'Hot in Cleveland' star refutes claim that her show is 'dirty'
Whose claim did she refute? It was mine.
Earlier this year I had a chance to chat with “Hot in Cleveland” star Wendy Malick while she was in Toronto promoting the series. The interview was conducted in a hotel room at the Intercontinental, with Malick sitting upright in the room’s huge bed, and myself, sitting in one of the easy chairs beside her.
It was a pretty relaxed and laid back scene.
Overall, Malick, who currently stars as Victoria Chase on the hit CTV show was somehow not what I was expecting; unlike almost every character she’s portrayed on-screen, Malick was down-to-earth, warm, friendly, genuine and direct.
Interviewing the actress was a total pleasure, and we touched on a variety of subjects over the course of our half-hour chat.
When I asked Malick about “Hot in Cleveland” being “dirty,” the actress disagreed with my description.
“I think its ribald and risqué… but I don’t think it’s dirty. I don’t think it’s got that hard edge -- that saves it from being in bad taste. We’re actually very careful about walking that line. There are a lot of sex-farce jokes, but so much of it is exaggerated and tongue-in-cheek and gets too graphic.”
Malick also chalked much of the show’s ability to “get away” with some of these jokes on the shoulders of Betty White, who has a totally unique sense of timing and candor… especially when her character is calling the women whores and sluts.
“She does that in such a hilarious way, making fun of us, that it’s clearly not true. Betty has the ability to say lines that no other actress could get away with. She can still be loveable and talk like a sailor. And she often does,” says Malick with a laugh.
“We’re pretty saucy. We’re down-to-earth women who are strong women, and we all have good senses of humour and don’t mind being poked fun at. That’s why we are comedians.”
With the surprise success of “Hot in Cleveland,” as well as popular series such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men” making waves at the top of the rating charts, it seems like the sitcom has made a comeback… however, Malick, no stranger to sitcoms herself, says they’re simply following what worked in the past.
“I thought the sitcom was dead. But this one followed the classic formula, which starts with good writing and with good characters you can really flesh out and care about, and their relationships. As crazy and wacky as they may be, they show up for one another in a pinch, it’s about how valuable girlfriends can be to one another,” says the actress in her trademark husky voice.
“When you have well-drawn characters and good writing, it doesn’t really matter what they’re doing. You just put them in a situation with some obstacles and people follow them if they like them. I think our show benefits from having the audience there; they’re almost like another character in the piece. When we do this show in front of an audience, it just gooses you and you’re basically doing a little play. It’s so delicious to have laughs roll over you. They have to edit the laughs out because we only have 22 minutes! But we have a very vocal, very responsive crowd, it’s fun!”
Malick previously appeared on “Dream On,” “Just Shoot Me!” and “Frasier.” Malick has also made over 80 guest starring appearances on a wide variety of shows over the course of her career including “CSI” and “Law & Order.”
As for her current character, Victoria, Malick says she’s simpler than she appears.
“I think she’s so transparent to her friends, she is so much a legend in her own mind, and they understand her, and they reel her in when she goes way, way, way too far out in the zone,” says the actress.
“In a pinch, she really loves these women. I always say, you can only have one friend in your life like Victoria, but you can only have one, it’s too much energy. I have a friend like that, because it’s just too time consuming. But you see the vulnerability under the surface.”
Finally, I had to wrap up the interview, and the last thing I had to ask her was about her former “Just Shoot Me!” co-star Enrico Colantoni, who is currently in Toronto and starring on the CTV series “Flashpoint.”
Apparently Malick and Colantoni see each other quite often when he’s in Los Angeles and it so happened that when Malick was in Toronto, Colantoni was in California.
When I asked Malick if she had seen Colantoni in “Flashpoint,” she exclaimed “I have, and he is so good in it! There’s nothing that man can’t do. He’s one of the most incredible actors, and one of the funniest physical comedians I’ve ever seen. So brilliant.”
“Hot in Cleveland” airs Sunday nights on CTV, with full episodes available online at CTV.ca.
Tyrone Warner has been with CTV.ca since 2005, covering news, entertainment and everything related to CTV. When he’s away from the computer, you can find him writing, recording and performing his own music, running his own record label and dabbling in photography, painting and creative collage. Follow him on Twitter!