Christina Applegate on Up All Night's 'First Christmas' and the Thursday Move: 'It's a Relief'
NBC’s rookie comedy Up All Night wraps its fall run this Wednesday (NBC, 8/7c), and it’s going out on a jolly note.
Christina Applegate — who stars opposite Will Arnett as Type A mega-mom, Reagan — spoke to TVLine about the Christmas celebration the comedy has in store (Hint: It’s a doozy!), what fans have to look forward to when new episodes resume, and how she feels about the show’s big move to Thursdays.
TVLINE | What does an Up All Night Christmas celebration look like?
It’s Baby’s First Christmas! Traditionally, Chris and Reagan have not gone all out for the holiday, but [their daughter] Amy sees a decorative display and gets very excited. Of course, it’s then Reagan’s Type A-mission to give her a Christmas-exploded-all-over-the-house kind of holiday. And in the interim, Blythe Danner, who plays Reagan’s mother, shows up again and we have a nice reconciliation about what the holiday means.
TVLINE | Speaking of Blythe, I’m not sure anyone knew she’d be back beyond her first episode with Richard Schiff. Is this something that we will continue to see?
I think she wants to come back, so we’ll see when she’s available. And I know [upcoming guest star] Megan [Mullally] also wants to return, so we’ll try to find a place for them both at some point.
TVLINE | In its short history, Up All Night has recruited some impressive guest stars. What’s the secret?
We’ve just been very lucky. Megan came in so last minute for her episode and we’re lucky to have had her. She’s so incredibly talented and funny. And Blythe is someone I wanted to play my mom, so we pursued her actively for awhile. I didn’t care what we had to do to get her out here from New York, she was the most perfect person for the role. I’ve known her for a long time and I really appreciated her taking time out to do the show.
TVLINE | Can you talk a little about what I call the show’s high sweetness factor? It’s obviously a comedy, but it comes with more heart and feel-good moments than most.
What’s nice about Chris and Reagan is that they’re not the typical sitcom couple, where they bicker constantly. They’re very much in love, they are friends and confidants — and they have to be. They are a triangle now — the baby and the two of them — and baby is on top. And they are just trying to keep their relationship a priority. We also have such incredible love for those babies [who play Amy]. What’s great is that because Will and I are parents, we’re incredibly protective of those two little girls. We love them with all of our hearts. They are the sweetest things and it’s beautiful to be a part of their lives. So, this show is coming from a real place. Will and I are careful to make sure we stay in those confines of reality about how it truly goes down. For awhile there they would have Reagan come home from work and not even say hi to the baby and that never made any sense to me. [Laughs]
TVLINE | The relationship between Reagan and Mya Rudolph’s Ava is also one that’s developed really nicely.
Yeah, as we were establishing the show, we had to concentrate on what was happening in the home. Mya’s side of everything was really a work in progress because the Ava show was a new concept that we hadn’t originally done in the pilot. But we really wanted to make sure people understood why Ava and Reagan had been friends for so long. We didn’t want to be sappy about it, but we did want it to be clear why they’ve stuck with each other. We actually have an episode coming up with a scene where they are talking in her dressing room and I asked if we could do it while Reagan tried on all of Ava’s shoes. I just wanted to show these two women being girlfriends because that’s the kind of conversation they’re having. And it worked so beautifully. It’s a really sweet moment and I’m happy we did it.
TVLINE | Care to tease anything else coming up?
Oh, New Year’s Eve! It’s a good one. So, we have this New Year’s Eve game night at home and Reagan, we come to see, is incredibly competitive. To the point of being offensive to everyone. Jason Lee makes an appearance [as Ava's boyfriend, Kevin] in that one, as well as [Ava assistant] Missy and her boyfriend. And the one with Megan is called “Rivals” and it’s all about jealousy. Reagan is spinning out about Chris having another playdate mom-friend. They are really close and funny together and it irks Reagan a lot, because that kind of banter is their thing.
TVLINE | And the next time we see Up All Night, it will be nestled comfortably in its new Thursday night time slot at 9:30 pm.
It’s exciting. I was shocked. It was something we really wanted, because 8 pm on a Wednesday opposite X Factor and Survivor is daunting. And when you’re a new show it’s harder to open a night like that. But I just hope that we fit within this night of workplace comedies. I definitely feel like it’s such a sigh of relief to be on such a great night with such great television.