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Brilliant at being detestably mean and narcissistic as Ugly Betty’s Amanda Tanen, Becki Newton all but faded from our screens before resurfacing in How I Met Your Mother. Now she gets to play “happy family” with Scott Foley as her brother in the comedy, The Goodwin Games. While the premise piques curiosity, the execution failed both actors, writes Debashine Thangevelo.
TALK about being unlucky in roles – Becki Newton hasn’t been able to bag anything as remotely engaging as her popular role as Ugly Betty’s Amanda Tanen.
Since the hit series ended after four seasons in 2010, the 35-year-old actress hasn’t made many inroads in landing another big project. She appeared in Love Bites and for 10 episodes in How I Met Your Mother.
Newton hasn’t so much as sniffed a big screen offer either. And it isn’t that she can’t act. Heck, given half the chance, she could be a Vanessa Williams (Desperate Housewives) substitute if she worked at it.
While The Goodwin Games has given her a lead platform, it might not be enough to do her career any favours.
The comedy was scaled back to seven episodes from 13.
Estranged spoilt-rotten siblings, Chloe (Newton), a mathematical genius who abandoned everything to become an actress, and Henry (Foley), an over-achieving surgeon with an ego to boot, find themselves in a bit of a dilemma after the death of their father.
For them to inherit the $23 million left to them, they have to first compete in a series of games that becomes the catalyst to confront long-abandoned childhood issues and personal failings. To pre-empt any hesitation on their part, a stranger (a third sibling), who inherits part of the fortune every time the siblings refuse to play along, is added to the game.
Meanwhile, co-star Foley’s career is on a high. With the Felicity actor bagging roles in House, Scrubs, Cougar Town, Grey’s Anatomy, True Blood and The Fixer, he will be immune from the failings of this show.
In an interview with CableTV.com, he shed light on his character. Foley said: “He is the most successful, obviously, out of the three of them and is hesitant to go back and fall into the trap that is his family. I think he’s worked very hard to get away from that dynamic, and I think that reason alone makes him hesitant. The fact that they are playing for $23m changes his mind. Any time you dangle a carrot of that size… it’s hard to say no. The show is really about three siblings who have lost touch with themselves and each other, and they come back and, through this game, learn to appreciate each other. I think that was really interesting.”
Despite the fact that The Goodwin Games is created and written by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas (of How I Met Your Mother fame) as well as Chris Harris, the comedy is upstaged by all that drama and high-strung emotion. Sadly, it meant game over for this series – and that is not good for Newton, who was probably banking on this series taking off.
• The Goodwin Games starts on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) this Friday at 7.30pm.