Lisa Edelstein Interview

Lisa Edelstein Talks 'Incestuous' Girlfriends Chemistry, Buffy Obsession and Abrupt House Exit: 'He Drove a Car Through Her F--king Living Room!'

This, in a nutshell, is what makes Lisa Edelstein one of my favorite interview subjects. Mere seconds into our discussion about Season 2 of her Bravo rom-com Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce (premiering tonight at 10/9c on Bravo), the former House MVP hands me a beautifully gift-wrapped spoiler about Episode 4, airing Dec. 22.

The installment, written by co-star Paul Adelstein, is “a standalone hour about Abby and Jake,” she tells me. “They send the kids away, stay at home for the weekend and just explore what their relationship is. It’s so good. To me, it’s what this show is about — two people whose relationship ended but still love each other but can’t be together. It’s heartbreaking.”

Edelstein’s unprompted scoop set the tone for a spirited Q&A about not only Abby’s looming existential crisis, but also her then-controversial departure from House and her secret crush on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its fearless leader Joss Whedon.

TVLINE | It’s clear Jake and Abby belong together, but if that happens it sort of nullifies the premise of the show. Is it tricky to keep that tension alive in a way that feels real?
Not really, because it’s that tension that makes the show interesting. When you divorce and you have children, your divorce is never over. You always have to find a way to move through life together, because you have to co-parent. And, eventually, people try to keep their boundaries really strong, but Abby and Jake have definitely not figured that out.

TVLINE | How much of this season is about that relationship?
Jake goes off to Latvia to shoot that independent film for a while this season, so it’s not all about Jake and Abby. And then what Abby is left with is herself. Without divorce to point at, she’s left with the real problem, which is, “Who is she and what the hell is she doing with her life?”

TVLINE | How is Abby going to react to the news that Becca is pregnant with Jake’s child?
It’s complicated. It’s not just that she’s pregnant, it’s that he hasn’t told her. They’re both keeping secrets from each other.

TVLINE | Speaking of which, does Abby love Will?
Abby loves Will, but she needs to fight for her family if she has the chance. One is a new love and one is an old love with children. And while the new love is exciting and sexy and intoxicating, this other love is historical and there’s a family structure.

Pic 0TVLINE | The new character played by [Parks and Recreation alum] Retta represents a grittier, arguably more realistic perspective of the modern-day divorcee. Was that the show’s way of saying, “Yes, we know Abby has ‘white people problems…'”
I think so. [Series creator] Marti [Noxon] recognized that some people were like, “Well, that’s not what my divorce looks like.” And she wanted people to know that she knew that. Divorce looks like a lot of different things. Sure this is an aspirational show, but we also wanted to make sure that another story was being told, about people who don’t have a wealthy divorce and are not having as good a time and really struggling. What’s nice about Retta’s character is it [forces] Abby to have to defend an idea that she really isn’t living. She is the pretty face of divorce, but her life is in shambles. And it only gets worse. Abby goes down the rabbit hole in Season 2.

TVLINE | Tell me more about this rabbit hole…
I’m exhausted. [Laughs] I never quite worked that hard. She’s dealing with a lot. Again, it’s about dishonesty. It’s about when the outsides and the insides don’t match. Abby is so good at faking it that she’s destroying herself.

TVLINE | You’re exhausted but I get the sense that you love this job…
It’s such a special experience. I’m so grateful to be old enough to know how special this experience is, because a lot of nice things can happen in your 20s, but you just don’t know that they’re incredible. You just think it’s what life looks like. It’s great to have had a long slow build in my career, and I think Paul feels the same way.

Girlfriends' Guide To Divorce - Season 1TVLINE | What is your working relationship like with Paul?
It’s so easy. From the minute we started we had such a nice, weirdly historical chemistry together, maybe because we’re both Jewish and we’re probably related 10 generations ago. [Laughs] Our ancestors are probably rolling in their graves every time we kiss. They’re like, “Noooo! Incest! Too many shared genes!”

TVLINE | Marti’s former Buffy boss Joss Whdeon makes a cameo in [tonight’s] premiere. Are you a Buffy fan?
Yes. I initially checked it out thinking, “Oh, this dumb show…” And then I was hooked. That episode where her mom dies remains one of my favorite TV episodes ever.

TVLINE | Was it hard not to geek out while shooting your scene with him?
I met him before, but I don’t know if he knows what a [big] fan I am of his. [Laughs]

TVLINE | Requisite House question: How do you look back on that whole experience?
It was a great experience. To be on a show that was such a big hit… it changed my life. It ended sadly, but the ending does not change the whole experience.

HouseTVLINE | Is any part of you bummed that House and Cuddy didn’t ride off into the sunset together?
I don’t think that show was about happy endings. And the truth is, if someone drives a car through your living room you should do what I did and get the f–k out of town. [Laughs] I mean come on. It kind of all worked out. Let’s tell it like it is. He drove a f–king car through her living room. With the baby and family inside. That’s crazy. You file a police report and you leave — and you don’t come back for the f–king [series] finale. [Laughs]

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Christina says:

    bless her heart! Lisa Edelstein was and always will be a real gem in the TV industry. I am really excited to watch the new season of GG2D and what she said about House? BLESS! They did not deserve to have her back after such crappy treatment of her and her character anyway! Go Lisa! :)

  2. Manu says:

    I will never blame her for leaving House. I quit too. Biggest shark jumping moment ever.

  3. Jon says:

    Can someone tell me if she left House willingly, or if she was just written out, and never got her contract renewed?

  4. zac says:

    I cant even remember the last season of House I watched but she was really good in there.

  5. norhu says:

    These interviews are always my favorites. Michael asks the right questions, Lisa gives the right answers. It´s a joy to see her so happy about this new experience. House was a bittersweet experience for her. Let´s hope Girlfriends Guide is just a sweet one.

  6. Equality says:

    I still wish she told the truth about her House exit instead of deflecting (though quite elegantly). Now is a perfect time to speak out against disparity and double standards, contract or not.

    • James says:

      Gotta love people who demand things online but are also too afraid to use their real names. Makes your argument so much more powerful……….. (the periods are to note sarcasm)………..

    • DGA says:

      That’s a fine ideal but as anyone who works in ANY industry knows, if you badmouth a previous employer there will most likely be repercussions. I understand that somebody has to stand up for it, but it’s definitely a double-edged sword.

  7. GeoDiva says:

    I dropped GG2D mid-way last season, but now that Retta has joined, it is back in my dvr queue. Looking forward to it.

    • Elliott says:

      I’d take Retta over Necar and Beau Garrett any day.

      • Kresy says:

        I agree. Necar Zadegan and Beau Garret are a waste of time. Lisa Edelstein, Alanna Ubach, Janeane Garofalo and now Retta would have made the best TV team. The other two are just there because Bravo needed to add a few more pretty faces to the mix. I mean i love the show but i don´t care about those storylines.

  8. David4 says:

    I completely agree with her. He drove a ring car through her house! It made sense for her to leave and actually made the last season a lot of fun with actual change.

    I do wish she would have came back for a brief dream that house was having.

  9. I only watch GG2D because of Lisa – she’s fantastic in everything. It’s too bad it’s not a better written show.

    • KCsCrew says:

      I agree. I find her growth interesting, the writing ridiculous. But it’s Bravo and as others have said before it caters to the Real Housewives club.

  10. Catherine says:

    Lisa is such a great actress, loved her in House but hoped she’d find something more intelligent than the boring Girlfriends Guide. It’s no better than The Real Housewives.

  11. ConnerM says:

    We’ve always known she appreciated her experience on House. It was a great opportunity and she was a great fit. The chemistry between her and Hugh as colleagues and their characters was phenomenal. Fans got a real treat. I wish I could say I was a fan of her new show but I barely got through the first season without wretching. She’s great. Adelstein’s great. That’s about it.

  12. Amber says:

    I miss Garofalo. It’s annoying the way they all lied about her exit. Marti Noxon and the cast/crew told us her exit was planned and we all knew it was a lie especially when Lisa revealed that Janeane didn’t like where the show was headed and abruptly left. I don’t like being played for a fool. I wish JG taken Lisa with her. Those two in a show together would be a hoot. The rest of this cast you can dump.

  13. CrackerJackProdsInc. says:

    House was a great show in its day. Lisa was wonderful on it. But can we put a muzzle on Ausiello and his annoying obsession with talking about her exit? It’s over. Move on.

  14. Kresy says:

    I never watched House but i love this new show. It´s just so entertaining and real. I really feel connected to Abby in an odd way.

    • carly says:

      You should watch it. House is a great show especially in it’s earlier seasons plus Lisa does a great job playing Cuddy. I just loved with her chemistry with Hugh Laurie. :)

  15. I’m a big fan of Lisa Edelstein, but who calls this show a rom-com? It’s one of the most depressing dramas I’ve ever seen. I have to prep myself for the sad before I watch.

  16. rachelle says:

    Omg, I’m so in love with Girlfriends’ Guide. I binged it on Netflix a few weeks ago and what an experience. I cried and laughed and felt all of the emotions! I’m so happy it’s back.

  17. Jake says:

    She’s right, House got ridiculous at the end, that scene with him driving the car into her house was pretty much it – House had no way of knowing where anyone in the house was and could have killed someone – way over the top.

  18. Emon says:

    I loved & still love Lisa. But,what she told about House isn’t right. I don’t know what happened between her & the producer of House. I shocked when I saw Lisa was no longer on the House & I have to say House lost its perks simultaneously after season 4. But, I didn’t stop seeing until the finale & I gotta say the finale blew my mind. It was the perfect ending. Every major & non-major character came in the finale,except Lisa. So, I don’t have to be Einstein to see that there was a big problem between her & the team House.

  19. Nero tTVFiddler says:

    A show about a woman named Abby who becomes ‘The Face of Divorce.’ Now, who could say no to that? Go Lisa! :)

    PS – Nice interview Michael. I’m looking forward to this Season 2 set of episodes and watching Abby navigate her way down the rabbit hole.

  20. liute says:

    Her show is amazing. Abby and Will are my favorite couple. The way he kisses her, damn

  21. Donna Pecoraro says:

    I didn’t know anything about the contract issues, however if “Cuddy” was going to leave, they would have to write her out. I don’t understand how a scene that had a terrible season finale could make her not want to participate in the funeral scene at least.

    • Eli says:

      Because domestic violence? If a man tried to kill me, I would never attend his funeral. Basic self respect as a woman might be lost on you.

  22. Boglárka says:

    If she really had a problem with House becoming ridiculous, why didn’t she leave sooner? I loved Cuddy in the beginning of the show, but her character got stupider every season. She was reduced to a sex joke in season 4, a schizo in season 5. Why did she love play Cuddy back then?
    And speaking of Joss Whedon, I really wonder what he thinks about the first female Dean of Medicine’s behavior from episodes like ‘You Don’t Want to Know’ and ‘Let Them Eat Cake’.

    • Eli says:

      Because she was under contract for 7 years and loyal to the job. The way you describe Cuddy is very reductive. She was first and foremost an amazing woman in a position of leadership who understood, supported and limited House when needed and then she became a mother which gave Lisa some fantastic material to work with besides the House-Cuddy dynamic. She’s not responsible for what the writers had Cuddy do. As for the episodes you are mentioning, it was very mild payback for House who had done far much worse to her in the past. I cannot stand double standards. He ended up being a violent domestic abuser so whatever Cuddy had done before is irrelevant. Lisa is right, you leave and you don’t look back.