Did you know that Walton Goggins’ new show, The Unicorn, is based on a true story? Well, now, you do! To further appreciate the interesting factoid shared by Goggins, you may need a refresher on what the show is about. The new dramedy is one of CBS’ freshman fall premieres.
The Unicorn centers on Walton Goggins’ Wade, a husband and father of two who recently lost his wife to cancer. At the urging of his friends, the landscaping company owner gets talked into re-entering the dating world. Upon his re-entry, Wade discovers that he is considered a highly desirable and rare find. Hence, he's The Unicorn in being a widower and now-single dad.
It turns out that there was real-life inspiration behind the series’ premise. The creators of The Unicorn have a friend who found himself in the same circumstances and his stories from the dating world served as a source. Walton Goggins explained the show’s true story origins, telling CBS Local:
Yeah...it’s interesting the show was created by Bill Martin and Mike Schiff and they were there for their actual friend who lived this. He lost his wife and they had two daughters and they were on the front lines supporting their friend go through this. They saw how absurd and how crazy that journey was.
One day their friend mentioned how crazy his story was and asked if they thought it was interesting and they were like ‘oh my gosh yes, we’ve been waiting for you to say this to us, your life is so insane!’ you know [laughs]. And so that was the genesis of it. The show wasn’t fabricated, it all came out of reality. That’s what people really respond to, that’s what I respond to.
Has the friend of The Unicorn’s creators’ quest for love continued, or has he found someone? Walton Goggins did not say in this interview. However, the stories that the creators’ pal went through helped provide the fabric for the show. So, when you watch the next episode keep in mind that this really happened to someone.
It is relatively common for real life to serve as inspiration for television, but I usually tend to think of that playing into strictly dramatic fare. Law & Order: SVU has often featured storylines “ripped from the headlines.” It is an element also utilized by the NBC drama, Chicago Med. For a dramedy such as The Unicorn, having a based-on-true-events origin story is a, seemingly, rare occurrence.
I am curious to know how the friend of The Unicorn’s creators is doing now. Is this still an active story being lived? Could what happens with their friend potentially impact what we see on the show in the future?
The real story element is another behind-the-scenes detail that Walton Goggins has provided about The Unicorn. He previously revealed how the show switched formats after initially being conceived as a multi-camera sitcom, like the long-running series, The Big Bang Theory. It has instead come to life on CBS as a single-camera dramedy in the formatting vein of that show’s spinoff, Young Sheldon.
The switch has clearly not hurt The Unicorn with viewers. It has gotten off to a great start in the ratings department. When it comes to CBS, having a hit show is not a unicorn-level rarity. What does the series’ hit status mean for the chances of The Unicorn’s Maya Lynne Robinson making a return to The Conners as Geena? Stay tuned.
New episodes of The Unicorn air Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS. The freshman comedy is among this fall’s premieres.