We preview the MELISSA & JOEY season finale with Melissa Joan Hart

MELISSA JOAN HARTI say it to anyone that listens but seriously – MELISSA & JOEY has easily become one of my favorite shows this summer (and it’s not just because of my cousin Joey Lawrence).  The show tackles family issues while deftly handling a “will-they-won’t-they” relationship between the leads that if written or acted in the slightest of wrong ways, can throw off the chemistry of the cast.  This season, we’ve seen Melissa and Joey flirt back and forth, each toying with the idea of “maybe there is something else there” that was all brought to a head in the first part of the finale that found the two of them drinking the “kool-aid” – a witch’s brew from Doris Roberts’ kooky grandma chracter who thinks Mel is Joe’s ex-wife Tiffany.  Tonight, we get to see how that all plays out!  I spoke with Melissa Joan Hart about what to expect tonight, as well as their special Christmas episode, and beyond – check it out.

I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Oh it’s going to be good, I promise!

What can you tease about the finale?
Well, the last one, we ended with Mel and Joe hopped up on some rabbit’s brew, thanks to Grandma, who is trying to get them to get pregnant.  These two episodes that we did, when we were shooting them, we had such fun doing it.  We had such a blast.  We really felt that it should be its own spin-off because the cast was so incredible and we had such a blast.  The next one is going to start off with a bang, and the fans that have been begging for Mel and Joe to be together, it’ll really start to answer some of their questions.  That should be exciting for all.  It was a little odd to shoot it, but we did it, and it turned out great.  I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised.

DORIS ROBERTS, JOEY LAWRENCE, MELISSA JOAN HART, TAYLOR SPREITLERWhat I love about the show is has done this season is that we’re starting to see little glimpses between Mel and Joe that there might be something there. It feels really natural, doesn’t feel forced.
The thing is, once we get those characters together, the writers have a really tough job, and Joey and I have a tricky job of trying to keep comedy in a situation where people are happy and in love!  Less inspiration comes from people falling in love as it does people falling out of love! If you look at the music industry, every song is about heartbreak.  If you look at everything that is funny and good and out there, it’s always about the heart ache, and not the romantic, wonderful flowers, sort of the honeymoon phase of the relationships.  The writers and we have a job to do keeping it funny if we get these characters together, and we really commit to it.  We have to go the route of like MAD ABOUT YOU or one of those comedies where it really works.  If you look at all the big ones, they always have to break them back up again.

You don’t want to have to get together and break up – it’s tedious to play!
It is!   Like they did with Ross and Rachel, Sam and Diane.  It’s tricky, and hopefully once we do it, we do it right!

JOEY LAWRENCE, MELISSA JOAN HARTWhat can you tease about what’s been talked about next season, beyond where it ends in the finale?
The writers have it really mapped out for the 40 more.  Wait, how many more do we have?  Yeah, 40 more.  I keep losing count.  I feel like we’ve already done 20 of those.  They have a really great map of how things are going to play out.  I haven’t’ exactly been privy to that.  The next 20 are going to be Mel and Joe sort of courting, if you will, and how that will play out.  And for the next 20, who knows, maybe they’ll get pregnant, I have no idea [laughs].  It’s all kind of up in the air right now.  And of course, things take shape as the season continues.  If we find actors that come in that we love.  There might be a guy that Mel starts to flirt with and we like him and we want to keep him around, so we might do a little break up episode.  You just never know how things will go.  I think the writers are hard at work right now on the next season, and starting to shape it.  I think they’re probably 6 or 8 episodes in right now for the next season.

What I love too, besides the Mel and Joe relationship – the family aspect is so great.  I love that the kids have become your kids – what happens when their parents return?
We actually do!  We shot an episode this year – we did a very special Christmas episode, and their mom, played by Jaime Pressly, will show up.

That should be fun!
It’s a great episode.  It’s just too bad that it’s only a 30 minute, or 22 minute episode.  It should have been a one hour special really because there’s a lot to cover in it.  And of course when you have that much to cover, some of the comedy sort of leaves, because you have so much exposition that you have to explore so you don’t get to be as funny as you want to be.  For Christmas, their mom has been let out of prison for a special Christmas gift.

MJ3016-Kiss-1What are you hearing about why people love the show?  I, for one, can’t get enough!
I think people were having a hard time finding it, because unless you’re watching ABCFamily, you’re not really aware that it’s on, but once people find it, they’re pretty hooked.  It’s a nostalgia for what used to be, the kind of comedy we grew up on, that we’re used to.  Most people I talk to that are my age don’t necessarily connect with PARKS AND REC or THE OFFICE.  Of course, many do, but then there are some that just don’t, or like, THE MINDY [PROJECT].  Some of those are difficult in their comedy, it’s not what we were used to, or raised on.  It’s also a little bit of work to watch those comedies.  THE COSBY SHOW, FAMILY TIES, the Thursday night NBC line up, is where we all were.  We made it home for that.  That’s where we got the idea of doing this show as well – we wanted to bring back that old school comedy.  At the end of the night, my husband and I get in bed, and whether we had a good or bad day, it’s like, what do you want to watch?  We always go back to FRIENDS, or SEINFELD, he’s got COACH on.  The old school comedies.  You don’t have to think too hard, you don’t have to watch last week’s.  I think we’re missing that right now.  I think that’s where MELISSA & JOEY really steps in to help – the entertainment factor, helps to have a good time, not have to worry about it. You fall asleep?  Who cares, pick it up tomorrow.  I’m watching HOUSE OF CARDS right now, and you have to be ready for that show [laughs].  My husband and I last night we were like, I’m too tired, I can’t handle it right now.

There are so many shows where you hit 11 or midnight, and it’s like, forget, it I can’t concentrate, I need something easy!
I want something mindless, I want something silly that makes me laugh.  Those things you have to be specific about it.  When we have enough time, we snuggle and watch HOUSE OF CARDS.  Otherwise it’s FRIENDS reruns, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, and RULES was just taken off, so there’s really not much that we watch.  My husband and I will watch MELISSA & JOEY, which is weird, because it’s the first time I ever watched a TV show of my own!

All these years, and that’s the first one?  That’s great!
It is!  People ask me about SABRINA or CLARISSA and I don’t remember a piece of them.  I never watched them back.

MELISSA & JOEY airs Wednesdays at 8/7c. For more information on MELISSA & JOEY, head over to ABC Family.