Jack McBrayer previews Dr Goodwin’s return to THE MIDDLE

JACK MCBRAYER, PATRICIA HEATONOn tonight’s all new episode of THE MIDDLE, Frankie gets mistaken for a doctor while running errands in her lab coat, and finds herself receiving special treatment.  More time at work means a return visit from Frankie’s new boss, Dr Goodwin, played, hilariously, by familiar-face Jack McBrayer.

I spent some time chatting with Jack about tonight’s episode, what comes next for Dr Goodwin, what comes next for Jack, and what he’s spending time watching when he gets some free time!

I’m excited to see you come back to THE MIDDLE!
Oh me too!

What brings Dr Goodwin back for this episode?
Well, it ends up that Frankie did get hired in Dr Goodwin’s office, and he definitely depends on her a little bit.  He’s essentially and overgrown child and her mothering skills seem to help him succeed in the office.  And we see what problems Frankie brings into the office [laughs].

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PATRICIA HEATON, JACK MCBRAYER, BRENT WEINBACHHad you known Patricia Heaton before you were a part of the show?  How did you come to be involved?
We had met at you know, our little fancy-shmancy tuxedo parties that we have to go to in Hollywood.  I had worked with Neil Flynn, who plays Mike her husband.  We go back to Second City days, and that’s why I even started watching THE MIDDLE in the first place, and then once I started watching it, I was like, “well, this I get.  This is very much Jack McBrayer’s life!”

That’s what is so great about THE MIDDLE – no matter what everyone is doing now, everybody has this family dynamic, how they grew up.
It’s true.  It’s absolutely true.  There are so many aspects of the show that are so recognizable.  I mean, even like, three kids, and very tired parents.  There is a lot for me to latch onto.  Also, not to bring it 30 ROCK, or anything, but for the past 7 years, I’ve been working on a show that is very New York-centric.  I’m not from NY, so being able to even just guest on THE MIDDLE, it was like “oh yes, this I know.”

JACK MCBRAYER, PATRICIA HEATONDr Goodwin is a character that has potential to keep recurring – has there been continued discussion about whether you will be sticking around off and on in the next season?
Well, no.  I learned very early on – don’t expect anything!  If Dr Goodwin comes back around, well then hell yes, be there in a heartbeat!  I learned very early to be happy with what you got!

You mention the show being very much Jack McBrayer’s life – what is it about THE MIDDLE that everyone will enjoy?
It’s very relatable.  People can latch onto it.  I know people throw that word around quite a bit, but at least from my point of few, it’s not about glamorous high school children walking around the streets of New York City or anything.  It’s what a lot of America goes through every single day.  I think it’s done well, and it’s done with heart, and it’s an enjoyable program.

BRENT WEINBACH, PATRICIA HEATON, JACK MCBRAYERYou mention 30 ROCK – congrats on the success of that show for so long!  Coming off of 7 seasons, are you looking to come back to TV with a weekly series?
I do love television!!  Also, I’m still in a place where I just want to work.  This is a cliché, but I just want to work on fun projects with fun people.  I’ve been very, very lucky that I’ve been able to do that for 7 years.

When you get a minute to watch TV, what other shows are you watching?
I do like my comedies!  I watch the NBC comedies, the ABC comedies.  There is some fun stuff on Comedy Central that I did not expect to enjoy, but I really am.  Also, sometimes, the more TV you watch, the more you show your age, it’s like “oh boy….me and ma’prank shows are over.”  I enjoy the single camera comedies as well!  I think they’re very well done.

Is there a role or a character that you’d love to try and spread your wings, do something different?
I don’t even know!  That’s an interesting question – I just want to keep working.  And if people want to keep seeing me do that one thing I do, then I’m very happy doing that right now.  2 years down the road, when I’m like, “oh boy, I’m tired of this grinning jackass,” I’ll have something else.  I’ve been enjoying the characters that I’ve been asked to play!

Do you have interest in writing down the line for yourself or other people?
In terms of creating characters, I’m doing a lot of improvisation, since I’m officially unemployed.  I think that is helpful in developing characters, situations, scenarios, and environments that could eventually lead to something more.  It’s a creative outlet at this point.  When the day comes for me to pitch something down the line, it would take me sitting down and thinking about it a little more.  But until then, I’m enjoying getting up and goofing around with my friends!

For more information on THE MIDDLE, head to ABC.com! THE MIDDLE airs tonight at 8/7c on ABC