Mary Elizabeth Ellis talks HAPPY ENDINGS, NEW GIRL, and more!
What do IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, HAPPY ENDINGS, NEW GIRL, and last year’s woefully under watched PERFECT COUPLES have in common, besides being four comedies that I would choose to watch, on repeat, as many times as I’m allowed, in lieu of so much other junk that makes it on air? Thanks to a guest starring turn tonight on HAPPY ENDINGS, the answer to that is Mary Elizabeth Ellis.
In tonight’s all new episode, she plays Daphne, one of the gang’s oldest friends, and, surprise surprise, Penny’s interest, or lack thereof, in spending time with her starts to backfire on Ms Hartz. I had the chance to spend some time chatting with Mary Elizabeth about tonight’s episode and what’s happening when she heads back to NEW GIRL. We also lamented the death of PERFECT COUPLES and talked about whether we’ll see The Waitress again in S8 of SUNNY – check it out!
I love when I see your name pop up or your face pop up on a show that I’m watching. You seem to gravitate towards the comedies that I enjoy – it’s great that we’ll see you on HAPPY ENDINGS this season!
Oh thank you – that’s so nice.
Were you a fan of HAPPY ENDINGS and you wanted to be a part of it or was it your typical read-for-the-part role? How did you get involved?
It is a show that I really like and have watched. I wam friends with Zach and Casey. I had done the pilot of NEW GIRL with Damon. I knew Adam from Upright Citizens Brigade, so I kind of knew a lot of the cast, and they just came to me, and offered the role to me, and I had a 7-week old baby at the time, so I was like, I don’t know I’m going do this [laughs] and then I read the script. And the script is so funny, and the character is just so different than the characters I play. I usually play, someone who is, I don’t know, pissed off, or edgy, so it was fun to be totally sweet, and so sweet that I’m crazy! It was just a really well written script, and I was excited.
Reading the description, you’re someone who is overly nice to the point that Penny can’t handle it. Can you tell a little about the storyline for the episode, and what we can look forward to?
My character is someone that grew up with Penny, and Alex and Jane, and I guess I always trying to get Penny to have tea with me when we were children and she always lied to avoid me. And I grew up with them, I guess, because I had, apparently, a giant crush on Dave in high school. I move into town, and because I’m back, and Penny doesn’t want to have to deal with me, she tells everyone that they have to keep up these lies for her, so everyone starts lying, and the lies lead to a crazy spiral, until it’s just out of control.
Is this a character that you could see coming back at some point?
I think so. She has this past with them, and she’s just moved into their neighborhood. There is closure at the end of the episode, but she’s still around. I would love to come back. It would definitely be fun to work on that set again. It was an awesome experience.
When I’ve talked to members of the cast, you can tell both in interviews and on screen that they’re just in love with each other. IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY is like that too – where everyone is in love with what they’re doing, so it makes for a better final product.
Absolutely. You can tell when people are happy on a set, and when they’re not. It was a really great set, everyone seems to really enjoy being there.
I saw on your Twitter that you’re heading back to the set of NEW GIRL. What brings Caroline back into everybody’s lives?
I think the first episode, I can’t remember what the name of the first one we shot was, but I think, everybody has these relationships going on on NEW GIRL right now, and it’s just kind of each one of the main characters hashing out their issues of their relationship. I guess when relationships come up, you have to deal with Nick’s crazy relationship with Caroline.
NEW GIRL is another great show. Like I said, you seem to know how to pick them, obviously, with your history on IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY, too. Will we see The Waitress return during Season 8? Has it been discussed yet?
I’ll definitely be back. I don’t know for how many episodes yet. They’re going to start writing Season 8 at the beginning of April, so they’ll probably get on that in a couple weeks!
I was a huge fan, too, of PERFECT COUPLES, and your chemistry with David Walton in particular. Would you love to return in another weekly show like that?
Definitely. It was a blast. I really enjoyed it. The great thing about that show is that it was so well written, the cast was awesome. My character was like a crazy person that had it together enough that she didn’t seem like a crazy person, and those are the characters that I really love to play, like somebody who loses it every once in a while!
And congratulations on the birth of [Russell]. That’s so exciting for you and Charlie! Has his birth changed how you approach what roles you want to take, or has it not been there yet, where his existence is starting to impact what roles you’re interested in.
It changes it in that I’m definitely more picky about what I’ll go out for because if I’m going to be spending a lot of time working on something, I want it to be something that I really, really like. Otherwise, I’d rather be spending time with my awesome baby!
What other shows do you have on the DVR?
Yeah, I watch HAPPY ENDINGS, and I watch NEW GIRL. We watch, I don’t know, honestly, I’m like an actor who should be slapped on the wrist because I do watch some reality television. I love like PROJECT RUNWAY, and TOP CHEF.
Those are classy reality shows that you can say you watch! Those aren’t trainwrecks.
Yeah, it’s TODDLERS & TIARAS that I should get in trouble for because I just can’t stop. It’s just a fantastic train wreck.
HAPPY ENDINGS airs on ABC tonight at 9:30/8:30c. ME’s NEW GIRL episodes will air later this season, and be on the lookout for IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY season 8 in the fall!