‘The Vampire Diaries’ alum moves into TV comedy for the first time
Q: Since doing a comedy series is something new for you, how did you prepare for “Fam”?
A: I had never been to a sitcom set in my life, so I spent about a month visiting various sets. CBS was very gracious in letting me go to the “Big Bang Theory” set, and I spoke to (executive producer) Chuck Lorre and he gave me some advice. Then, I went to the “Mom” set and watched Allison Janney and Anna Faris. I just made my rounds and sat and watched and learned, and it was really helpful to do that before stepping onto my own set for the first time.
Q: As with the same network’s “The Neighborhood” this season, “Fam” is very much a racially blended comedy. Do you have any thoughts on that?
A: It’s something that I’m proud none of us ever really mention, or that we never really shine a light on. It’s sort of a nonissue. We live in a day and a time where that doesn’t need to be highlighted … I mean, love is love. It doesn’t matter what shape or form you find it in.
If you love the person for who they are, the external factors shouldn’t matter. I’m proud that the show is very inclusive, but it’s not something that we lean into or make into a big deal. It’s not, or at least it shouldn’t be.
Q: Are there any common threads between your own family life and that of your “Fam” character?
A: The relationship between (half-sisters) Clem and Shannon, I can relate to very much. My brother and I had a very tumultuous relationship like that growing up. It’s a very fine line between love and hate … and I definitely loved him, and he definitely hated me. (In the show,) Shannon is that annoying presence in Clem’s life.
Clem initially doesn’t want her around, but they’re so similar, Clem eventually feels a responsibility to help her go through life without having to deal with the same issues.
Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.