Emmys

Parenthood Emmy Nominee Jason Ritter Talks Mark and Sarah's Future, New Foe Ray Romano

If it weren’t for The Big Bang Theory‘s Simon Helberg, Jason Ritter might never have known he was an Emmy nominee — at least not until a few hours later.

“I got a text from my longtime friend [Helberg] about my nomination, and I had completely forgotten they were today,” the Parenthood star confesses with a laugh.

Here, Ritter (modestly) discusses with TVLine his still-processing thoughts on the Emmy nod — for Guest Actor in a Drama Series — and also weighs in on what Ray Romano’s addition to the NBC drama means for Mark and Sarah.

TVLINE | Congratulations! Take us through your nominations morning.
There have been times where I’ve opted not to wake up and check [the nominations], but I’ve always known when it was on. And for some reason this year it just totally slipped my mind. So, I went from, “Who is calling me at six in the morning? That is unacceptable!” to “Oh my gosh, someone’s texting me again and again — something horrible has happened!’ to this total surprise. I still can’t quite believe it.

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TVLINE | Parenthood is a show full of great actors — including yourself — and you were singled out. That has to feel unbelievable.
That does feel crazy, because I feel like a visitor to the awesome planet that is Parenthood. [Laughs] Even from the very first second I started working on that show a couple of years ago, it just felt so wonderful.  There are so many incredible actors on that show — all the way from the very young kids to Bonnie Bedelia and Craig T. Nelson. I’ve always felt like I’m trying to keep up and not draw attention to myself as the guy who should clearly not be on the show with all those people.

TVLINE | Did you hear from your Parenthood family?
Yeah, I heard from [series creator] Jason Katims, and cast-wise I heard from Lauren [Graham] and Mae [Whitman] and Sarah [Ramos], Peter [Krause]… It’s such a supportive group of people. There’s no ego; everyone is just so happy for me and for the show. I love all those people quite a lot, so it’s nice.

TVLINE | You guys just went back to work on Season 4. Is Mark in the premiere?
Yeah, I am in the first episode.

TVLINE | How quickly can we expect to see an answer to the proposal Mark gave Sarah in the finale?
In the very first episode back, the first time you see Mark, you’ll know exactly where [he and Sarah] are with that question. Obviously, Sarah and Mark have a complicated relationship, so it’s not just one simple thing, but at least you’ll know what the answer is… Or at least an approximation. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Most importantly, is Ray Romano already on set and causing trouble for those two?
I have not worked with him yet. Today is a big day [on set] for him and Lauren though, so I’m actually really glad this all [his Emmy nomination] happened. I was going to spend all day thinking, “Oh, I bet they’re having a great time….” [Laughs]

TVLINE | You said something similar when I was moderating Parenthood‘s ATX Festival panel — that you get jealous for your character when someone like John Corbett’s Seth comes to town.
Totally! Apparently [Ray] is a famously well-liked, a nice, great guy — I’m sure they would be very happy together. [Laughs] But it’s weird. It’s a physical reaction. Obviously, I know I’m not really a teacher dating Lauren Graham, but yeah, when I read that he was coming on the show I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach, like, “Oh, they’re just working together. It’s just a friend thing… They’re not in love.” [Laughs] The thing is, I started on that show and I got hooked on it, so when I wasn’t around for the second season on the set, I still watched it. I began to separate into these two people: Mark, the character, and me, just watching the show going, “Where’s that teacher guy? Come on, bring him back! Get these other guys out of here. She was happier with him.” [Laughs] It’s totally bizarre. I definitely also have a stake in it because I love working with Lauren so much. And I know that if [Sarah] breaks up with [Mark], I would miss working with her and on the show. So, it is a relationship of sorts.