ENLISTED: Geoff Stults on Pete’s PTSD, Jill, and Why You Should Keep Watching - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

ENLISTED: Geoff Stults on Pete’s PTSD, Jill, and Why You Should Keep Watching

January 17, 2014 by  


Hello ENLISTED fans! (And hello to those of you who are still considering whether or not to give this show a chance!) I’ll admit, I thought the show and network’s decision to invite viewers to point out some mistakes in the pilot was bold and risky. Hopefully, the honest move will pay off, and viewers will continue to give the show a chance to prove itself. While I enjoyed the pilot, I am hoping viewers enjoy the next three episodes as much as I did.

On a recent conference call with series lead Geoff Stults (Sgt. Pete Hill), he gave us some insight on the show’s brotherly love (with Chris Lowell’s Derrick Hill and Parker Young’s Randy Hill), Pete’s struggle with PTSD, a possible love interest in Angelique Cabral’s Jill, and a few more reasons why fans should stick around for more of the ARMY-inspired comedy…

According to Stults, the entire staff, cast and crew of the show know there needs to be a balance between the lighthearted camaraderie among troops and the gravitas associated with the US Army. At the same time, they also must put on a workplace and family comedy that is enjoyable for the general public. He described it as “Dunder Mifflin at Fort McGee” but that ultimately, “we chose to do a show that is set in the military, so it is our obligation to be respectful and do everything that we can to do right by them and to portray them correctly.”

To that end, in a future episode, Sgt. Pete Hill shows signs of PTSD, and I asked how Stults prepared for the role, and whether it was the same preparation he used for the ex-military character of Walter Sherman on THE FINDER.

“Totally two different characters, but obviously a similar through line. Pete is a little more grounded in reality. Walter was a little more out there. I got to play with Walter a little bit more…he had unorthodox ways of going about things, and that was sort of the excuse around it ‘That’s just Walter being Walter.’ And he was private and he was paranoid, and…a lot of things people talk about related to PTSD, Walter had. But we kind of took dramatic license with those. What we didn’t have to worry about as much was doing a show about the military. It was more MAGNUM PI-ish, sort of this guy with a unique ability to find things down in the Florida Keys. And Michael Clarke Duncan’s character was such a steady straight man that I was able to play with Walter and his antics a lot more.”

“Now with Sgt. Pete Hill on ENLISTED, this is a guy who is a current, active soldier, a sergeant in the Army,” Stults continued. “What we are trying to do is play with the sincerity and the reality that he comes back (to the US). And there’s nothing wrong with him. He just knows that HE is different. He sees things differently, he feels things differently, he doesn’t know how to describe it, he doesn’t know what it is. With our research and our conversations with people…that is sometimes how it works. And originally, everybody was thrown into one box — PTSD. And what they realized is that there are different versions of that. People suffer from that differently. I did as much as I could to be honest about that.”

Stults went on to describe how his most influential source of research is his best friend, a Marine who has been honest about the PTSD in his life. Stults talked to him often about the process, about symptoms and solutions, adding, “It’s very important to me to do right by that, and it’s very important for [show creator] Kevin Biegel and [executive producer] Mike Royce and the rest of the writers and I that we are not addressing this by trying to shove it down the viewers’ face…and it’s not the hot topic of every episode. It’s just you start to see little traces that something is different in Pete. And he’s not sure exactly what it is. And throughout the course of the season, we see how he goes from unwilling to accept that anything is wrong , to accepting it, to seeking help, to thinking he’s got it under control, and finding out that maybe he doesn’t quite have it under control.”

On a lighter note, Stults also addressed the chemistry his character has with Angelique Cabral’s Jill.

“It just sort of happened,” he said. “Originally, when you are putting a show together and pitching it to the network, you are putting all of the players together. ‘Who is the lead going to be, where is the love interest?’ all of that kind of stuff. ‘Oh, they like each other, they don’t like each other. They like each other’. And yeah, the fraternization doesn’t work that well. Though technically, we’re the same rank, so we’d be allowed to date. But we’ve also realized that for now in the show, that is just not nearly as interesting as other things we could be doing. Flirting…we touch on it just a little bit, but for now, we’re going to keep those things as a little nugget that we’ll get into later on.”

Still not sold? Here are a few more reasons to watch:

  • While the show admittedly made some errors in the pilot, they sent additional episodes to military communities, and their opinion has changed. “They saw that we made an effort, we got squared away…and you can see the difference between the first episode and the second episode,” Stults said.
  • Stults’ favorite scene in the series (so far) is the final scene in the season finale, calling it a very poignant scene for his character and the arc of the whole show.
  • The brotherly sibling rivalry is based on Biegel’s real-life relationships with his younger brothers. Stults, a younger brother (to fellow actor George Stults), was happy to play the part of an older brother for once. And he added that the brotherly love extends off the screen as well, adding. “I’m stuck with them (for life), and they are stuck with me.”
  • While he wasn’t able to live-tweet the premiere, Stults plans to live tweet future episodes!

Did you watch the ENLISTED pilot? What were your thoughts? Will you be tuning in for more?

ENLISTED airs Fridays at 9:30 PM on Fox.

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