One of my favorite aspects of this show is that every member of the family is really funny — everyone gets to say funny lines, there’s not one person who’s the voice of reason or the sensible one. And of course, that person is usually the mom. Were you surprised at how different this character is to so many sitcom moms?
She is unique. There’s something very fresh about the way they’ve written this character, because that trope still is out there. I feel like we are in a golden age of television, that’s all good and well, but we’ve still got a long way to go when it comes to the sitcom mom. I have for a while had a bit of a personal stigma attached to playing a mom on television. I felt as though once I took that leap I was gonna be limited. Once this came along it didn’t feel like there were gonna be any of those trappings. It felt good and it felt different and it felt like something that was not only gonna be challenging, but it was gonna be a lot of fun.
I think you’re right that people talk about this golden age of television, but for women — not just women over 40, even women over 25, it still feels a bit limited.
Well, yes and no. I feel like that’s definitely happening in cinema. The movies in general are a big fucking mess, and I don’t particularly want to go anywhere near it, because what’s happening in TV right now is so exciting. Again, we have some work to do. I do feel like there’s a lot of progress being made for female characters in TV. It’s taking a second, but it is slowly happening, and if it keeps going this way it’s gonna be really exciting. I think a lot more opportunities are gonna open up for us.
I love the relationship between Nate and Robin — they really feel like equals, in that they both take care of the kids, they both do the driving on the road trip, and they both get to screw up; if anything, it seems like Robin is the one who’s a little less stable, we see that she’s got a bit of a drinking problem.
Jason told me in the very first phone conversation we had, when I was considering whether or not to do this — and this sold me on the idea completely — he said that he wasn’t interested in making this character likeable. He felt like there were plenty of likeable female characters on TV, and there’s nothing realistic about that, and that we shouldn’t be so hung up on that because who cares. And I’ve been saying that for years, so I felt like he was a kindred spirit, and I was sold.
The kids, Ashley Gerasimovich and Liam Carroll, are also really funny young actors. What is it like to work with them, particularly with this profane material?
They’re way more mature and professional than me or Jason. They sort of act as the adults on set, and we have to like, mind our Ps and Qs because we know they’ll call us on our shit if we’re not careful. They’re so sweet, and they’re not like, gross child actor-y at all, they still have their innocence, in a sense, unlike a lot of kids that get into this business. But they’re also really smart. They’re this great combination of very professional and still very childlike.
You just had your first child yourself, in the fall.
I did, yes.
Is this show making parenthood look scary to you?
This show isn’t making parenthood look scary — the world is. But this show is actually paying my mortgage, so this show can keep going as long as it needs to.