in that environment, and Amy is such a pinnacle part of his life, the adoption being a part of it.

The s**t going on in the music world scares me. And then in cop world… we ate too much. The woman who cooks all of our food on the show… it’s the best food that I’ve had in months. She’s amazing. But we got really full on the cop world.

Well, that sounds pretty on-brand for that world, considering Eric’s a cook in the cop world.

Yeah. I did not make a Thanksgiving Day pizza, which I don’t know why that wasn’t put in the script. I should have pushed harder for it [Laughs].

Ordinary Joe, Returns Monday, January 3, 10/9c, NBC