Peter Gallagher and Jane Kaczmarek create Christmas chaos as Whitney’s parents
Nothing says Christmas like food, friends … and in Whitney’s case, her dysfunctional family.
In an episode titled, “Christmas is Cummings,” airing Thursday, Dec. 8 at 8:30/7:30C on CTV, Whitney (Whitney Cummings) and Alex’s (Chris D’Elia) plans to spend the holidays with their friends get derailed when her estranged parents (guest stars Jane Kaczmarek and Peter Gallagher) pay them an unexpected visit.
“Whitney is determined to keep her parents apart because she doesn’t want to have a destroyed Christmas the way she had growing up when her parents were together (but) she finds out . . . both of us are showing up at her house for Christmas and she’s trying to get out of that, and mayhem ensues,” says Kaczmarek, during a recent conference call.
Kaczmarek, best known for her role on “Malcolm in the Middle,” will reprise her role as Whitney’s mother, Candi, while Gallagher will make his first appearance as Whitney’s father Vince.
Gallagher says Whitney has an especially strained relationship with her father because she blames the difficulties she has with men and life in general on him.
“I don’t think (he’s) as terrible as she remembers, but (he’s) certainly not reliable, a bit of a con man, sort of a day late and a dollar short kind of guy, always with an angle,” says Gallagher.
Neither Kaczmarek nor Gallagher have met Whitney’s real-life parents, whom her on-screen parents are reportedly based on.
“They’re rather colourful sorts, as I understand,” says Kaczmarek. “I was watching some past episodes of the show last night and, you know, her references to them are pretty bleak . . . but as she says, she had this family and she’s gotten a television series out of it.”
Just like their characters, the two veteran actors are far from strangers, having first worked together on a theatre production of “Pride and Prejudice” in New Haven, Conn., 25 years ago.
“Our kind of take on the way comedy is played was a very similar style. And Whitney and her young friends, you know, this is kind of a very new, contemporary way of storytelling,” says Kaczmarek.
Gallagher and Kaczmarek both say they were also struck by on the on-set camaraderie between the cast, which undoubtedly translates on-screen.
Kaczmarek says while many actors in television or film disappear into their dressing rooms or trailers during the breaks, everyone on “Whitney” gathers around a table to hang out.
“Peter and I sat with the rest of the cast and, you know, we would read papers and we were checking our Blackberries and everybody is talking and asking questions about when you did this and when you did this . . . (there was this) tremendous sense of familiarity and community,” she says.
“This really had that feeling of being in a play where there’s the green room and everyone is talking and just spending time together. And I think that that has a lot to do with when we got up in front of the audience and in front of the cameras, that there was a greater sense of familiarity, certainly, with the characters because we were enjoying them so much as people.”
Both actors would love to make their roles recurring ones.
“We were very happy to be asked to the party. We had a great time doing the show and we hope, at least I hope, that there will be more episodes with us,” says Kaczmarek.
About Sheri Block
Sheri Block has been covering entertainment for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to covering Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding in London, Sheri’s highlights have included going on tour with “Canadian Idol,” being a stand-in on “Canada’s Next Top Model” and meeting Colin Farrell at the Toronto International Film Festival.Follow her on Twitter!