We talk “Weird Ashley” with Katlin Mastandrea from THE MIDDLE
Anyone who knows me knows that I love THE MIDDLE. I love the Heck family. I love the absurdity but realism of the Hecks, their neighbors, and their friends. I love how they don’t forget the past and how Axl’s unfortunate date to the prom last year became Sue’s Wrestlerette friend and Axl’s unfortunate date to the prom again this year. That prom date is “Weird Ashley” portrayed with conviction by newcomer Katlin Mastandrea.
I chatted a bit about the future of “Weird Ashley” (and Axl…) with Katlin this week (she’s on Twitter, now, too) and she’s optimistic that we haven’t seen the end of her just yet!
Every time I talk to someone from THE MIDDLE, I can’t help but gush over how it’s one of my favorite shows on TV. So funny and so true. Were you a fan of the show before you got involved?
Yeah, we’ve watched every single episode [laughs].
What can you tell me about what we can look forward to for Ashley?
In the episodes that aired, Ashley is in Sue’s Wrestlerettes, but the wrestling season is only going on for so long, so Weird Ashley has to find something else to do. She joined the Wrestlerettes to get close to Axl.
Ah yes, harboring a little crush on him, for sure, which Axl doesn’t help, obviously by continuing to ask her to the prom!
I can only say a little bit of it [laughs]. I can’t spoil! On May 9, we have the prom episode, where it shows what happens at the prom that Axl asked Ashley to. It’s quite good!
I have this feeling that Ashley and Axl are kind of meant to be.
I’m just going to say dancing is expected [laughs]. I can’t give too much away!
We were introduced to the character last year, and it immediately clicked how great this character is. Did you know last year that we’d see you recurring this year?
I didn’t know officially, but, like, my mom and I are going, okay, it’s a little bit too weird of a storyline to have Axl in there, but if they want to progress the story and make it even funnier for Axl, they’d bring me back, and fortunately, that happened!
You mentioned being a fan of the show first – what about the show was it that you enjoyed the most?
Honestly, it’s the humor. It’s a humor that I don’t see a lot on many television shows. Axl running around in his boxer shorts all the time, and Brick. With the whisper thing. I just love the humor!
Do you have other shows that you watch and compare to THE MIDDLE?
I’m going in my head of all my shows. Oh, RAISING HOPE.
When people ask what I watch, I have to say “well, let me tell you what I don’t; it’s easier that way!”
What else do you have coming up besides THE MIDDLE, and what can we hope to see you in going forward?
I did go on a couple of auditions this week, so I’m waiting to hear back from those [editor's note: while we were on the call, Katlin got the news that this was official]. And I can’t say too much about it, but I am working on a feature film.
Was there one thing, in your life, that made you want to be an actor? One moment where you said “Ok, this is what I want to do?”
I think I’ve always known. My mom jokes that when I was little, I always liked to make people laugh. I don’t remember it, but I still have snippets of it. She said, one day, I came home from school, and sat down at the table, very professional. I started talking to her, and said “Ok, I would like to be in acting, so we need to get to California somehow.”
[laughs] How does a mom take that, knowing “here is my young daughter saying we’re going to California?
She said that she was surprised I was very professional, so she said she’d think about it, and we’d talk about it later, and I just kind of headed to my room and started playing video games.
What were some of your favorite shows when you were younger?
I would have to say THE ANGRY BEAVERS. My younger brother, we’d run around. He’d have the spiky hair, and he’d be one of the beavers, and I’d be Daggett. We could recall certain episodes, and recite the dialogue; yeah it was fun!
Is there someone, an actor or actress, who you’ve watched during their career and would love to follow in their footsteps, so to speak?
I’d have to say, there’s a lot of them, but Helena Bonham Carter. There is something about her acting that just draws me in, and at the same time, it’s all these fun, wonderful characters.
It has to be fun to play a character like Ashley, too, who can get away with a creepy dark box, and a cape at the prom. Is it fun to get away with that different character?
It’s really fun. All of the crew members, that one episode, they’re all like, “What’s in the black box, don’t disturb Ashley, she’s going to hex us.” It becomes the running joke for the week.
Do you think we’ll see you beyond this season as the show continues?
I hope so. From what I know up to a certain point in the script, so far, there’s a cliffhanger! I hope they do, otherwise, it’s like, what happens now!!
Why do you think that people should tune into THE MIDDLE?
It has this humor, but it has very real situations that people have gone through, that people can relate to. Poor Sue, not getting into any clubs at all. It’s all real life stuff, but at the same time, we’re just joking, so you don’t have to take it so seriously. We’ve been there, but on the other hand, these situations are goofy!