Talking and laughing about TV with Julie and Brandy from THE PEOPLE’S COUCH!
One of my favorite shows on TV these days is Bravo’s THE PEOPLE’S COUCH. In the series, which premieres tonight at 10/9c (Happy Birthday, Amrie), follows groups of friends and family members who sit down to watch TV together, and who agreed to be filmed while doing so, in order for audiences to see what shows they’re reacting to. As a fan of TV, period, it’s nice to see just what they’ll say about shows I watch and even shows I don’t! Every group is a lot of fun (there’s Ayn, Teddi, and Sue; Emerson, Blake, and Scott; The Zeno family; the Resnicks; The Egbars; Cathy and Destiney; Amanda and Kenya; sometimes they have one off groups, too), but one of my faves has to be the ladies I got to speak with yesterday, Julie Goldman and Brandy Howard. In our hilarious call (where I laughed from start to finish while they drove around and talked to me), we talked all about the show – how they joined, why you should watch, what they’re working on next, you name it.
Check out what they had to say as you read more below!
One of the big things I thought about – how did the show come together? Was it an opportunity you explored, did Bravo approach you? What made that decision for you guys?
Brandy: They didn’t approach us. I wish we were that prolific [laughs]. We had heard about they were holding a casting and we heard about it from a few different people. The casting itself was pretty janky. You didn’t know it was Bravo. It was no money at all. Literally, no money, and it was just to do a test of this sort of pilot of people watching TV, I was like, I’m not doing something for no money [everyone laughs]. You couldn’t just get it, you had to audition, so it was this whole process! So we ended up, it’s a long story, but we ended up hearing later after we had already decided to do it that it was Bravo, so it was just sort of serendipitous. We didn’t know before we auditioned that it was Bravo, but we were so happy that we…that I stopped being a bitch and said let’s do this pilot!
Julie: For the record, she never stopped being a bitch [laughs].
Brandy: That’s true.
Julie: Still hasn’t!
Did you sit down and watch TV together as a duo or was it something where you tried it for this audition and now you do more through the show?
Julie: No we totally did it before. When we work together, working generally degrades into hanging out and drinking and watching TV and then when we’re not working, we’re pretty much watching TV [laughs].
Brandy: We’re really, really, really close, and we spend a ton of time together, just even when we’re not writing, but I mean, a lot of writing is spent procrastinating.
Julie: Yeah, and thinking and talking about talking shit and getting drunk and talking about how you’re not writing, and then complaining and more complaining and complaining about not writing and then writing and then not writing. You know…
Brandy: They could tell, the casting people, could probably tell. We actually knew quite a number of friends and comedians that auditioned. Really funny, funny, people that we respect. I think they could tell who really watches TV. Because the only people that we’ve known who didn’t get it but have gotten close were like couples that were married or actual families and then any other comedians we knew, they just tried to get together and do the audition, they didn’t get it because you could tell that they didn’t really hang out.
What has been the reaction from people – it’s been fun to interact with everyone on social media? Are you getting responses from people; what are they saying about watching the show?
Julie: Whenever I run into people, the thing I hear the most is “we watch you as a family.” Families sit and can watch this show together because there’s no fear of anything grotesque or dirty happening.
Brandy: I mean it’s pretty edgy.
Julie: Well, the clips and everything, and we talk so much shit…you know, I don’t know. But that is what we heard. That people like to sit and can sit and watch with their whole family and I think it becomes a point of discussion. In a way that when you sit and watch a full episode of a television show, it’s different. It becomes such a meta “now we’re watching people watch a TV and we’re commenting on the people and we’re watching the people watch the TV.” You know what I mean? The whole weird thing!
Brandy: Also, one thing I get a lot – people either love it or hate it. We definitely get a lot of people that hate it.
Julie: Including my mother…
Brandy: Yeah, Julie’s mom is like “it’s unwatchable!”
Julie: In my eyeballs…looked me in the eye and said the show is not watchable. “Can’t watch it. We’re not watching it!” Both my parents.
Brandy: “It’s unwatchable Julie!”
Julie: She looks me in the eyes and said “It’s unwatchable Julie. The show is unwatchable.” [laughs] “We can’t even sit down and watch for you! We can’t. We can’t. We don’t understand? What is it? Does anything happen?” No, nothing happens, I’m on a TV show. That’s what’s happening. “Yeah, but we don’t even hear you talk that much….what are you doing?”
Brandy: And then we get “oh my husband,” because these men and boyfriends and husbands are forced to watch Bravo or Bravo’s on, and it’s like, oh these housewives, and they can’t take it, and then they’re really like, oh this is just beyond annoying and tragic. Now I’m watching idiots watching TV [laughs] but then! It’s always the husband who was telling them to turn it off, or they’ll be standing behind me and they’ll watch!
Julie: The best thing that ever happened to me. I was doing stand up in Savannah, GA. I went to Paula Deen’s restaurant, went into the gift shop. I was with another comedian friend and we were, whatever, just perusing through Paula Deen’s things. This woman ran through the gift shop to me, yelling “oh my god, oh my god, you’re on the show! You’re on that show!” I was so excited to be recognized at Paula Deen’s restaurant in Savannah, and I was like, yeah! She’s like “the couch show, right, you’re on the couch show?” And I said, yep, yep, and then she yells across the store again to her friend and literally said “Mary, Mary, come here, it’s the guy from show!” [laughs] She thought I was the guy from the show and that me and Brandy were like
Brandy: Like a boy/girl
Julie: Like a husband and wife team.
God love her, Mary and her friend.
Julie: Right? I literally stood there and talked to her for a good 5 minutes and she didn’t even register anything different than what she thought. It was amazing. I didn’t say anything; you can think whatever you want, if that’s what works for you? Good for you [laughs].
What is the process of shooting – do you sit down at a certain time, or throughout the week? What’s that like?
Brandy: We just watch the shows pretty much as they’re on. Sometimes we’ll watch an advanced copy, but usually that’s only going to be like a Bravo show. I don’t know how they get permission. I mean, we watch a lot of stuff right on our DVR! I always find that confusing that we’re just allowed to watch whatever the hell comes on TV [laughs] you know what I mean? Like, they don’t get permission for some of that stuff, so it’s kind of interesting. It’s exciting for us when we get to watch advance reunions. That’s like a definite perk! We would never, ever get to watch something like GAME OF THRONES early. I mean, we watched the GOT premiere, or we were going to, Julie came over, because it’s my house that we shoot at, and I don’t even have HBO so I used Julie’s HBO GO password and the whole system crashed because everyone in LA was watching the GAME OF THRONES premiere on the New York feed. We basically just watch the shows with everyone else.
Are you required to watch any specific shows?
Brandy: Yeah, they kind of tell us what to watch [while Julie laughs in the background], but Julie will watch anything!! [laughs]
Julie: Most of it! That’s true. I will watch anything. Almost anything. Almost anything. I mean…no, I’ll watch anything.
Brandy: I think the shows we wouldn’t watch ever are like SEX TOOK ME TO THE ER and some of those…
Julie: Re-enactment shows I wouldn’t necessarily click on…
Brandy: But we did use to watch I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS PREGNANT religiously.
Julie: That’s true! [laughs]
Brandy: You never know!
I love that it’s set up in everyone’s house. Do you know the other families or like Blake and his group?
Julie: We know them now. Everyone has pretty much met. Very briefly.
Brandy: Julie’s gay. I don’t know if you knew that? [everyone laughs] We hope we’re not giving anything away here?
Julie: Oh great, now I have to call my parents…Always giving my secrets away!
Brandy: She’s like in the gay mafia, so we knew, of course, the gay guys, kind of. We see them socially, purely by accident quite a lot, I think. Like, the Zenos, the black family with the son, we actually like love them, have a lot in common with them, so we do make it a point to hang out with them. Everyone else, we like everyone else on the show, but we only just see them briefly, you know, at like wrap parties or dinners or things like that.
It’s such a fun show – why do you think it’s a show people should sit and watch? What do you say when someone says “why should I watch THE PEOPLE’S COUCH?”
Julie: I think it’s just like a surprisingly easy show to watch. If you’re a person who likes TV, first of all I would say if you’re a person who just likes TV in general, you would like this, because it’s about TV, and people watching TV. You get to be in on a conversation about TV. Shows that maybe you wouldn’t have known of, and you see a few clips of it, and then maybe you’ll go watch the show.
Brandy: You learn about shows you might not have been exposed to or given a chance. And if you like social media, for me, if something annoying or controversial happens on TV or in the news, I immediately want to go to Twitter and I’ll be with Julie and will be like “I have to see what everyone’s saying about, like, Donald Trump saying whatever.” or Nene on the reunion. So it satisfies that, getting to hear people react. A lot of times you do want to know – everyone’s pissed like you are or horrified. It’s not for everything. A lot of millennials don’t even have TVs.
Julie: That’s true, too. It’s also like an evergreen show where you don’t always have to know what’s happening. You can pop in, you can have it on. Sometimes, I like to have shows on when I’m cleaning.
Brandy: It’s a perfect show for that.
Julie: Exactly. It’s soothing, easy show if you like to have that kind of thing on when you just need to have something on.
Brandy: So you’re not alone, or when you’re out of the room.
What are your favorite shows – to watch together or to watch alone?
Julie: Um…well…oh god. Ok, well, I live for FAMILY GUY, AMERICAN DAD, and SOUTH PARK, so let’s say that’s the trifecta and act like that’s one show. Other than that, I get into GAME OF THRONES and what else do I like.
Brandy: She binge watches!
Julie: I do binge watch things! So like, I tried watching THE WALKING DEAD when it came out at the beginning and I, for whatever reason, just wasn’t into it, but like, literally, two weeks ago, watched every season in a three day period. Like it gets deep. But now I’m obsessed with it. I’m like truly obsessed with THE WALKING DEAD. So stuff like that. I like fantasy stuff, you know, zombies, and shit.
Brandy: I don’t really like a lot of scripted. I like J’AMIE: PRIVATE SCHOOL GIRL.
Julie: Oh my god, Love that!
Julie: Best thing ever.
Brandy: So that kind of thing can get me!
Julie: But of course THE HOUSEWIVES.
Brandy: I love all reunion shows. I don’t even care if I watch the show [Julie laughs]. Reunions are my favorite, they’re so good! I’ll end up and going back and watching it. I never watched VANDERPUMP RULES but Julie did.
Julie: Oh yeah!
Brandy: and then I watched the reunion and it’s on now!
Julie: You like human, real, like, you like glamorous good looking people doing glamorous sexy good looking people stuff. That’s what you like. I like dragons and wizards and cartoon monsters and things of that nature. But I do like the sexy glamorous people, too! Like I will watch every single HOUSEWIVES show. Every single one.
Brandy: We watch everyone! We watched Miami. We watched DC. Julie watches Melbourne.
Julie: Oh god, I’ll watch any city you give me HOUSEWIVES in. Any of them! I love it. I love it. I love the married, rich people.
Brandy: It’s also women, of a certain age. We don’t care if they’re acting crazy. Crazy old menopausal women!
Julie: Yeah, bring it! Bring it on! The thing is, if you look at the landscape of TV, the one area that women dominate is reality. They could be doing whatever, and you said it’s a bad representation of women, but at least they’re there. And they’re doing stuff, and they’re making money, they’re..
Brandy: not ashamed…
Julie: Yeah, they’re not ashamed, they don’t have to be some slut in the corner being used. I don’t know, I think that’s why I probably like reality. Because I like seeing women do that.
Brandy: We met Andy Cohen, we went to his book signing before we were ever on THE PEOPLE’S COUCH, and Julie like immediately said to him, “Thank you, you’re the only person who puts women of that age on TV” and now, people do it, but he was definitely the first.
Julie: Right, he was the first. He genuinely likes women, you can tell, regardless of whatever happens on those HOUSEWIVES shows, they’re at least there, and they’re being represented and it’s cool.
You see the good, the bad, and the ugly. They let everyone in,
Julie: Yeah, right, and nobody’s controlling. I mean, I guess they are. You know, reality is controlled, but at the same time, I know, it’s a different control. It’s just a different control than it would be in a scripted show where women are, I think, mainly used for the benefit of men.
Brandy: What I love about it, when I watch like WATCH WHAT HAPPENS: LIVE, and they’re on there, and it’s like Tamra or Vicki Gunvalson, and I’ll just be delighted because I’m like, she’s acting insane, it’s being celebrated, and it’s not a scripted thing where I’m judging a woman who is 55 and wasted in Cancun. She’s being celebrated for being this crazy ass 50 year old crazy lady, it’s so awesome!
What are you working on right now, what’s next?
Brandy: We write, we’ve written like 6 completed scripts. We used to write like feature-length screenplays, but we wanted to start writing TV. We used to write on FASHION POLICE and we wrote on a show on Oxygen, but right now, we’ve written a half hour comedy sort of based on ourselves, that we’re shopping around. It’s called PUSHING IT and it’s about us pushing 40, basically it’s like, two real life friend go on a drug fueled mid-life crisis when they realize they can’t relate to any friends their own age anymore. It’s kind of like ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS meets…
Julie: BROAD CITY, I would say.
Has the availability of new locations like Hulu, like Netflix, like Amazon, has that changed your approach to writing at all?
Brandy: We definitely have the knowledge that like something like a Netflix or Amazon, we were told that they want their things to be highly serialized. We can’t really like…do..that [laughs]. We can, we do, but in the past, this is the first script we’ve done where we just really did what we were feeling and we just went for it, and it’s really edgy. In the past, we’ve said “Oh we’re going to try to write a network sitcom” which is more what you can imagine. It just sort of affects…
Julie: The environment, I think, when we’re sitting and writing, we think “can I say or do this?” Well, yeah, you can now. You can say and do anything, when maybe before you couldn’t. The thing is, no matter how many Netflixes there are or how many whatever, you don’t ever know, and you don’t ever know what anybody wants and you do need to just write from your gut and do what you want, and see how the chips fall. You’re never going to please anybody!
THE PEOPLE’S COUCH airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c on Bravo!