When CBS’ gem Life in Pieces returns for its fourth season, the series truly becomes a family comedy.
Hunter King, who also appears on CBS’ The Young and the Restless and has won two Daytime Emmys for her portrayal of Summer Newman, welcomes younger sister Joey King for a three-episode arc. Currently seen as Gypsy Rose Blanchard on Hulu’s The Act, she makes her Life in Pieces debut as Morgan, a young about-to-pop mother-to-be who — SPOILER! (but not really) — picks Matt and Colleen (Thomas Sadoski and Angelique Cabral) to adopt her baby.
While both have been acting for more than 10 years (Hunter’s first credits date back to 2001, while Joey got her start in 2006), it’s the first time they’ve worked together, despite years of hoping and trying to do so.
“Anyone reading this that has any kind of pull, Hunter and I wanna work together more, so put us in your s‑‑‑,” Joey joked at the end of their interview with EW. While the two laughed together for a good 30 seconds, they actually aren’t kidding. Life in Pieces is just the beginning, they hope, especially after having such a great experience filming season 4 of the comedy, which boasts an ensemble cast that also includes James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, Colin Hanks, Zoe Lister-Jones, Betsy Brandt, and Dan Bakkedahl.
Season 4 premieres Thursday night with two new episodes (click here to watch an exclusive clip of their tropical vacation gone wrong) — at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. — with Joey popping up in the second, where she has an unforgettably hilarious introduction. The two spoke with EW recently to do a little sisterly bragging, but also to reveal how their first collaboration came together and how Joey’s Morgan will meet Hunter’s Clementine (see EW’s exclusive photo above).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Joey, with Morgan’s introduction in that first scene, we understand so much about her in a short amount of time. How much did you know about her and her backstory, or did you just dive in?
JOEY KING: Oh man, I kinda knew where the character’s story line was going. Justin, who is the showrunner, gave me a little debrief on where that was heading. But yeah, this girl is going through a lot, but also her circumstances are pretty silly and the people she gets wrapped up with happen to be the funniest family in the world, so she’s just kind of rolling with the punches and navigating her way and keeping that attitude that she has.
She explains that the baby’s father and her boyfriend are twins.
JOEY: What a gal! That’s actually based off my real-life situation. [Jokingly laughs]
Art imitating life. But it’s such a great example of the grounded absurdity of the show.
HUNTER KING: Whenever we get a new script, I love going to the table reads without fully reading the script because I love the way everyone reads it. We will just sit there dying laughing. I think the delivery — a lot of the credit should go to our creator Justin Adler because he loves that dry, matter-of-fact delivery. Let the line speak for itself. Don’t give it a whole lot, because if it’s crazy and you play it crazy it kind of takes away from it. But if it’s crazy stuff coming out of your mouth but seems so normal, it makes it 10 times funnier. It’s something Justin always wanted with the show. He’ll throw out alternate lines for us and I’ll just start dying laughing because they’re all so funny. He comes up with this amazing material right on the spot. He and the whole team write such good scripts.
Hunter, did you know the character Morgan was being added so you suggested Joey, or did the producers come to you and ask if you thought it might be a role Joey would like to play? How did this all work out?
HUNTER: I’ve always wanted to work with Joey. We’ve always talked about how we want to work together and I told my boss that I really want her to come and play and be on the show. I was like, “I don’t know if she even could or if you guys have something for her, but if there’s ever a chance, please have her on the show because we want to work together so bad!” I didn’t even know they were going to or what the story was, but one day they were like, “Hey, we’re thinking of Joey for this character,” and the rest is history.
JOEY: I was so excited because, it’s true, Hunter and I have always, always wanted to work together — we’ve talked about it countless times; it was our dream to be able to do something together, and this is a great way to introduce that and just to do a little something together and hopefully it’s a little peek into the future and we can work more together.
In the episodes I have seen so far, you haven’t had any scenes together. I hope and assume you will eventually?
HUNTER: Yes! Filming those scenes were some of the funniest days. I will just never forget the things Joey would be pitching to me. I cannot wait to watch that scene. I cannot wait to see the relationship between Clementine and Morgan on camera, what it turns out be, because behind the scenes we had so much fun.
Well, you said it’s something you’ve dreamed of, getting to work together, so tell me about that day.
JOEY: Hunter and I, we get along really well. We’re like best friends. We don’t really fight ever. So the idea of both of us getting to do what we love and getting to hang out together was almost too much for us. We just had the best time — we had so much fun together and we were thinking of the most absurd and crazy things for our characters to say and do to one another. I think it really gave us a realization of how well we really do work together — emotionally and the physical comedy, we just had such a lovely time and it made me so excited because nothing is better than being around family and enjoying yourself and doing what you love.
HUNTER: Joey had already come to set to visit, so everyone had already met Joey and they love her so much, so they were really excited to have her on the show. It wasn’t about seeing if she would fit in with the group; she was already part of the Life in Pieces family.
JOEY: There’s nothing like stepping on a set and feeling that pride because everyone was always coming up to me and telling me how much fun they have working with Hunter and how amazing she is, how funny she is, how sweet she is. So knowing those people already and knowing how much work Hunter does for them, stepping on set as her sister filled me with a lot of pride to be able to be a part of something she does every day with these people.
HUNTER: Aw! Thanks!
How do your characters end up meeting?
JOEY: Our characters have a very funny and awkward meeting before the birth at a nice little family gathering and you get to see the awkwardness their relationship has and the interesting… jealousy that comes between the two characters.
Is that one of the Short family Sunday brunches?
HUNTER: I’m trying to remember if it was an actual brunch, but this family does get together more than any family I know, so it probably was Sunday brunch or an infamous Wednesday night dinner.
Joey, what was it like wearing that big pregnancy pad?
JOEY: [Laughs] I gotta tell you, it’s kinda weird how I felt like I was pregnant. I had to pee so often and I was always holding the belly — I was very protective of it. And I also felt insanely bloated those days. So I guess it felt like actually being pregnant. I was more hungry than usual too, but maybe that’s just because I was hungry.
Season 4 of Life in Pieces premieres Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET, followed by a second episode — Joey’s debut — at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS.