Raising a child on your own can be complicated, but it certainly helps when you’re also surrounded by friends. That’s at least the case for the group of single parents at the core of the ABC / Global comedy series Single Parents, airing Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT after Modern Family. One of those parents, Angie (Leighton Meester), is a single mother with a son named Graham who is about to have her life get a whole lot more complicated thanks to a return later this season of Graham’s father, Derek (Adam Brody).
For Meester, an actress and musician known for her role as fan-favorite Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl, the return of Derek to Single Parents means playing opposite her real life partner Brody once again. Meester recently chatted briefly with The TV Junkies to discuss why she loves being a part of the ensemble comedy and what Derek’s return could mean for Angie. She also shared her thoughts on Angie’s relationship with fellow single parent Will (Taran Killam).
The TV Junkies: Now that you’re entering your second season as Angie, what’s it been like making the shift to a comedic role? Was that a purposeful choice or just what you find yourself drawn to lately?
Leighton Meester: It’s kind of all of that. The project itself was very appealing to me early on because of the people involved, the character, the writing, and how it all comes together in this really great package. It’s a funny and heartfelt comedy that I really love living in, not only at work, but off camera as well. It’s a great space to be in day to day, making jokes, having laughs, and doing something I think is really fun and lighthearted for people to just unplug and watch.
I also just love the character itself and get to do so many fun things with her. It’s a very grounded character in many ways, but then I also get to be pretty wacky.
TTVJ: Are you anything like Angie as a parent? How do you find your real life parenting philosophies matching up against the ones on the show?
LM: She leads with love and cares for her kid with deep love, appreciation, and affection. She’s doing it on her own, and so as much as I can say being a mom is the hardest, most thankless job, I don’t think that compares to being a single parent. I can’t imagine how hard that must be day to day. She lets her kid figure things out for themselves, and that’s something I think I’ve learned from her because it’s not easy. So letting your kid learn from their own mistakes and not instruct them or change them is a huge, valuable lesson.
TTVJ: In the Season 2 premiere, Angie worked very hard to send an email off to her son’s father, Derek, and Adam Brody is set to reprise his role later this season. What can you preview about what Derek’s reappearance will mean for Angie?
LM: It is very confusing for her because she has spent the better part of a decade with built up rage, anger, and bewilderment about him and their past. She has raised a kid all on her own and been the mother, the father, the everything to him, and now she’s suddenly faced with this person who is sort of this myth in her mind. He may not be as bad as she made him out to be, and obviously, he’s played by my real life partner, so I think he’s handsome, charming, and charismatic which comes into play for Angie as well. There’s definitely a reason why she liked him in the first place. It’s a struggle for her and he does come back big. He causes some problems for her and she causes problems for herself. She’s now faced with whether she wants her son to meet him, how she feels about him being in her life, and it’s just an exciting time.
TTVJ: Because on the other hand, the show has showcased this friendship between Angie and Will that definitely seems at times like it could be something more. How does Derek’s reappearance affect that relationship?
LM: It might complicate it. They are really good friends, their kids are friends, and they’re in a big friend group so what’s the implication if they let it go past that? The dream is obviously you’re best friends with the person you happen to fall in love with, but we all know that can be very complicated, especially if you have kids and a lot of baggage. That all comes into play, not to mention the fact that Will has a current girlfriend.
I really like working with Taran and the dynamic between Angie and Will is one of my favorites to explore because it is a female/male friendship. There is a chance and the question is there, but as of right now it’s not romantic. It’s kind of fun to explore that and see two people of the opposite sex just being friends.
TTVJ: What’s something else you’re really looking forward to viewers seeing in Season 2 of the show?
LM: Well we have a handful of wild animals! There’s going to be a fire — a comical fire — and then I’ll be dealing with a possum, and then there’s a turkey coming up. Just a handful of animals that we are dealing with and it’s very fun.
Enjoying Single Parents? Sound off below!
Single Parents airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC and Global.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.