Amber Tamblyn on Two and a Half Men's 'Queer' Addition and What She Would Look for in a Girl
When CBS’ Two and a Half Men opens Season 11 tonight at 9:30/8:30c, Amber Tamblyn comes a-knocking as the daughter Charlie Harper never knew he had. Yet Jenny shares much in common with her late dad — including a love for (lots of) women.
In this candid, quippy TVLine Q&A, TV’s erstwhile Joan of Arcadia sets the record straight on her character’s “label,” cheers her cherubic countenance and reveals what she would look for in a lady love(r).
TVLINE | What preconceptions about your character, that you’ve read or heard or been presented with, would you like to correct right off the bat?
[Thinks...] God, nothing. I think it’s been perfectly handled. I think maybe I would say that I think we’re describing Jenny as a gay character, and I actually think she’s queer. That would be my thought. I haven’t said that yet, but that’s my thought.
TVLINE | How do you delineate the two?
Well, that’s specifically for the gay community to understand, in the sense that it’s very complicated for Jenny. I’ve given a lot of thought to that, and I think the queer community is less about definition. It’s more about a community of culture. That would be my thought about it, because a lot of people are like, “I’ve heard some say she’s bi, and I’ve heard other writers say she’s gay. Which is it?”
TVLINE | What was a bigger consideration for you in taking this role — Two and a Half Men’s somewhat stormy past or perhaps your limited multi-cam sitcom experience?
I can say I don’t think that there was any hesitation. Nothing. The minute I read the material, I was in. I was totally excited to go in and even read for it. I had a really strong opinion about how I thought the character should be, so I went in and gave a presentation of who I thought Jenny was, which was masculine and feminine at the same time with a big hearty laugh, open for anything, game for anything. In general, a sort of unapologetic, tough heroine.
TVLINE | Is there a reason she shows up at this particular time? Does she know Charlie’s dead?
She does know, yeah. I think she’s just sort of searching. She moved to L.A. to become an actress, and I think that’s sort of a secondary conversation on top of the fact that Los Angeles is the mecca of partying and lifestyle and hot ladies. I think that’s really what Jenny is after.
TVLINE | Are they almost at a loss what to do with you?
I think it’s difficult for them. Jenny is sort of a stray cat that’s super-stoked to get a bowl of milk. Do you know what I mean? She’s like, “Great, what couch am I sleeping on? Where do you guys keep the empty flasks?” That’s Jenny’s attitude. They’re more like concerned parents trying to figure out how to help, what to do with her. They’re confused and baffled and all of that at the same time.
TVLINE | What might Emily Quartermaine’s dead mom in Heaven think if she’s watching the show on Thursday nights?
I know. I know. I think her name was Paige? I can’t believe I remember that. [Tamblyn's first TV role, at age 12, was General Hospital's Emily.] What would Paige do? That’s a great bumper sticker.
TVLINE | You’re playing 25, younger than your actual years. Can you believe you’re already cheating your age at this point in your career?
Let me tell you something — as a 30-year-old woman it’s a treat, because I have the face of a darling 14-year-old angel and the teeth of an infant, so I’m often told that I look too young to play my age, which is totally true and fair. It’s kind of fun for me to play something that’s not a 21-year-old.
TVLINE | If Jenny’s a 25-year-old aspiring actress, is it safe to say she’s not the best actress?
Oh, you’re going to have to wait until Episode 4 to find that out.
TVLINE | What would your type be if you were into girls?
Who says I’m not…? I don’t know. I think I would probably be much more into how that girl could get down on a dance floor and less so much about how pretty she was.
TVLINE | Any flowers or words of encouragement from your dead TV dad, Mr. Sheen?
Actually, he gave me his phone number through somebody else. I think he just was in general reaching out to say, “Hey, I’m here for any reason. If you have any questions or want to talk about anything, I’m here” — which I think is super-classy and awesome.
TVLINE | You’re making your Two and a Half Men debut on the 10th anniversary of Joan of Arcadia’s premiere. Kismet?
Oh my God, is that true?! Wow….
TVLINE | In 10 years, you’ve gone from channeling gods to raising hell — is that one way to put it?
I think you just found the title of your article.