In our exclusive interview, Jaime Pressly talks about her new TV Land series Jennifer Falls, including how it will resonate with viewers and makes comedy out of drama.
TV Land premieres its new series Jennifer Falls on Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. The show follows the adventures of Jennifer, a once-successful career woman who suddenly has to move herself and her teenage daughter in with her mother after getting fired from her job.
SheKnows spoke exclusively to Jaime Pressly, who plays the lead role on the series, about what makes Jennifer tick.
“Jennifer is a very strong Type-A personality, an over-achiever who has been very successful, and out of nowhere she loses her job and ends up having to move back in with [her mother],” Pressly said.
The relationship between Jennifer and her mother was strained before Jennifer’s situation changed. Jennifer’s mother is a therapist who somehow never learned how to listen to her own daughter. But Jennifer also learns that her mother wasn’t always wrong, either.
“She kind of realizes that her mother is actually smarter than she thought and [maybe] Mom does know best sometimes,” Pressly revealed.
As for the relationship between Jennifer and her daughter Gretchen, that goes through some changes as well. “For the first time in her life, [Jennifer] doesn’t have help, she doesn’t have a nanny. She has to deal with her child on her own for the first time,” Pressly said.
As it turns out, the situation might not necessarily be a bad thing for mother and daughter.
“Jennifer’s daughter is actually better off about things than Jennifer really is,” Pressly said. “Jennifer’s so worried about letting [Gretchen] down that she fails to realize that what her daughter has always needed was her. Because at the end of the day, she just really needs a mom, and it’s the first time she’s ever had her all to herself.”
After losing her big job, Jennifer has to get help from her brother, who hires her as a bartender at his sports bar. “It’s a hard reality for her to bite,” Pressly shared. “She was more successful than her brother, and here she is going to work for him at a sports bar.”
Though it’s hard for Jennifer to accept living with her mother and working for her brother, both are opportunities that not everyone gets.
“She’s lucky that she had a mother [to] take her in and a brother [to] give her a job, because so many people don’t have it,” Pressly said.
There are many people these days who have found themselves in situations similar to Jennifer’s, which is what makes the show more than just a comedy, but a commentary on the current state of the economy.
“That’s why this show is very relevant for right now,” Pressly revealed. “Because in the last 10 years — with what’s gone on in the market and the economy in general — there’s been so many people who have lost their jobs and homes.”
Pressly remarked that Jennifer Falls will be taking a different kind of approach to the issue. “There’s the film The Company Men, where everything is depressing. Then there’s the comedy side of it, which is what we’re doing. It happens to everybody, in all walks of life, and we’re just showing that.”
“Great comedy comes from real-life drama, so we’re just showing the comedy in the dark, that’s all,” Pressly added.
Playing Jennifer is both a joy and a challenge for Pressly. “The most fun has just been being able to play something real and very different, and that has also been the most challenging — playing something that’s not over-the-top, not a caricature.”
Pressly hopes that viewers will maybe see a little of themselves in Jennifer. She wants people to watch Jennifer and “laugh at themselves for five minutes,” she said.
Jennifer’s plight is one that Pressly thinks many women should be able to relate to. “She’s a single, working mother trying to find balance in her life, and I don’t know any woman that’s ever had a child that hasn’t dealt with that or battled it.”
According to Pressly, Jennifer’s journey in the first season can really be boiled down to three things: “Starting over, eating humble pie and finding balance.”