Neighborhood Enjoys New Comedies at CBS Television Studios

Photo by Margie Barron

Beau Bridges.

A sneak peek at two new CBS comedies was presented for a big crowd of folks in the neighborhood at CBS Television Studios in Studio City. The evening had a fun nostalgic theme celebrating “National TV Dinner Day,” and TV dinners were actually served before the screening. The great Studio City Chamber of Commerce invited Chamber members and associates to join the CBS Television Studios event which featured the sitcoms The Millers and We Are Men. Mingling around were stars from both shows.

At the summer Television Critics Association press tour, CBS presented interview panels on The Millers and We Are Men with their stars and showrunners. The Millers premieres Thursday, Sept. 26, and features a talented cast — Will Arnett, Margo Martindale, Beau Bridges, and JB Smoove. Executive producer and creator of the show Greg Garcia said he wanted to do a domestic comedy and looked to his own life for inspiration. “I kind of looked at the characters in my life and fictionalized the situation that they are in, primarily my mother and my father, who are happily married, actually. But if you spend any time with them, at first you think that my mother (played by Margo Martindale) is a horrible human being, how she treats this poor man. Then you spend a little time with my dad (played by Beau Bridges), and within five minutes, you turn into my mother, who says, ‘I just wanted everyone to know that I’m an actual saint.’ So the series is a little bit of a love letter to my parents,” Garcia explained.

There are wild scenes with Beau and Margo together, and Bridges said that’s because there’s no filter on their characters’ emotions. “I think one thing that happens to you when you get older is you worry a little less about things and what you have to say to people, your loved ones and so forth. You just basically get it off your chest,” he said.

Nominated for an Emmy this year as Guest Actress in the FX drama The Americans, Martindale won previously for playing the murderous mama in Justified, and was in the Oscar-winning film Million Dollar Baby. Although Margo has gotten a lot of attention lately for her dramatic roles she reveals she “started out doing comedy on stage, sketch comedy too. I always wanted to be on a sitcom, but I started getting mother roles, and I just started killing people along the way. So, finally, I’m getting to do some comedy. I’m very happy,” she said.

The other CBS comedy, We Are Men also has a great cast with Tony Shalhoub, Jerry O’Connell, Kal Penn, and Chris Smith. Rob Greenberg is the writer, creator, executive producer, and Eric and Kim Tannenbaum are executive producers for the show premiering Monday, Sept. 30.

Greenberg also mined his own life to put together the sitcom, and reported, “Years ago I was divorced. I was a mess. Part of me wanted to get back with her, part of me never wanted to see her again and just have fun. We had been together a long time, and I was dating again without a clue. So I took the different parts of my life, and I kind of put them into these guys.”

The series is about four guys who have all crashed and burned in their relationships, “and we follow them as they go out in the world and try to find love. And along the way they’ll have a lot of adventures,” Greenberg explained. “We’ll get to explore the generational points of view of these subjects. Also, in the case of Kal and Tony, they are single dads. Their daughters will be a big part of the show, as well as their continuing relationship with their ex-wives. Plus these guys are sons and their parents will come in, as well as their work life. So basically we’re going to follow these men and all aspects of their life.”

But mainly what the show is about is friendship, according Greenberg. “These guys have developed a band of brothers, and this unlikely family will support each other and help each other and give each other endless grief and, hopefully, have a lot of fun while they’re doing it. I just know when I got divorced, it was lonely. A lot of my friends were married or in relationships. So I wish I had a gang like this to run with. But I didn’t, so I just wrote them.” And from that the comedy We Are Men was born.

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