It’s been a while since we’ve seen Jason Ritter on our TV screens, and we have to say that his absence is one that’s definitely been felt. There’s something undeniably charming and entertaining about watching the actor do his thing, whether it’s on a high-octane series like The Event, as the (much-younger) love interest to Lorelei Gilmore on Parenthood, as Shoshanna’s ill-fated beau on Girls, or as a comedic goofball on The Class.
So why haven’t any of Ritter’s full-time gigs really broken him out over the years? It’s hard to say, but we have a feeling that his newest project, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, may be the one that changes all of that.
The drama revolves around a man named Kevin (Ritter), who moves in with his twin sister (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) after he makes an attempt on his own life. The very night he moves in though, a celestial being that only he can see reveals that Kevin is meant to save the world, by finding and hugging a chosen group of people, potentially healing himself along the way.
Sure, it’s a bit out there in terms of premise, but it works — mostly because Ritter is excellent as the unwilling hero on this ridiculous quest. Given what we’ve seen so far, not to mention what we know about the actor overall, we have to say that we’re officially entering crush territory.
He’s a genuine dude IRL
Most actors are paid to be charming, but that doesn’t mean they’re always nice when we meet them in real life. We’ve spoken with Ritter on several occasions now, and we have to say that every single time he’s been low-key, low-maintenance and utterly sweet. If you say thanks for taking the time, he thanks you for taking your time. When you ask him a question he puts a lot of thought into answering it, even if he’s not sure of his own answer. Need proof? Here’s what he said when we asked him whether this role has made him look at spirituality any differently.
“I guess I’ve always been interested in the unknown. I’ve always looked for mystery and mysticism. I’m not the kind of guy who’s just like, ‘Oh another strange random coincidence of mollecules bumping into each other.’ I always find meaning wherever it usually is not. Sometimes it all goes back to thinking my toys were going to get angry with me if I didn’t play with them correctly. I’m still afraid of some of my old stuffed animals. They’re out for revenge and I know they’re coming, but I’m prepared.”
Thoughtful and real, right? There’s no way that’s a canned response.
We loved his dad too
You know who else was known for being a Hollywood nice guy? John Ritter, Jason’s dad. The actor shot to fame during Three’s Company and maintained his stardom on the big and small screens ever since, until he tragically passed away in 2003. At the time he was filming 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Jason Ritter was just getting started in the business back then, which must have been extra hard considering his dad’s death. Somehow though, the experience seemed to make him stronger. Today, even though the actor has established himself in his own right, it’s hard not to be reminded of his dad. The pair do look a little alike, after all, and it’s cool to see that a kid who literally grew up in the spotlight is still so down-to-earth.
He can do funny or serious
Okay so Kevin (Probably) Saves the World is officially a drama, but there are definitely some light-hearted moments with Ritter at the centre of them. We don’t know what it is about an actor who can pull off funny and serious, but it melts our hearts every time. One minute Ritter is having a hard heart-to-heart with his onscreen niece about life and death, and the next minute he’s performing a scene in which he’s literally talking to himself. It’s like the best of both worlds.
“They are tricky scenes… you’re used to having a scene partner and then all of a sudden the scene partner is ripped away from you,” he says of the latter type of performance. “It is a little weird, but it does help in those scenes to keep on imagining what it would feel like to know that no one else can see that person. I guess I always did a certain amount of talking to myself, but at least I have found that I make great conversation with myself.”
Sure, sure. In terms of reasons why we’re crushing on this actor, his looks are obviously a part of it. We have to say though that Ritter isn’t your classic, Clooney-esque, leading man material. What really makes his looks standout (to us, anyhow), is that awesome smile he has. It’s one of those smiles that travels all the way to his eyes, and often makes you smile right back. His fiancée, Two and a Half Men‘s Melanie Lynskey, sure is one lucky gal. (Although let’s be honest, he’s pretty lucky for landing her too!)
The way he talks about his mom
We’re all told to be wary of momma’s boys, but we’d make an exception in Ritter’s case, because the way he talks about her is just too sweet. Since such a large part of Kevin (Probably) Saves the World revolves around Ritter giving people hugs, we HAD to know who in his life gave the best hugs. Not surprisingly, it was his mom, Nancy Morgan.
“My mom gives pretty great hugs, I have to say. That’s lucky. But she gives really great hugs and they’re firm, but they’re malleable. You don’t feel like you’re trapped,” he said. “They last exactly as long as you’d hoped. My mom has a great blend of sincerity and personal boundaries in her hugs.”
He’s a hugger himself
Last but not least, there’s something also utterly charming about a dude who isn’t afraid to dole out the hugs himself. Not everyone is a hugger in real life, but Ritter is a loud and proud, card-carrying member of the hugging club.
“I am a hugger. And I’m keenly aware when I’ve gone in for a hug and someone is just sort of what’s the word – they’re like accommodating me but it’s not necessarily their first choice of greeting,” he explains. “But yes, I err on the side of hugging.”
And we’re erring on the side of a massive on-screen crush.