I am always in need of a new comedy, especially in the summer months. After screening the pilot for FX’s Married, I’m ready for it to become the newest addition to my TV watching schedule. Yes, there are a ton of shows and movies that portray what happens when sex or the lack thereof becomes an issue in a couple’s marriage. But I don’t think it’s ever been done quite like this. I laughed. I cringed. I may or may not have laughed and cringed at the same time. I call that a win.
Married is a half hour comedy about being miserably in love. Russ (Nat Faxon) and Lina Bowman (Judy Greer) can barely remember what life was like before kids, debt, and suburbia rained on their romance — but every once in a while, in between the arguments about their declining sex life and who’s driving carpool, they are reminded what drew them together in the first place — they’re best friends. The show also features Russ and Lina’s friend AJ (Brett Gelman), who is recently divorced and pretending he’s over his wife, and their other friend Jess (Jenny Slate), who is married to a much older man who can’t keep up with her.
The situations Russ gets himself in to are crazy. The first episode is very much from his perspective. But I’m hoping to get even more from Lina’s as the season continues. TV Goodness took part in a press call featuring Nat Faxon and Judy Greer where they talked about being on FX, how much of an input they have into their characters and the amazing supporting actors on the show.
On how they got involved in this project Â
Nat Faxon: I met with Andrew Gurland, the creator of the show. I donâ€™t even remember when, a while back, and we had a really nice lunch and sort of got to know each other. I think initially youâ€™re just sort of picking up on each otherâ€™s vibe and beyond just the material and the show, I think youâ€™re wondering whether youâ€™re going to be spending a lot of intense time together and whether youâ€™re going to be excited for that or dreading that. Luckily with Andrew it was excitement, and the next step for me was to audition. I am not at the mega superstar level that Judy Greer is so I had to audition for the part. And then it worked out and then Judy came aboard after that knowing that she had this eye candy to star with.
Judy Greer: Thatâ€™s totally true. Nat was already attached to the project and once I read the script, had my lunch with Andrew, knew that I could stand to be in the same room with him all day every day for many months, yes, then I decided definitely I had to be in it.
On why Married fits in with the FX brand
Judy: The fact that this show was going to be on FX was one of the main reasons I wanted to do it, and I think it does fit with the brand. I think itâ€™s a little raw. Itâ€™s actually pretty raw. Itâ€™s very edgy and funny, and it doesnâ€™t really seem to get all tied up with a nice pretty bow at the end of every episode, which I really like.
On how much input they’ve had with their characters
Nat: I would say that Gurland was extremely collaborative and welcoming to any conversations about the characters, any additions, anything that we felt was important to add. Obviously he had done a ton of work on developing this show and certainly a lot of this stuff was biographical to a certain extent. I think he had a wealth of knowledge from which to pull from, and I think Judy and I being married ourselves too as well, so it was very open, fluid conversations between all three of us as far as the direction we were excited to go take the characters in.
On how much improv makes it into the show
Nat: I would say we did quite a bit of improv on set just because I think it was welcomed and also sometimes we found some fun stuff that wasnâ€™t on the page. But we were also working with a pretty fantastic blueprint, as far as the scripts. They were in really good shape so it wasnâ€™t totally necessary. It was really more just kind of garnish on top of what was already a great meal, if Iâ€™m going to stick with the metaphor.
Judy: Wow, yes.
Nat: Yes, Iâ€™m going to. I did. I stuck with it.
Judy: I never stick with a metaphor. Youâ€™re better for it. I think as far as knowing what ended up in the episodes, I canâ€™t answer that yet because I havenâ€™t seen them all. Thatâ€™ll be fun to see what they picked out of all of the nonsense that we would do every day. Iâ€™m excited about that, and I felt like our improvs were always based on what was already on the page.
On whether there was any subject matter that was off limits
Judy: I donâ€™t remember there being anything off limits. Do you, Nat?
Nat: No, I donâ€™t at all. I think you kind of know what youâ€™re getting into and what youâ€™re signing up for and certainly being on FX and on cable you certainly can get away with more than you can on network TV. I think the sort of darkness and the risks were exciting to us. I donâ€™t think we were everâ€”I donâ€™t think there was anything that was over the line or felt too far, in terms of the stuff we did. I think we sort of knew that going in and that was kind of part of the allure in a sense, to sort of go down sort of a darker alley.
On how they’re similar to their characters
Nat: Iâ€™m exactly like my character so itâ€™s pretty easy. I am married. I have three children. I guess I have a little bit more financial stability probably than Russ does at this very moment in time, but I would say Iâ€™m similar. I also tell my wife that Iâ€™m going to work and then I go surfing and then get in trouble for it later so we are very similar I would say. Thereâ€™s nothing like having a lot of children and being married and going through that. I canâ€™t say there are a lot of differences between us.
Judy: Well, I feel like Lina is way more of a loner than I am. She doesnâ€™t really need much outside of her family, and that is a way that I am different but a way that I also admire her and wish I was more like that. I also like how cranky Lina is, although Iâ€™m pretty cranky. I think in that way weâ€™re similar.
On the show’s excellent supporting cast
Nat: It was a blast working with them. I had actually never worked with Jenny [Slate], Brett [Gelman] or John [Hodgman] in any capacity so I was going in completely unaware of their comedic abilities and soon was made aware as we started working together. I feel like this is very much about marriage and the struggles that Judy and I go through as a couple, but itâ€™s also very much an ensemble. I think the story lines that both Brett and Jenny endure throughout the seasons are a major part of the show.
For Brettâ€™s character, heâ€™s sort of reeling from a divorce and kind of turning to an unhealthy lifestyle, as a way to sort of cope and itâ€™s really tragic in a sense. Itâ€™s very funny but also very sad, and I think that is in line with the tone of this show and what was so attractive to me about it.
And as far as Jennyâ€™s character, itâ€™s the same sort of thing. Sheâ€™s in a marriage to a much older man. I shouldnâ€™t say much older but older by ten years or so. I think they are kind of on different wavelengths essentially as far as where they are in their lives and kind of what they want, and itâ€™s a struggle for them. Again, I think weâ€™re all sort of dealing with different aspects of marriage/divorce, and the tone of being sad but yet identifiable and funny is, I think, something that ties all those storylines together.
The veteran cast assembled for Married is pretty fantastic. Here’s who you need to know:
TV Credits: Nat is probably best known for starring in the one-season Fox series, Ben and Kate. He played Ben, of course. More recently, he appeared in three episodes of the ABC comedy, Trophy Wife.
TV Credits: What hasn’t Judy Greer been in? I think I know her the best from her recurring role as George Bluth’s former assistant on Arrested Development. Some of her other TV credits include Love Monkey, Miss Guided, Two and a Half Men and Californication. One of her other claims to fame is a favorite of mine. She’s the voice of Cheryl Tunt on FX’s Archer. So FX happens to love being in the Judy Greer business. Do you blame them?
Credits: She’s currently getting a lot of attention for starring on the big screen in the controversial comedy, Obvious Child. Her TV Credits include Saturday Night Live, House of Lies, Hello Ladies and she plays Jean-Ralphio’s crazy sister, Mona-Lisa, on NBC’s Parks and Recreation.
TV Credits: I’m still in mourning over the cancellation of Gelman’s NBC comedy, Go On. He played the oh so bizarre Mr. K, who had a bit of a man crush on Matthew Perry’s Ryan King. The show only lasted one season but it was such a good show that deserved to go on…a lot longer. Pun intended.
TV Credits: Just fyi…Hodgman, Gelman and Slate have all starred on the HBO series, Bored to Death. And he’s a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. And in advertising circles, he’s the PC to Justin Long’s Mac guy in all those “Get a Mac” commercials.
TV Goodness Summer Preview Ratings System
Watch Later on DVR
Undecided â€” Need to Watch Some More
Not Watching at All
Like I said before, the topic isn’t new but I love the way this show executes its humor. Some of the situations are ridiculously awesome and Faxon and Greer share a good chemistry. I’m definitely going to Watch Later on DVR. But not too much later. Because this show is funny. And there aren’t that many comedies airing during the summer. So consider me married to FX’s Married.
The Married series premiere airs tonight on FX at 10/9c. By the way, how has there never been a show simply titledÂ “Married” before? Inquiring minds want to know.
Photo Credit for Following Images:Â Prashant Gupta/FX
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