Attention BUNHEADS addicts who may-or-may-not be suffering through serious withdrawal following a shortened, albeit delightful summer season: Have we got some good news for you. Bailey Buntain (Ginny) guest stars on tonight’s episode of THE MIDDLE. And while we can’t promise any Amy Sherman Palladino-esque patter or mind-blowing musical interludes, we can guarantee that there will be plenty of laughs. Particulaly when sophomore Sue decides to take Buntain’s freshman Jenna under her wing. Or at least that was the distinct impression the affable actress left with us following a bubbly one-on-one in which she talked about her guest starring role, the challenges that come with acting opposite the hilarious Eden Sher and what’s next for her character when BUNHEADS returns.
Since ABC and ABC Family are both within the Disney family of companies, was this role just offered to you or did you have to audition?
Bailey Buntain: No I auditioned for it. I’ve been on our hiatus from BUNHEADS, so guest starring gigs — which involves a shorter time commitment — was really a good fit and a goal of mine. Plus, I’ve been watching THE MIDDLE since the first season and was like psycho fan girl. When I saw the script, I was like “Oh My God!” I have to get this, so it worked out perfectly.
Is it strange stepping into a show that you’re such a big fan of and working with actors that you feel like you know having spent so much time watching them on screen?
Brick [Atticus Shaffer] wasn’t whispering to himself?! Yes, I think it’s two fold. On the one hand you’re standing next to somebody that you’ve watched and you’re like “Where are your braces Eden [Sher]? What’s going on?” But on the other hand, I think it really really helps to walk into something that is already established where you know what was going on, are familiar with the characters, understand their lives and what they’re like. It was kind of funny, but it helped.
What can you tell me about your character?
I play Jenna Taylor, she is a brand new baby freshman at the same high school that Sue and Axl go to. Sue being a sophomore has decided to mentor a freshman and ends up mentoring Jenna. Unfortunately for Sue — who had a really hard time as a freshman getting to her locker and trying out for things — Jenna is totally that girl who doesn’t have to try very hard, is nice, makes friends easy and just fits in. So it’s really funny to watch Sue give her advice, I had a hard time not laughing while we were filming it.
Having met Eden Sher in real life — who is nothing like her character of Sue — what was it like acting opposite her, did you struggle to keep a straight face?
Yeah it was really funny. She would show up on set wearing the craziest outfits, printed pants, scrunched socks, braces, retainer… and to watch her morph into Sue it was really hard to not laugh, but we got through it.
Between Ginny on BUNHEADS and Jenna on THE MIDDLE, which character would you say is more similar to your real life persona?
Oh gosh! Ginny is kind of an old soul which definitely sounds like me, pragmatic and thinking everything through. While Jenna is a little bit more relaxed, easygoing and doesn’t try too hard which may be me as I get older, but definitely not me in high school. I was a total nerd, so it’s fun getting to play someone who’s not.
Is there anything at all you can tease about the second half of BUNHEADS first season?
If I knew, I would, but they have that script under lock and key. We start in a few weeks and all of us [the cast] have been texting each other. A bunch of stuff hit the fan in the last episode, so it really could go in five different directions, I’m dying for the table read.
And finally, were you aware going into BUNHEADS just how special GILMORE GIRLS was and what a unique voice Amy Sherman-Palladino brings to the table?
Absolutely! I own the complete GILMORE GIRLS on DVD. It was my favorirte show growing up, I loved it. I was obsessed with Rory, wanted Lorelai to be my mom and wanted to date Dean. I was all about it, so it was really exciting to learn that Amy Sherman-Palladino was behind BUNHEADS. She has a very unique, strong voice and is very involved in her shows. Everything goes through her and is approved by her so it was great that I was familiar with GILMORE GIRLS. Of course, it’s a whole different game when you’re actually learning the dialogue and have to spit it out that fast. I definitely was aware of it and was so thankful that I get to work with her.
THE MIDDLE airs Wednesdays at 8PM on ABC (CityTV in Canada) and stars Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher and Atticus Shaffer. Catch up with past episodes you may have missed online at clicktowatch.tv