If the first six episodes of THE L.A. COMPLEX illustrated anything, it’s that creator Martin Gero knows a thing or two about crafting cliffhanger endings. (He also knows a thing or two about courting controversy and scandal, but more on that later in the week in our exclusive one-on-one!) Case in point, the scene that closed out the COMPLEX’s fantastic first season that saw Raquel’s dreams for a career resurgence hit quite the speed bump in the form of an unexpected pregnancy. But who’s the daddy and how will this not-so-welcome bundle of joy factor into the aging actress’ dream of a career comeback? We recently caught up with her portrayer, the delightful Jewel Staite on a visit to the Toronto-based set of THE L.A. COMPLEX to find out just that.
If Tori Spelling’s career resurgence is any indication, might Raquel’s pregnancy be the best thing to happen to her “career” in quite some time?
Jewel Staite: I don’t think it’s a good idea for Raquel because she’s trying so hard to stay young. She doesn’t want to play moms yet and the irony of course is that she finds out she’s pregnant. But she’s just not ready to let go of being the ingenue just yet because when you do reach that second stage or third or fourth stage, things do change and you’re seen in a different way. As soon as people get to know you in a character they have no choice but to see you in a different way. So when she does start playing moms what she’s going to get is pigeonholed and she’s certainly not ready for that.
How does her expectant motherhood affect Raquel’s movie making dreams with Cam and Kevin in the second season?
The movie is dead for now. Cam and Kevin decide to go in a different direction and sort of abandon ship on Raquel who can’t be trusted. But she does end up hooking up with them later on so we’ll see what happens there.
Is it safe to say that the first half of this second season is very Connor-centric in terms of Raquel and the baby and the possibility that he is the father?
It’s very much Connor focused. I felt like for the first five episodes the only cast member I saw was Jono [Jonathan Patrick Moore]. We had all sorts of scenes together. Plus, Raquel gets to guest star on his show which was really fun to do.
Are you rooting for the father of Raquel’s baby to be Connor?
I am just because it keeps this tumultuous relationship between the two of them going and really makes her explore what she wants in her life personally and whether she wants a relationship or not. What she finds out is that she does, she genuinely wants one, unfortunately she’s just no good at it and of course will find a way to screw it up completely. But yeah, they’re definitely the screwed up Ross and Rachel. They’ll always find their way back to each other eventually but man they just make life very difficult for each other!
With Connor’s own abandonment issues, one might assume that the stability that often comes with a family might be good for him.
He desperately wants a family… and in a way, he finds himself in a very twisted strange family later on in the season which is going to be very fun to see.
Does this twisted strange new family have anything to do with some of the new characters who are joining the show in season 2?
Yes! Krista Allen plays Jennifer Bell, who comes into Connor’s life and disrupts what Raquel and Connor have together. Raquel does not like that so we’ve had some really snippy scenes together that have been a lot of fun.
As an audience member I want to see the characters on this show happy, but I know that happy people don’t exactly make for good television. How do you as an actress wrap your head around the idea that for this show to be a success, odds are that your character will never get her happily ever after?
Well that’s what make the show so juicy and what makes you see the next episode. The characters find themselves in peril more than the average person. They just make all the wrong decisions for themselves in these predicaments that they have to get out of. Which is fun to watch as a viewer.
Having seen the first six episode, is there someone you’d like to work with more on the show that you don’t often get the chance to interact with?
I think Raquel and Kaldrick would be very interesting to see. Andra [Fuller] and I have a this bizarre friendship. Right from the start we were very brother and sister on set, we have the same agency so we bonded over that. He calls me his “PandC,” partner in crime and we’re always like why can’t we have scenes together, because we do have this natural friendship and relationship. I don’t know why, I just think it would be a riot to see. Raquel wouldn’t be the least bit impressed with everything Kaldrick has accomplished.
When I interviewed you prior to the show’s premiere, you were somewhat cautiously optimistic about the show having been around this business long enough to not take anything for granted. Has your attitude changed since the show got picked up for a second season?
I’m still just going to appreciate the moment, show up to work, do my job and hope that it keeps going. But I just know enough to live in the moment and don’t plan too far ahead.
Has this opportunity to stretch your wings as an actress changed people’s perception of you?
It was more funny than anything because people who recognize me as Kaylee are expecting me to be Kaylee. So they’ll come up and go all cute-like, “Awwww… you’re Kaylee” and try and hug me on the street. But with Raquel, people are genuinely frightened and intimidated. One girl, one of my favorites, I was in a bathroom in restaurant and she was like “I love your show,” and I’m like, “Which show?” And she’s like, “Raquel in da house!” So enthusiastically and hilariously, it made me laugh.
Is it nice to know that with the show airing both in Canada (MuchMusic) and the United States (The CW), more people are getting the opportunity to watch the show?
Most definitely. It’s always nice to know that your’e work is going to be rewarded on a larger scale. We want everyone to see the show and I think we’re all very proud of it and proud of how the first six turned out. I got a chance to see the first two episodes of this season and it gets better. It’s always nice to know that more than just one country is going to get to experience the show.
What do your friends in the industry think of the character?
A lot of my friends in the industry have called me after episodes and said, “I’m dying laughing now, I can’t believe what you had to do on the show!” It’s so different and they love it.
And since I can’t possibly let you go without asking one Whedon-related question, have you had the chance to check out The Avengers and what did you think?
I did see The Avengers and loved it. I could totally feel his [Whedon's] comedy in there which I loved. His touch was all over the place and I thought it was great.
New episodes of THE L.A. COMPLEX return to both The CW and Much Music in Canada starting Tuesday July 17th at 9PM.