Saturday, August 28, 2010

Things I Learned from Melissa Joan Hart, Part II

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

This is the second part of the entry on things I learned last Monday. You can read the first part here. I was actually surprised at how many of the questions asked by various parties were oriented toward Melissa Joan Hart's previous projects (both film and television). I know that of my four planned questions (so I wouldn't fumble on my turn if my previous ideas were taken), I tried to focus mainly on her new show, Melissa & Joey. But, when you've been in the business since you were four years old, there is a lot of ground to cover! Below you can find some information that I found interesting that I learned, specifically about the new sitcom. (The first entry was more of other projects in her career)

- They shoot the show live on Friday nights in LA. The pilot was shot the week after Dancing with the Stars wrapped up.

- Both Melissa and Joey messed up their first lines in front of a live studio audience. Sometimes they do a scene three or four times in front of the audience. And there's new terms and phrases to learn that Melissa hadn't come across before, even after 30 years in the industry.

- The original title was Annie's Manny, but neither Melissa or Joey liked that. They had thought about doing a Dharma and Greg or a Will and Grace type of title, but the example of Melissa & Joey just stuck.

- There are a bunch of different guest stars coming up.

- When Melissa did the pilot for Dirtbags, which FOX ended up passing on, she played a wacky girl, and she loved the way that felt so much that she wanted to do it again. That was part of how the Mel Burke character came to be. She didn't want to play a character who was really "put together."

- She seems to enjoy the Lucy-esue silliness that Mel embraces. And that makes sense, since she specifically didn't want a straight-man character but more of a "loose cannon." She likens the silly characters to both Lucy and Phoebe on Friends. She mentions that Mel is very much like her (and Clarissa was too, when she played her), but she and Sabrina were very different and it was difficult for her to play the whiny, unsure-of-herself, trying-to-lay-low Sabrina.

- A suggestion that Melissa made to the writers that we may see down the line on the show is that Mel takes Lennox to a karaoke bar for some bonding time. Interesting idea.

- The comparison to Who's the Boss had not crossed their minds until quite a while into it, after they began explaining the show to other people. Instead, Melissa has thought to compare various aspects to The New Adventures of Old Christine and Moonlighting.

- I appreciate the fact that it's a family show that's not for families (it is for 13+). It's not for small children to watch, and it's not for a serious lesson. As Melissa said, they're "just in it to make people laugh."
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