ABC’s Imaginary Mary: Exclusive Interview with Jenna Elfman & Stephen Schneider and
Executive Producers David Guarascio & Doug Robinson.
After spending the day handling parenting duties, it is nice to take the time and enjoy a nice feel-good TV show, right? My personal favorite TV shows, are those where you can laugh at life’s silly moments and those that make me laugh out loud! During our recent visit to L.A, we had the opportunity to sit down with the Jenna Elfman & Stephen Schneider, the stars of newest ABC sitcom, Imaginary Mary and its executive producers, David Guarascio & Doug Robinson. Not only did we get to chat about this new Primetime sitcom, we got to preview the series’ premiere episode, and discover a few fun facts about this new show. Check it out.
Before we continue, let’s me tell you about the show’s premise. And also, remind you that the Series Premieres on Tuesday, April 4th at 9:30/8:39c. #ImaginaryMary
The newest ABC comedy about a fiercely independent career woman (Jenna Elfman) whose life is turned upside-down when she meets the love of her life – a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend (voiced by Rachel Dratch) she created as a child suddenly reappears to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.
First of all, I love that Imaginary Mary’s leading lady is a successful career woman which has to learn to juggle life, love, career, finally motherhood. Can we all relate to this? Hey, because at some point or another, all of us think, I have no idea what I am doing, right? I think we all can relate to this series, especially the Imaginary Mary’s executive producers, David Guarascio & Doug Robinson and its stars, Jenna Elfman & Stephen Schneider. Jenna Elfman had this to said about her character.
Jenna: I read it and went, oh, that’s just so interesting because I love that there’s the romantic part as the leading lady, and then there’s the fish out of water aspect with the kids because she’s just has no point of reference for dealing with children at all, and has no plan for it, and has a negative point of reference of childrearing. And then she’s super accomplished; she’s a woman on her own, which I liked, and as an actor dealing with comedy, I have to now also deal with something that doesn’t exist but that I see, but that they don’t see, and then do physical comedy, and fish out of water, and it was just oh my god, that’s a lot of balls to juggle.
Speaking of working with a CGI character, how did this beyond cute cuddly character come to be and how does Jenna Elfman works with no one there? Doug Robinson (executive producer) and Jenna Elfman had this to say about that.
Doug Robinson: I had a meeting with an animator named Patrick Osborne, who won the Academy Award for a short film called Feast and I said, do you have any ideas that you wanna do in television? And he said, “I’ve always wanted to do a show about somebody who has an imaginary friend.” He really came up with the design and sort of just worked with us about what she would look like, and he wanted to do something that was, um, loveable-looking particularly because, you know, an important part of Mary’s character is that she’s not always saying the right thing, so to speak, and she is a defender of, in a very important way, of Alice’s independent streak and her sort of like feminist side. We felt like we could get away with Mary saying more of what she shouldn’t say if- the cuter she looked, really. So, he just wanted to make sure she sort of had that appeal was his big- she needs to be appealing. And so it was hard, we had a lot of different concepts and worked over time and shot a pilot with one aspect, and kept tweaking it until we finally came to this, this look here. So really it just came from his brain.
Jenna Elfman: they’ve got a great improv comedy actress to do my lines with me. She actually helps me learn my lines, too, because she has some extra time, so I find myself talking to her, but that’s to learn my lines. There’s not a lot of spare time in my life when I’m filming this show because we’re doing sixteen hour days.
After having seen the series premiere episode, it got us thinking what the actors and producers, what us (the audience) to take away from this series. Of course, Jenna Elfman had the perfect answer to this question.
Jenna Elfman: Laughter, and joy and, and entertainment, and feeling better about the lives they’re living. That’s all, personally, I just wanna make people have relief, you know? Like, we’re all in this together. We know how hard it is. Life’s freakin’ hard and I want people to watch the show and that laughter. That’s why I do it because it removes you from the stresses of life for that moment. And in those moments, you rehabilitate a little more life juice to go on, and that’s all I want to do for people.
One last thing to note here is the amazing chemistry between Jenna Elfman & Stephen Schneider and those adorable kiddos on the show. How were they able to great such amazing relatability between the characters? This is what Jenna Elfman and Stephen Schneider had to say. And what if anything is their favorite part of playing these characters?
Jenna Elfman: We all are just decent human beings with not a lot of neuroses and weird baggage that we’re dramatizing everywhere. Everyone’s just really hardworking and cool.
Stephen Schneider: We don’t take ourselves too seriously. And, and it’s especially nerve-wracking for kids when they come on a show because they don’t know you, it’s oftentimes it’s the big thing that they’ve done, and they’re very nervous about it. It also helped that we were in Vancouver. We didn’t know anybody there. I mean, we just had our families and the people that we were working with.
Jenna Elfman: I just love the sensation of the dynamic with the other characters. It gives me a lot of sensation. I feel really alive when I’m acting with him and the kids and the humor, and the warmth, and the awkward, there’s all these fun elements, I like the way it makes me feel. I like being at work, and I love working. It’s just fun.
Stephen Schneider: First of all, I really love working with Jenna- every time we’re on the set together or off camera, we’re just cracking each other up. I also like the ability to play a single dad. You don’t see that a ton on TV, a good guy that’s just trying to do the best for his kids and has his kids for custody. So, it’s cool to play that and hopefully, it brings some humor and reality to that.
Watch Imaginary Mary Tuesdays at 9:30|8:30c on ABC!
Disclosure: I was provided with an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles, California to attend the #BeOurGuestEvent. No additional compensation was received.