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The actress talks about her new show and why her guest-starring role on 'Grey's Anatomy' was one of the 'hardest things' she's ever done

By MSN TV Mar 28, 2013 2:36PM

'How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)'/ABC

 

By Lie Shia Ong
MSN TV


Sarah Chalke has been making TV audiences laugh with her characters on "Roseanne" and "Scrubs" through the years. Now the actress is back with a new comedy called "How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)," which premieres on ABC on April 3.

Bing: More about Sarah Chalke | More about 'How to Live With Your Parents'

Chalke plays newly-divorced mom Polly who takes her daughter Natalie and moves back in with her mom, Elaine (Elizabeth Perkins), and stepdad, Max (Brad Garrett). Polly doesn't exactly see eye-to-eye with her parents when it comes to raising Natalie. Elaine and Max are eccentric and have a more hands-off parenting approach, whereas Polly tries to be the perfect, organized mom.

More: 'How to Live With Your Parents' official ABC show page

MSN TV spoke with the actress about her new show and also about her guest-starring role on Thursday's "Grey's Anatomy." The episode, which raises awareness about Kawasaki disease, is something very important to Chalke, because her own son was diagnosed with it at age  2.

Video: Sneak peek at 'How to Live With Your Parents'

MSN TV: Your fans are so excited to see you back on the air with a new show. What can they expect from "How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)"?

Sarah Chalke: I'm so excited about it. We had the best time filming it. With that cast I feel so damn lucky. I fell in love with the script. First of all I fell in love with Claudia [Lonow], who is the writer and creator of the show. It's extremely funny, and I met her first. It's about her life, and it's her true life story. I play her. What I loved about [the show was] that it made me laugh out loud and it also pulled at your heartstrings. I love that balance it had between being really funny and also really drawing you into these people's lives. I loved Claudia and I loved the script, and then they hadn't cast anyone else at that point, and you never know who you'll get to work with. And then that was just such a huge bonus. It's been an incredible cast to work with. Brad is one of the funniest people I've ever worked with. Elizabeth is amazing. I was a huge fan of hers from "Weeds," and I couldn't believe it when they were offering her the part.

... and then Claudia's background is stand-up and her parents co-owned the Improv, and so she grew up in the stand-up world doing stand-up herself around a lot of stand-up comedians. So Brad Garrett is from stand-up. She hired Jon Dore as my ex-husband, and he's from stand-up. Joe Wengert who plays my boss is from stand-up ... and so it's just one of the funniest groups of people I've ever worked with and hung out with.

For your character of Polly, did you also draw upon your own experiences as a mom to develop her personality?

Totally. It's one of the parts I've played I can relate to the most. When you have a kid it kind of changes the lens through which you see the world. You just want to be the best mom to your kid. That's really the driving force for Polly. She's just trying to figure out, "How do I do this, and how do I be this great mom for my kid?" She's also trying to figure out how to have a life in terms of going back to the dating world and finding a job. So yeah, it's definitely cool to get to play a mom.

'How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)'/ABC

 

You mentioned working with Brad Garrett and Elizabeth Perkins. People will also remember you from your "Roseanne" days working with Roseanne Barr and John Goodman. Which set of parents would you say are kookier? Elaine and Max or Roseanne and Dan?

[Laughs] That's a great question! They are very different. One interesting similarity between the "Roseanne" show and "How to Live ..." what was neat about the "Roseanne" show working on it at the time is that it really pushed the envelope and sort of tackled some interesting subjects and that was sort of Roseanne herself saying "I want to tackle this. I want to have the first lesbian kiss on television. I want to have this. I want to deal with x, y, z." It was neat to see where the show went when we were filming "How to Live ..." and the different topics they would tackle.

We did this one episode on what it's like to try and raise a kid together when you're divorced. [My daughter] Natalie starts saying, "How do we do this? Why can't we do things all together?"

We also did this episode where I try and set up my ex-husband on a date because my daughter says, "Well you're dating, and I want daddy to be happy too." So I try to set him up and it kind of ends up backfiring. It was fun to sort of see the different directions that they took, and I felt a couple times it reminded me of working on the "Roseanne" show in terms of the show pushes the envelope.

Any funny behind-the-scenes stories you can share with the fans from filming?

There were definitely times working with that many stand-up comedians in one room where we just can't get through takes. I've never laughed harder. When I start laughing and it was late in the day, and you've worked a lot of hours, you've had too much coffee, there were times where I had to say "Brad can you not say that one line? Because I can't get through the take."

We just had the wrap party, and it was the longest gag reel that I've ever seen from any show. It was just constantly people losing it, losing it, losing it. [Laughs]

It was a ridiculously fun working environment. It's the best for doing comedy because when you're having the most fun is when you're most creative.

It's not that uncommon for grown-up kids these days to move back in with their parents. Now that you've done this show, do you have any wise advice for people who may be experiencing those living arrangements now?

What I loved about the show and how they put it is, Claudia always said between her and her parents they make one responsible parent. Polly, because of the mother she did have, she wants to be the mother she never had, but because of the mother she did have, she has to go to her mother and get her help. I think what lies at the bottom of this is yes, they have very different parenting philosophies. Her parents have this much more laid-back philosophy. They take Natalie to the Hawaiian Jazz Festival, and they actually lose her by accident. Polly is much more trying to do the helicopter parenting style and micromanage everything and be sort of this type A perfect mom, and she realizes she's not and that's OK. At the bottom of it they all really care about each other and that it takes a village to raise a kid, and they've got a pretty cool village.

'Grey's Anatomy'/ABC

 

You're also guest starring on the episode of "Grey's Anatomy" this Thursday, and I understand fans should have their tissues ready.

More: Official 'Grey's Anatomy' ABC show page

It was definitely one of the hardest things I've ever done. It was a big decision to do it. At the end of the day the scales just tipped in terms of just going through something like that and feeling like we got lucky and our son is OK. He got the treatment late. It was really important to me to raise awareness because there is a treatment you can get to save your kid's heart, but you only have a 10-day window to get this treatment. It's basically called IVIG. It's a high dose of immunoglobulin, so they get this IV 12-hour drip that is a product that's made from 10,000 people's blood that's been donated. It makes heart damage not happen.

Video: Sneak peek at Sarah Chalke on 'Grey's Anatomy'

It was really scary to do. I was nervous about what the experience was going to be like to walk onto the set and hold a kid who was made up to look like my son did. It's very visual. You get this high fever and everything goes red. You've got these red blood-shot eyes and red tongue, red throat and red hands and feet. So I was nervous about what the experience was going to be like.

It was interesting the morning I started -- and it was literally 5 in the morning and I had jumped out of the shower to go to work -- and I had gotten this email from my Kawasaki doctor, Dr. Jane Burns, who's one of the world-leading expert researchers on the disease. I didn't know her during our experience. We found her since. She said one of her Kawasaki patients' mother had emailed her, and her son had been cast to play my son. It was complete coincidence. They cast one of her triplets, and they had had KD a year ago. No one knew. The casting department didn't know. It was just a total coincidence. I just felt like it was a sign and it was meant to be. The chances of that happening are zero. It's been a powerful experience already and it hasn't aired yet.

... I have had such an overwhelming response from other parents saying, "Thank you for raising awareness about this," or "I had KD or my kid had KD or my kid died of it in my arms. Thank you for doing this." Obviously it was a tough decision to do it in the first place, but I feel like that's been a really great thing to have that response from parents. But really the drive behind doing it was how do we raise awareness for something that needs awareness? It's rare. People don't know about it. It's treatable. It can save a kid's life. What can we do? ... My Kawasaki doctor told me if we do an episode about it, the show will save a life.

There's something called the KDFoundation.org and which is a great website, and it's the website that saved my son. It's where we had read the symptoms online and as a result kept fighting for him to get seen by a specialist. It laid out exactly what we had. The "Grey's" episode called "Can't Fight This Feeling," what I loved about it is it gives a message whether it's KD or whether it's something else, fight for your kid. If you have a feeling, if you have this gut feeling, a parent knows. Just advocate for your kid. Don't feel bad to go and get a second, third, fifth, sixth opinion because it doesn't hurt.

"How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)" premieres Wednesday, April 3, at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

 

Are Sarah and Hank getting back together?

By MSN TV Partner Apr 11, 2014 10:51AM
In this sneak peek of the "Parenthood" season finale, Hank (Ray Romano) impresses Amber (Mae Whitman) and Sarah (Lauren Graham) with his Hank-like concern as they deal with Ryan's hospitalization.

Watch it first on MSN TV:

This clip, along with the promo clip NBC showed for next week's episode, hints at a reunion for Sarah and Hank. Are you rooting for the couple? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The season finale of "Parenthood" airs Thursday April 17 at 10PM ET/PT on NBC.
 

Get a glimpse of Marsden’s character in the animated show starring Jack McBrayer

By MSN TV Partner Mar 25, 2014 10:04AM

In a new episode premiering March 31, James Marsden will guest start on Disney XD’s “Wander Over Yonder”.


Marsden reunites with "30 Rock" co-star Jack McBrayer in this episode where the hero Sir Brad Starlight (Marsden) enlists Wander (McBrayer) as his goofy sidekick and Sylvia as his noble steed on his quest to save Princess Demurra from the evil Dragon King, King Draykor.


See this pic first on MSN TV: Wander is ecstatic to fulfill his fairytale dream of rescuing a princess, but Sir Brad Starlight is not interested in sharing the spotlight and reminds Wander at every turn that there's only room for one hero.


“Wander Over Yonder” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD

 

Kim Kardashian, Wendy Williams hear what regular folk really think about them

By MSN TV Partner Mar 18, 2014 9:18AM
In the the new series from Oxygen, "Celebrities Undercover" will feature two celebrities concealing their true identity with the use of prosthetic make-up to find out what unsuspecting fans and friends really think of them without the distraction of their famous personas.

The season premiere will feature Kim Kardashian, and executive producer Wendy Williams will get a taste of her own medicine as well. In this clip watch Kim K. undergo an impressive make-up overhaul in prep for undercover work: going to a group job interview as a Kardashian fan hoping to become her own new assistant. 

Watch the video:

Other stars features this season include T-Pain, Fantasia, Joey Fatone, Lil’ Kim, Chili, Anthony Anderson, Jaleel White, Adrienne Bailon, Ice-T and Coco.

"Celebrities Undercover" premieres March 18 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen.

 

Host Justin Willman and Disney stars dish on the new show and offer up advice

By MSN TV Partner Mar 14, 2014 11:15AM

(Disney's Win, Lose or Draw /Adam Taylor, Disney Channel)By Minh Nguyen


It didn’t take long for memories of the original “Win, Lose or Draw” game show to come flooding back as soon as we stepped foot on the set of Disney’s resurrected show of the same name.  Gone was the ‘80s living room set, replaced with bright vibrant colors, fun props and technology everywhere. Host Justin Willman (“Cupcake Wars”) commanded the stage as Disney stars Dove Cameron and Joey Bragg from “Liv and Maddie” battled it out against each other with their teammates.


The premise is pretty simple: two teams of three players (with the Disney stars on each side) compete in drawing contests to win prizes. Thrown into the mix are special challenges (like Shake, Rattle and Draw; Sit and Spin; The Wand) that take advantage of oversized props and fun gadgets. This season will also feature stars from Disney shows "Kickin' It," "Lab Rats," "I Didn't Do It,"  "Austin & Ally," "Jessie," "Dog With a Blog" and "Mighty Med" as well as stars from "Teen Beach Movie."


Over lunch, we were able to speak to Willman, Cameron and Bragg.


For people that aren’t familiar with the original game, how are you describing this to them?

Willman: The simple idea is just that it’s drawing Charades. You get your teammates to guess what you’re drawing. We have a team of writers who write these clues, and the words that they have to draw are so clever.


It's super high-tech, so the old original version was more markers on pads of paper, which was great at the time but here they have these massive touch screens and tons of software they designed just for the games that’s completely interactive.


Contestants have to do a bunch of crazy challenges in round two. Like drawing with a helmet on, where they can’t see anything or drawing with a unicorn stylus and that makes it way tougher but also much more entertaining to watch.


How are you enjoying being a part of the show?

Willman: As a live performer, I’m used to having that instant gratification of a live audience and this feels a lot like that. We’ve got 150 screaming kids, who are having the time of their lives just being there. It’s great because the jokes get instant payback. The excitement, I feed off of it. Even if it’s first thing in the morning, I don’t even need to have my coffee. As soon as that crowd starts to roar, I’m ready to go. It’s a blast.


Bragg: I like the rapid round. I can’t remember what it’s called. Where there’s one person drawing, and two people guessing, then we just switch.


Cameron:  I think the best part for me has actually been, (I know this sounds like such a canned answer), but has been getting to meet these kids. There was this great moment where, it was at the end of the first round when they all kind of flooded in and they hugged us. And some of them were crying, and I wanted to cry. We didn’t realize the gravity of how huge this really is, and “Win, Lose, or Draw” has been great that way. We’ve gotten to interact with a lot of kids.


Justin, what’s the best advice you ever received?

Willman: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”


Dove and Joey, you guys seem really polished. What kind of advice do you have for kids that get stage fright?

Bragg: Well, I was doing stand-up comedy, and I don’t mean to be that guy, but it’s one of the hardest things to go up there and say stuff that you’ve written. You don’t have music backing you. I wanted to do something that I’m going to remember. And I think a lot of that is “I’m going to embarrass myself,” but you’re never going to see those people that are watching you ever again. Just do it!


Cameron: I always had a fear of cameras because I grew up on stage. Most things in life are one of those things where once you try it, you realize how OK it is. I just don’t take life too seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyways. So, yeah. Just have fun. Do what you please.


“Disney’s Win, Lose or Draw” airs Mondays through Thursdays at 5 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel.

 

She still lives with her parents!

By MSN TV Partner Mar 13, 2014 10:55AM
Later this month, "Extra" host Maria Menounos will premiere her new reality show. "Chasing Maria Menounos" will give fans a peek into her life, including living with her longtime boyfriend and her immigrant parents.

In this interview with Oxygen's On-Air Personality Susie Castillo, Menounos reveals more about her upbringing and what to expect on her new series. Watch this first on MSN TV:


"Chasing Maria Menounos" premieres March 18 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen.
 

Princess Aslaug brings surprise and intrigue to this scripted drama

By MSN TV Partner Mar 13, 2014 10:17AM
Season 2 of History's "Vikings" is underway. Princess Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) revealed she was carrying Ragnar's (Travis Fimmel) child, sending rippling effects into his kingdom. In this video extra, Sutherland talks more about her character and how filming went the second time around.


"Vikings" airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on History.
 

"It's not a good day, Mad Max"

By MSN TV Partner Mar 12, 2014 9:56AM

In this "Parenthood" clip, Max (Max Burkholder) wrecks havoc for Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Hank (Ray Romano) when he barges into the studio, interrupting their workflow.


Watch this clip, first on MSN TV:


Parenthood airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
 

The classic game show has been upgraded with newer technology

By MSN TV Partner Mar 3, 2014 11:36AM

Who remembers the celebrity game show, "Win, Lose or Draw"? Disney Channel has recreated a kids version of it, premiering Monday, March 3. (The show will air Mondays through Thursdays).

 

On "Disney's Win, Lose or Draw" Disney Channel and Disney XD stars team up with kid contestants to compete and win prizes in a battle of drawing skills, creativity and wits. Justin Willman hosts the contemporary version of the popular game show, which also features new technology such as motion-control illustration, interactive multi-touch screen displays and other fun challenges.

 

Watch a clip:


 "Disney’' Win, Lose or Draw" premieres Monday, March 3, at 5 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel.