Jaime Pressly Previews Her 'Starting From Scratch' TV Land Comedy Jennifer Falls

“You know, everything that’s meant to be, is, and what’s supposed to happen, does,” Jaime Pressly says, giving off some very zen vibes while explaining how she came to be the lead of TV Land’s newest comedy Jennifer Falls, which premieres Wednesday at 10:30/9:30c.

As the My Name Is Earl vet tells it, she got the script for the pilot, penned by series creator Matthew Carlson (Malcolm in the Middle)  – “I read it on my phone, I flipped out,” she recalls – and was in a meeting about it not long after, because everyone who needed to be present just happened to be in town that day. “Everything clicked.”

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Sure enough, the cable comedy’s team felt the same way about Pressly, “and the next thing you know,” she says happily, “I was cast in the pilot.”

The actress’ laid-back attitude is markedly different from that of her titular character, a stressed-out career woman and single mom who in the first episode is called into her boss’ office to receive what she thinks is a promotion… but turns out to be a pink slip for anger issues.

With her income vanquished and her ego crushed, Jennifer must relocate herself and her teen daughter Gretchen (played by newcomer Dylan Gelula) to Jennifer’s childhood home, where they become roomies with Jennifer’s mom (Arrested Development‘s Jessica Walter) – “who’s a therapist who doesn’t listen to her, which is just infuriating in itself,” Pressly says.

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As she’s “starting from scratch,” Jennifer slings drinks at a sports bar owned by her brother (Pressly’s Earl co-star/good pal Ethan Suplee) and tries to reconnect with old friends (Greek‘s Nora Kirkpatrick and ubiquitous TV guest star Missi Pyle), which made hiring the right mix of actors of the utmost importance.

“It’s very rare that you can put five strong women on a set and only one man and have them all get along,” Pressly says. “It was really important to me, when we were casting this, that I be able to be part of the casting process. Everybody in [the show] is either a family member or my best friend from childhood, so chemistry is really important.”

jenniferfalls_momdaughterAs the series develops, the penniless Jennifer finds herself a little lost: How does one raise a teenager without the benefit of housekeeper or nanny?

“She actually has to be a full-time mother, and that mom guilt that she may have never really felt before, now she gets it, because she sees what her daughter’s going through because of her,” Pressly says. “It humbles her. She’s got to figure out how to suck it up, stay positive and move forward.”

Along those lines, Pressly – whose son, Dezi, is 7 – knew that she only wanted to take on another TV series if its schedule worked around her home life, not vice-versa. So when the series, originally conceived as a multi-camera format, switched to a single-camera one (which takes longer to shoot each episode), she made it clear that her home life wasn’t going to get short shrift.

“On Earl, we would have to spend 15 to 18 hours a day on that set; being a mother [now], I’m not going to do that,” she says.

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TV Land eventually agreed to a Modern Family-style shoot, with three cameras going at all times and confessional-style interviews — and a “really great schedule,” she adds.

“I wanted to make sure that everbody’s not getting killed, that everybody enjoys their job, that everybody wants to be here and is happy. That is my main focus – and that everybody gets to see their family,” Pressly says.

She adds: “The hardest thing in the world to do is to find balance for a working mother… This came along at the perfect time.”

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  1. ggny says:

    Im not a big fans of TV land sitcoms. But i love the cast for this one i will be checking it out hopefully Jason Lee can make a cameo

  2. LOVE Hot in Cleveland, miss Happily Divorced and Retired at 30. This new slate of TVLand shows has been very good, (with the exception of Kristie, which was absolutely TERRIBLE,) but just don’t get the love they should. Wish they had started this RIGHT after the Hot season ended, as I kind of forgot about this, and already deleted the Wed night TVLand block off my DVR. Off to program this in now.

    • James says:

      The Hot in Cleveland season hasn’t ended- Jennifer Falls is being paired with new episodes of it, airing all summer long (HiC is running new episodes through Sept). I also loved Happily Divorced and Retired at 30- sucks they were canceled; I wish Kirstie had been better as I love Kirstie Alley, but oh well.

      • Thanks. I actually saw that when I went to go reprogram the DVD-R. :) That shows why you shouldn’t put “short-run” shows on hiatus mid-season, and probably why more TVLand shows don’t do as well. :) I had the same issue when Revolution came back–I actually had to watch the 1st post-hiatus show online. (Another show that SHOULD have been better, like Kirstie, but wasn’t and so was canceled. Kirstie should have been SO MUCH better with that magical comic trio in the cast. Too bad the premise was so awful.) Now, has the Exes been renewed, and is THAT coming back any time soon? LOVED when The Exes was paired w/ Hot.

        • James says:

          I always just check Wikipedia every so often and write things down somewhere that I check often to remind myself of shows’ return dates. As for The Exes, I’ve been meaning to watch that show. We saw the first episode and loved it, but never watched the rest, lol. Anyway, I looked on Wikipedia just saw and it says The Exes will be back for a 4th season on Nov. 4.

          • I THINK you can watch the Exes online. THe last season was abbreviated b/c KJ injured herself, but they brought in Leah Remini to kind of sub in her absence. It’s a hysterical ensemble show; if you like HIC, you’ll enjoy it.

            As for JF tonight, I’ll give it another shot. Pilots are difficult, and often not the best of the season. I thought it was okay, but the SIL character could get REAL annoying, REAL fast. Holding off my assessment for a couple of eps.

  3. Lee says:

    Well it suks. Her mug shot mouth suks. The story line suks. Thats the best I can say.Get it off the air.