‘Ghosts’: Brandon Scott Jones on Hopes for Isaac-Jay Friendship, ‘Evil’ Crossover
On the hit CBS comedy Ghosts, we’ve seen Revolutionary War soldier Isaac (Brandon Scott Jones) share unexpectedly tender moments with Gilded Age socialite Hetty (Rebecca Wisocky), Viking Thorfinn (Devan Chandler Long), and, of course, the living lady of Woodstone Mansion, Samantha (Rose McIver). But while chatting with TV Guide Magazine for the cover story in this year’s Halloween issue, Jones revealed there’s someone else in the house who he believes intensely private Isaac has opened up to even more: Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar)!
“I’ve always had this image in my brain that Jay is his silent sounding board,” the actor says. “I imagine that, if Jay is alone and Isaac has to talk about something, he’ll go stand and talk to Jay because he knows Jay can’t hear him.”
Isaac will definitely have a lot to vent about in the October 27 Halloween episode. To make friends with the neighbors, Jay insists on hosting a last-minute party. Isaac invites his Redcoat beau, Nigel (John Hartman). “It sort of has the energy of the first big date or bringing your new partner to a family function,” Jones says. “And usually in that situation, a part of you is revealed that you don’t want to have revealed, and that’s exactly what happens to Isaac.”
He is, of course, referring to Isaac’s ghost power — emitting the stench of the dysentery that killed him anytime a human walks through him. “I think that’s a really good example of the way the show takes something so supernatural and wacky and grounds it,” he adds. “Because, not to go too deep, but I’ve been with [certain] people before and the concept of farting in front of them is terrifying! That this proud, proud man who believes himself such an important figure in history has the burden of smelling like fart is hilarious.”
Here, Jones shares some more insights.
At the Halloween party, we’ll see that Isaac still has a hard time labeling his relationship with Nigel, declining both suggestions from Sasappis (Román Zaragoza): “boyfriends” or “murderer and victim.” How would you describe it at this point?
Brandon Scott Jones: It’s been 250 years, at least, that Isaac hasn’t been able to express himself. So, to go fully into what would seem like a traditional relationship of any kind could, I imagine, feel so foreign to him. But I think that they’re in that official dating phase of you’ve known somebody for a while, and now you guys have decided to take it to this next level, but you don’t want to threaten it at all. Isaac’s probably moving a lot slower than Nigel. Isaac’s the one who’s like, “Let’s not label it. Let’s not look at it, because if we look at it, it might change.” You know what I mean?
I think one of the lovely things about the way that storyline is unfolding is how it’s brought Isaac closer to some of the other ghosts, like when he first told Hetty about his feelings in Season 1, and when he admitted how much he values Thor’s friendship in the Season 2 premiere.
Yeah. The idea that these are people that you’re stuck with, like essentially this eternal found family, is really interesting. When you can’t hold or touch anything, and you can only interact with each other, your relationships feel like the thing that you want to understand the most. It’s been really nice to discover new aspects — the idea that he had no idea that Thor meant so much to him over these years. It’s something that really comes up, too, when you introduce a new person into the group. That dynamic’s gonna change. And again, it goes back to what are you willing to allow to evolve and what do you want to preserve, and why?
The Season 1 finale scene when the ghosts all told Sam what she means to them was so beautiful. How do you feel their relationship has evolved?
At the end of the day, these ghosts are kind of insane, right? Like, they’ve been trapped in this house for so long, and now there’s this person who can actually see them and affect the world around them. So, in the very beginning, there’s always this, how can we use this to our advantage? But just like any time you spend this amount of months with somebody, you start to develop an affection for them. In Sam, I think Isaac sees somebody who’s noble and trying to do things, and is actually probably taking a little bit more action in her own life than he was ever able to.
The show premiered in early October 2021. Was it too soon for you to be sent pictures of folks dressed like Isaac for Halloween?
You know, the narcissist actor in me was like, “Oh, they’re probably dressing up as Isaac” any time I saw somebody dressing up as a character from Hamilton. [Laughs]
Which is so fitting.
Yeah, exactly. Because the best part about his costume is that it really is only Isaac if it is in conjunction with other ghosts. Otherwise, it’s just a Revolutionary War soldier. So, I didn’t see any last year, but it would be really, really, really cool to see a bunch of characters this year. It would be perfect for offices. Like, you have a little office Ghosts costume contest. There’s enough of us!
This is the show’s second Halloween episode, so it’s officially a tradition. What’s your dream Halloween episode for Season 3?
My dream Halloween episode is that there’s a ghost in the house that we don’t know, and it is actually genuinely scary — the idea that we could be getting spooked by something that like. Because the fun thing about these ghosts is that it’s so not scary, it’s very mundane, and that’s where a lot of the comedy comes from. But to see an episode really lean into an element of horror could be really, really cool. Where there’s something that’s happened, and the ghosts are trying to figure out, was it one of the cholera people? Was it the girl in the attic? Was it one of the people on the grounds?
You have writing credits (The Other Two, Senior Year). Maybe you should write that episode?
Oh my God! Just almost like its Ghosts‘ episode of Evil. Or like an Evil–Ghosts crossover. That’d be really cool, too. I love that show.
Ghosts, Thursdays, 8:30/7:30c, CBS