Rainn Wilson Says Comparing ‘Backstrom’ To ‘House M.D.’ Is ‘Total Bullsh*t’

Ratings aren’t in yet for last night’s episode of Rainn Wilson’s new cop series, Backstrom, but after two episodes, the series is treading in that bubble category — it could go either way (although, being on Fox, a.k.a. the new NBC, may ultimately help it survive). At any rate, Wilson has been out promoting the series, and trying to save it, which I think is a worthy endeavor. I like the show. It’s a procedural with a typical case-of-the-week formula, but it has a decent supporting cast (especially Dennis Haysbert) and Rainn Wilson is really great in it.

But comparisons to House M.D. are kind of unavoidable anytime there’s a cantankerous, anti-social malcontent at the center of the show, especially a procedural. I don’t really hold that against Backstrom, because I think the character effectively plays his grumpiness for laughs, and there is more to him than the fact that he’s an asshole.

In either respect, Rainn Wilson doesn’t like that we in the media continue to make comparisons between Backstrom and House M.D., and in his Reddit AMA yesterday, he said as much:

That’s total bullsh*t. Here’s the similarities to House: A self-destructive, difficult and brilliant man at the center of the show. How many HUNDREDS of shows have there been like that before?

Differences: Backstrom is falling apart. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s not sly or charming. He doesn’t give a f*ck if anyone likes him. He unravels as the season goes along. He’s able to use his affinity for the dark side of humanity to see into a criminals mind and heart.

Running out of ideas? There are hundreds of ideas in hundreds of pilots that are made each year – a few dozen make it on the air and only a handful stay on.

I wanted a break from TRUE comedy for awhile. There’s a lot of funny in Backstroke. Check it out.

(I love that he refers to his show as Backstroke.)

In a later answer, he reiterated that the comparison is unfair:

The episodes keep getting better and better. A lot of the sh*tty, snarky reviews just said “OH ITS HOUSE WITH A BADGE” but that’s really not the show. It has a lot of nuance, feeling and subltely. You just wouldnt know it from the marketing campaign.

you go on a journey over these 13 episode with Backstrom and get to delve deeper and deeper into his past and psyche. Plus its F***ing funny.

He is absolutely right that the marketing campaign does not accurately reflect what’s going on in the show. I mean, yes: Backstrom is an asshole who gives no f*cks, but there’s some insecurity in that character, and it’s obvious after a couple of episodes that his prickliness is a defense mechanism rooted in his father’s hatred of him.

I’m not saying it’s a great show, but as procedurals go, it’s one of the better ones. It’s a great laundry-folding, cooking-dinner kind of show.

Meanwhile, Rainn Wilson would also like you to know that the only similarities between Wilson and his The Office character, Dwight Schrute, are that “we are both proud owners of a zonkey.”

Source: Reddit