Interview with Jaime Pressly & Katie Finneran from I Hate My Teenage Daughter

Recently Jaime Pressly (My Name is Earl) and Katie Finneran (Wonderfalls), from the new FOX comedy, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, took the time to speak with journalists. It’s a great multi-camera family comedy that follows single moms, best friends, and former nerds, who fear their spoiled daughters are turning out just like the mean girls who tormented them throughout high school.

Annie (Pressly), who was raised in a strict, religious household where she had no freedom, allows her daughter, Sophie (Kristi Lauren) to have free reign. Annie’s best friend Nikki (Finneran), once the overweight outcast, is now a pretty Southern belle who also allows her daughter, Mackenzie (Aisha Dee) to do as she wants.

You’ll see the moms deal with school dances, curfews, rules, and so much more, all the while dealing with ex-husbands, love interests, and their own insecurities. It’s not just for parents, either. There’s humor for everyone to enjoy. Jump ahead to see what the ladies had to say about their new sitcom and why you should be watching.

On why they wanted to do this show

Jaime Pressly: I can say for me it was—in order for me to come back to TV, being that Earl is still on and that character, Joy, was such strong character, I have to be able to play something that was completely opposite of her so that everybody didn’t think I was playing a different version of her. And this character is definitely that.

She comes from a religious background and a military father, is completely unaware of anything that has to do with pop culture, and she had her daughter when she was in college and is really kind of the more grounded one, but, is quite quirky and a bit of a dork. Both characters are a bit of goof-balls.

But, I also like the relationship between the two of us—myself and Katie—Nicki and Annie—because, that’s really what this show is about. Because as a single mom, myself, I know that I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my friends and my best friend since I was five is named Katie Mack and when I met Katie Finneran they were so similar, it just kind of felt like the right fit.

Katie Finneran: I just love the sitcom format. I think there is so much comfort in it. I loved watching sitcoms growing up. I love that it was about best friends—Laverne &Shirley was like my favorite show growing up. I’m dating myself again. I am a healthy 40-year-old woman and I enjoy Laverne & Shirley. There you have it.

I really wanted to do a sitcom because I had just had a baby. When I auditioned, my baby was four days old when I auditioned, and I knew that that format would be the greatest schedule for me to raise a family. And also, I just always feel silly when I play doctors or very serious roles. I can do it and I enjoy working in any capacity, but when I have to say, “He had a thrompoctomy” and the seriousness and somebody dies, I just always want to giggle behind my surgery mask.

So this is like a very outlandish, funny, wonderful, like crazy big blonde. I could be as silly as possible. And Jaime is my wacky thermometer. She will always, yeah, that was too far or that was just right, or try something else. So, it’s great, my barometer, not thermometer, barometer.

How they feel about the title

Katie: Love it. We love the title.

Jaime: I think it’s great because, for one thing, it’s grabbing people’s attention one way or the other. Whether it’s upsetting them, or they like it and they agree with it, it’s grabbing people’s attention and that was the point of it in the first place. And it’s like Katie always says, we’re just saying it for you, ‘cause it’s a moment that everybody that as a parent has actually had where they actually just want to say, oh, my God, I hate my teenager. But, you don’t really. You just, on occasion, they can do things that make you want to want crawl into a fetal position.

On how the theme of bullying is addressed

Jaime: You know, we’re not the writers so we can’t really, say exactly how they are going to address it, but I know that our writers are absolutely phenomenal at their job and what they do, and it is addressed in a couple of episodes and I’m sure there’ll be probably one that’ll be completely based around it. What do you think Katie?

Katie: Yes, and our show really is not—it’s sort of an ironic, sardonic sort of look at high school and the relationships between daughters and mothers and families, and it probably, hopefully, will have a little bit more edge in it and it always won’t get wrapped up in a bow, but it will be a relief. The daughters will always get some kind of lesson. They’ll always have the upper hand, but they’ll always get some kind of lesson. So even if our daughters act in a bullying way, we’ll somehow figure out how; because it’s not a mean-spirited show by any sense. There’s a lot of heart to it. But—

Jaime: And saying that, I would also add that, as Katie said, the daughters a lot of times, because they know how to work us, do have the upper hand, but at the end of the day, the moms figure out, and the dads together, how to handle the situation. And, again, it’s not a mean-spirited show, but it is something that goes on. Quite frankly, the daughters bully their moms more than anybody, and I think that happens in real life quite a bit.

It’s hard raising a teenager. They are in hormone hell, they think they know everything and just to raise a child as a single parent is difficult. It’s difficult with two, not to mention one. Again, the show is a lot about the relationship between my character and Katie’s character, Annie and Nikki, and how they deal with life and just raising children, because the truth is, when it comes to raising kids, especially, when you only have one, there is no right or wrong way. It’s all trial and error.

I would say it’s like a common cold. Everybody thinks they have a cure and think they know what the right way or the wrong way to cure it, but there is no such thing as a cure for the common cold. It’s just what makes you feel better and what works for you and that’s kind of like parenting, it’s whatever works for you.

On the interactions between the adults in the show

Jaime: No, I was just going to say that one of the things that’s great about our show is that we’re actually addressing the fact that while the parents are divorced and this is kind of the new family of this day and age, no family is perfect cookie cutter anymore. Everybody is kind of put together in a different way. But, it’s possible to work and it’s possible to raise children and get along together even if you aren’t still married or together.

You loved each other at some point enough to have a child, so you should be adult enough and remember that you loved each other at a certain point so that you can love your child enough to take care of them and do what’s right for them and these parents do that. And that’s one of the great things about this show is that we address that, because I don’t think it’s ever been addressed on television before.

On how it will relate to non-parents as well

Jaime: There is an incredible character in this show played, named Jack, who plays my ex-husband’s brother, and he’s—Kevin Rahm plays him, an incredible actor and it shows how much a part of our lives and my daughter’s life he is.

And you know, so many times, uncles or aunts have to step in and help and pick up pieces or just help you in general, especially with single parents. Even if there’s no single parents, it’s more of a family show so it really kind of encompasses everything that is in the modern family today. And, I do believe that whether you’re an uncle, an aunt, a sibling or a mother or a father, you’re going to be able to relate to it.

I mean, it really is not a chick flick. Once you get into it and start seeing more episodes, you’ll see the men are incorporated a lot more into the episodes after the pilot and, again, the character of Jack played by Kevin Rahm is in there, every episode. And so, yes, I definitely think that it’s going to hit home with more than just moms and parents.

On where Jack and Annie’s relationship will go this season

Jaime: We explore it in pretty much every episode. It just keeps getting, you know, becoming more and more involved and it is a great little; I mean I love doing things with Kevin Rahm. He’s just such an incredible actor and so great at comical timing. You know, everybody is really amazing on the show. We really lucked out. The cast gets along like we’ve known each other for twenty years and everybody’s individually great at what they do. But, yes, that relationship definitely progresses as it goes on.
That’s all for the interview, but be sure to tune in to the series premiere this Wednesday at 9:30/8:30c on FOX, immediately following The X Factor. You’ll be happy you did.

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