Edgy limited-run series teams Denis Leary and Elizabeth Perkins
Denis Leary wasn’t looking for another series nor a Christmas comedy, but both found him in one package.
The “Rescue Me” and “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” veteran stars in “The Moodys,” a limited-run Fox sitcom about a dysfunctional Chicago family reunited for the holidays, for better or worse. The show airs two of its six episodes on each of three nights starting Wednesday, Dec. 4, then continuing the following Monday and Tuesday. Elizabeth Perkins (“Weeds”) plays Leary’s wife, with Jay Baruchel (“Man Seeking Woman”), Chelsea Frei (“Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter”) and Francois Arnaud (“The Borgias”) as the couple’s grown children.
“It’s probably the craziest shooting schedule I’ve ever been involved with,” the dryly witty Leary muses, “with the exception of a couple of reshoots for movies. We go on the air a month after we wrapped, and I’ve never done anything that crazy before.”
Still, Leary adds that he has confidence in the outcome largely because of Bob Fisher, one of its writers, directors and executive producers: “He and I adapted the British show ‘Sirens’ together for USA Network, and we had a great time. I say ‘No’ to everything, basically, but he’s one of the people on my short list. I’m always looking to work with somebody I know or somebody I’m really interested in working with. Nobody can guarantee that anything is going to be good or even middling. You can only do the work, so I want to have a good time doing it.”
Leary played a Christmas Eve criminal in the 1994 movie “The Ref.” He admits “it’s hard to convince me” to attempt edgy holiday humor again, “but the tone of this felt a lot like that. That’s how Bob sold it to me, actually. He said, ‘This is like “The Ref” as a television show,’ and that was a good hook.”
Also a recurring player on TNT’s “Animal Kingdom,” Leary often writes his own material, but he says that wasn’t a concern for him in the case of “The Moodys.” He notes, “There was certainly a lot of playing around and improvising on the set, but this guy was written as someone with a big heart but a hard external shell. It’s clear this family loves each other, but man, they have a lot of stuff to get through.”
While “The Moodys” is only a one-shot project for now, Leary is ready should Fox decide to order more of it. “We all signed up with that idea in mind,” he confirms. “If the thing works, the game plan is to bring the Moodys back with a different family event … a wedding, an anniversary, a funeral. All of their resentments and grudges could go on.”