Home is where the crazy is.
Oh, there's heart too, but let's face it, a house with grandparents, a single mom, and a sassy 6-year-old is going to be sheer chaos. But funny chaos in the case of Sarah Chalke's new ABC comedy, "How to Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)," which premieres Wednesday at 9:30 PM.
Chalke plays that single mom, Polly, with Brad Garrett and Elizabeth Perkins as her zany parents. Their roles are somewhat flipped: Polly is neurotic and controlling when it comes to her daughter (Rachel Eggleston), while her parents are loose, hippie-dippy types.
We chatted with Chalke about Polly's clash with her parents, her dating life, and cracking up on set.
When Polly moves in with her parents, it seems as if the normal parent-child relationship is reversed. She's the more responsible one.
This is Claudia [Lonow, the creator's] true story. She showed up on her parents' doorstep and said, "I hope it's not a bad time for you because it is for me." That's how the show opens. She sort of explains it like between the three of them, they made one responsible parent. She wants to be the mother she never had, but because of the mother she did have, she needs to go get her mother's help.
So between all of them, they have this sort of interesting way of raising the kid as they're all together under this roof. Polly definitely, out of the three of them, is the most sane of all of them. But she's by no means sane!
Not only does she have to deal with her parents; she starts dating, right? Do we see her get into a new relationship?
Yes she goes on a couple of dates. She has one [relationship] that lasts a tiny bit longer, but she's sort of trying to figure out a way to be the best mom and put her kid first, but still have a life and go out there and date and hold on to her job and balance the relationship with her ex-husband.
I love where the show [goes]. I felt like there are original storylines that I hadn't seen before, like the daughter is upset her mom is dating and wants to see her dad dating and happy, so I try to set my ex-husband up on a date with this really hot girl that walks into the yogurt store. And that ends up kind of backfiring. (Laughs)
It seems like Polly is trying really hard to be the perfect mom.
I think she wants to be and she tries to be. Like we did a playdate episode where she's like, "Oh my god, it has to be perfect, I don't know how to do this, how do I act normal and pretend we're this normal family, which we're not? I need to have a craft … I need to have the right snack. The snack's got to be a weird sandwich cut into a cute shape." And she wants that and realizes she's not that, and that's OK.
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How was it working with your parents, Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett?
Just a dream. It's the most fun. When I heard Elizabeth Perkins had the offer to play the part, I didn't sleep until I found out it was finished. She's one of the most interesting actresses to work with -- she just tweaks the lines, delivers something like no one else would.
And Brad Garrett is one of the funniest people I've ever worked with … to the point where I had to say, "When you turn the camera around, can you not say that one line, because I'm not going to be able to make it through the line without cracking up."
Even Rachel Eggleston! And the only reason I say "even" is because she's a kid. And to have her be able to crack us up on camera is unbelievable.
Watch a preview:
"How to Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)" premieres Wednesday, 4/3 at 9:30 PM on ABC.