When you’re writing a show like RAISING HOPE, how much of your own life experiences find its way into the stories?
Greg Garcia: I think everything kind of bleeds in. And while there hasn’t been any direct — like this happened to me so we’re going to do this kind of thing — you use your experiences as you write. And as always, people you meet, people you see, everything kind of bleeds in but there hasn’t been anything completely, directly from my life that we’ve used yet but I think everything is influenced. I know in the pilot we flipped the baby in the car seat, which came from an idea I had. I wanted to put that in the show a long time ago because I think one time—more than one time I think—I’ve probably put the car seat in the car and then driven somewhere and realized that it wasn’t strapped in and thought, “Well, this could have been awful,” or it could have been hilarious if it just flipped one time and the baby was fine. Then stuff like getting the baby stuck in the garage with the clutter and all that stuff that just came from an idea that Martha was a hoarder and then we just went from there. We’ve just been trying to find some fun situations for the baby.
Both stars Martha Plimpton and Garret DIllahunt are more known for their dramatic roles rather than their comedic chops, Garret in particularly coming off TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES and BURN NOTICE. What made this cast right for this comedy?
I think everybody just feels real. That’s just a credit to them as actors. Nobody really has to push real hard and become what you see on screen, everybody can just be natural and get the laughs off subtle smaller things. I got lucky, I got really lucky. It’s funny, too, because I hear Martha mention that we spoke on the phone and then she comes and she goes through the auditions process. To me, pretty much with everybody on this thing, the audition process was such just an exercise in keeping the studio and network involved, but I knew I wanted Martha to play this role. As soon as I saw Garret do it I knew he was the guy and the same with Lucas. I just got incredibly lucky that I have all the people that would be best for these roles playing these roles. But I think for me it does come down to that at the end of the day that everybody just feels like these characters. You don’t see anybody on screen trying, they’re just doing it great.
Both RAISING HOPE and MY NAME IS EARL share the common thread of family. Is the family theme chance, or strategic?
Of the shows I’ve created, one was a domestic comedy and then this one. Yes, I’ve worked on certain different family sitcoms. I don’t think it’s strategic at all as much as I think there’s a lot of stories to be told with a domestic comedy. I think when you’re creating a series you don’t have to really invent a lot of reasons for people to root for certain things emotionally when you’re watching. Everybody has a family. Everybody at the end of the day wants the family to get along. I think if you have an office placed comedy it’s a little harder to get people to become emotionally invested in the characters and what exactly you’re rooting for and so you develop a love relationship or something like that to do that. I think there’s just a certain amount of warmth in a domestic comedy that’s a little easier to achieve. I enjoy writing that stuff.
How did it feel to have Halloween as your first major holiday to tackle as the Chance family?
Well, it was fun. I think that it was fun because we had a good story. Any episode is going to be more fun when you feel that the story is good. We felt like it wasn’t just people dressing up but it was a nice story that actually uncovered some stuff between Lucas’ character and Garret’s character. Whenever you do a domestic sitcom the holidays are usually provide for good episodes. We just shot a Thanksgiving one in which the serial killers parents come for Thanksgiving and we’re shooting our Christmas one this week. Hopefully everybody likes our holiday stuff.
Can you give us a hint what guest stars we might see in future episodes?
We’re keeping a lot of stories to our main people because it’s a show about raising a baby and because of that we stick around the house a lot. That said, we do have Jason Lee in an episode we’re shooting next week in a fun role that involves a whole musical component about Garret’s character and the fact that he plays the guitar and he has some unfulfilled dreams with that. There’s also a character of a cousin of Martha’s character that she’s going to butt heads with. Unfortunately the deal is not completely finished so I can’t say who it is, but I’m very excited about who it’s going to be. It’s somebody I’ve worked with before and I’m a huge fan of. Hopefully that gets done and then we can announce who that’s going to be.
RAISING HOPE returns with brand new episodes starting next Tuesday November 9th to FOX (Coming soon to Global TV in Canada)