Ghosts has grown into one of the most impressive sitcom debuts on any network this season, seeing a dramatic lift in viewership each week thanks to broadcast and streaming. With the single-camera comedy being one of the highest-ranked new series this season and fervently loved by fans more and more, it's no surprise CBS ordered a full season of the show. Brimming with hilarity, warmth and an inventive imaginativeness, Ghosts has delivered each and every week consecutively and Thursday's episode will be no different — though it's a bit of a tearjerker.
In an exclusive with PopCulture.com, series star Richie Moriarty previews the show's sixth episode, "Pete's Wife," which finds our favorite scout leader convincing Sam (Rose McIver) to invite his living wife to the mansion, only to discover she's been keeping a secret from him. Thanks to balanced, heartfelt and funny writing, the episode brings hilarity but also some very emotional moments that Moriarty appreciated in seeing his character's development.
"When I read the script, I was so excited because I think as an actor, you always want to show range, right? You always want to be given the opportunity to show multiple sides of a character, and because our cast is so big, especially in these early episodes, it's been tough. We all have been a little; I think more one dimensional just because of the nature of the beast," he said in a telephone call to PopCulture. "It's a big cast, and we have to kind of establish who we are quickly and with a limited amount of lines. So, it was so nice and I think so many of the ghosts have this moment as the season goes on, but it's really nice to be able to show that this is a multidimensional character, that he can be angry, that he can be sad, that he can really show a big range. because I mean, up until this point, Pete has been very chipper and positive and optimistic."
Moriarty says it was refreshing and "really nice" to see Pete responding to "some stuff in this episode that is not so great" at all for him. "[But] then it takes this be beautiful turn at the end and I was so thrilled to read it and just so excited to get to perform it too. I mean, what a gift from the writers."
While it's no secret the show is inspired by the BBC version of the same name and features a few characters that are very similar, like Moriarty's Pete or co-star Asher Grodman's Trevor, the Boston College graduate admits most respectfully how he made sure he was not creating an imitation of the original.
"I really wanted to, not be doing an impression of Pat on Ghosts and not feel like I was doing an impression of him. So, I watched the pilot of the BBC version and I watched, I think another half episode and right away I was like, 'I don't want to watch anymore' because the more I watch, the more I'm going to feel like I need to do what Jim Howick is doing."
Praising Howick's comedic timing and charm in the role, Moriarty calls the British actor and writer "unbelievably gifted" and so very funny. "He's been incredibly sweet to me. He's one of the executive producers on our show, and he's been just incredibly kind to me," he said. "We've been messaging back and forth a lot as our show has launched, and for me, I was like, I just need to feel like I'm doing my own thing because obviously any different actor is going to bring a different kind of sensibility to the role and as soon as I watched Jim's version of Pat on the BBC version, I was like, 'He's so good at this. I can't watch anymore.' I just need to go at it with my own instincts and feel like I'm doing my own thing."
The series getting the American sitcom treatment was not without its fair share of criticism though, something Moriarty says was "weird" to witness. "All these BBC fans, before our show aired, rightfully so, they were like, 'Why is this being remade? We have this great version right now.' And I think as people have now seen our version come out, they're like, 'Oh!' It's automatically going to be very different because of the different actors who are in this role. I think we all bring something incredibly different to what the BBC actors brought."
Adding how it's been such a "fun mix" and an aspect he is "grateful" for thanks to the camaraderie they formed as a group, Moriarty goes on to heap praise on to his castmates, sharing how the experience is one he is exponentially humbled by. "This cast is just incredible, and we've all been able to bond so much while shooting this show and it's just like an effortless ensemble. It's just like, we're just having the best time together," he said.
As fans get to see a bit more of Pete's life, they will also get a chance to see the backstories of the other ghostly houseguests this season. "Pete definitely has a lot more fun coming this season. There's a lot of great stuff that the writers cooked up for all of us. The 'Pete's Wife' episode is definitely, I think, the heaviest that I'm featured in just because it is very much about my backstory and each of the ghosts gets a really nice time to shine this season," he said, going on to add how the show's brilliance lies in the varieties of backstories for the different ghosts. "But there will definitely be plenty of Pete in the remaining parts of the season. It's just been so fun. There's so much fun to be had."
Some of the fun — if you can call it that — which will get answered in Thursday night's episode is how Pete got the fatal arrow in his neck, a prop Moriarty says has "almost taken multiple actors' eyes out" while on set. "Being part of this ensemble, we're so close to each other all the time. We're often in these packs of ghosts, where this kind of amoeba of ghosts very often. And the arrow is a little bit wider than my shoulders, so it's tricky. I have to be very careful with the way I move and make sure that nobody's too close to me, and often ghosts will be want to whisper something over my shoulder and move in, and all of a sudden, they're almost getting an arrow in the eye," he said. "It's very comfortable, though; our wardrobe department has done an incredible job. It's basically a metal bracket inside of the scarf that's like a C-shaped bracket that goes around the back of my neck."
While the cast members are all very close now and much like family, Moriarty says seeing the characters getting along on screen is part of the show's charm and comedy because they are all so different. "That's part of the fun, right? Just seeing this odd group of people tossed in a room, in a house together and having to live there for eternity," he said, adding how he hopes that dynamic also helps audiences to find "commonalities" with one another. "But especially over the course of the season, I think we all do find these incredible ways that we are similar. I mean, we were all human at one point, and I think there's obviously so much that links the humanity of all of us and that I think comes across, no matter what our different backgrounds are or what different time periods we're from, we're human beings, we all experience similar things over the course of a life."
With plenty more Ghosts to come, Moriarty is still pinching himself over the full-season order, telling PopCulture he's thrilled fans are taking to it so well. "It's such a weird thing making a show, right? We all make decisions to join a show when we're offered a role; it's so exciting. But you just don't know what the show is really going to be," he said. "I mean, you have the script to go on, and the script for the pilot of Ghosts was so incredibly well done, and it was one of those things that I immediately latched onto when I was sent the script. But then you just don't know how this thing is going to be directed. What will the showrunners be like? What's the rest of the cast going to be like? So, to see the reception that it's been getting has been just so encouraging, because we've all poured a lot of time and energy into this thing and it's so nice to see that, A, people are watching it and B, they're responding so positively to it. It's been really nice."
One of the most incredible moments by far for Moriarty was just this past Halloween when the actor was surprised at his door by a trick-or-treater who dressed up as his character, Pete. "I mean, I couldn't believe it. It was so sweet," he recalled of the moment. "She was just so shocked. I was so shocked. It was just like the cutest moment. There was this moment of, 'How do you even know about this show?' [And] you forget that so many people are watching this thing that you've been making for so long, and it was so cool. She and her mom have been watching together, and they're both totally into it. It was just such a sweet moment. It was great."