Parenthood offers myriad joys and pleasures but it's not always a picnic either, as the US sitcom Up All Night humorously demonstrates.
It follows new parents Reagan and Chris, played by Christina Applegate and Will Arnett, as they begin the adventure of raising their infant daughter Amy while trying to get the work-life balance correct (Chris is staying at home, while Reagan works on the talk show hosted by her friend Ava, played by Bridesmaids star Maya Rudolph) and reluctantly bidding farewell to their pre-baby lives.
The show brings together an accomplished comedic cast, with Arnett a pleasant surprise as the supportive, if frazzled, Chris.
After all, Arnett is so great at playing jerks on shows such as Arrested Development and 30 Rock that it's unusual to see him so convincingly play a nice guy.
Q: UP ALL NIGHT HAS DONE QUITE NICELY IN THE RATINGS IN THE US, WHICH I IMAGINE IS PRETTY GOOD NEWS FOR ALL INVOLVED.
A: The ratings stuff is beyond our control, so it's nice to see we've done better than we had hoped for. Really, our job is just to try to make the episodes as funny and as good as possible - creatively and from a quality standpoint - and if we can get people to watch here and there, then that's great. My main focus now is enjoying working on the show, and I'm really lucky that means working with so many great people.
Q: A BALANCE OF COMEDY AND AUTHENTICITY AND HEART IS OFTEN HARD TO ACHIEVE BUT THIS SHOW TENDS TO GET IT RIGHT. WHAT CAN YOU ATTRIBUTE THAT TO?
A: Thematically, all the stories come from something that resonates with the writing staff and (executive producer) Emily Spivey herself, so the kernel of every story comes from a real place. Of course, everything has to be a little heightened because obviously we're not just making a documentary. A documentary about this subject would be drab.
Q: BETWEEN YOURSELF, CHRISTINA APPLEGATE, MAYA RUDOLPH AND SOME GREAT GUEST STARS, THERE'S SOME TERRIFIC COMEDIC TALENT TAKING PART IN THIS SHOW. DO YOU GUYS ALWAYS STICK TO THE SCRIPT OR IS THERE ROOM FOR A LITTLE AD-LIBBING?
A: Yeah, there always is. We're very lucky that we have such great writers and get to work on these really fun scripts, but there's always an understanding we want to make the best show possible. If stuff comes up and you feel like you want to add something, there's definitely improvising. It's all collaboration.
Q: UP ALL NIGHT HAS STARTED WITH YOUR CHARACTER CHRIS AS A STAY-AT-HOME DAD WHILE APPLEGATE'S REAGAN IS WORKING NINE-TO-FIVE. WILL THAT DYNAMIC STAY IN PLACE OR ARE THERE CHANGES IN THE WORKS?
A: Wait, is that what you're pitching? As of now, no, but you're going to see them trying to figure out what works. It's just like real parenting: There's no point in having a plan because nothing goes as expected.
Q: YOU'RE NOW A PARENT TO TWO YOUNG SONS, AGED FOUR AND TWO. DID YOU HAVE GOALS AS A FATHER?
A: I didn't have that many goals, but the experience has been beyond my wildest imagination. It is the most magnificent - and certainly the most important thing - in my life.
Q: YOU'RE PERHAPS BEST-KNOWN FOR PLAYING - WELL, JERKS. UP ALL NIGHT'S CHRIS IS FAR FROM THAT - WERE YOU LOOKING FOR A CHANGE?
A: When I read the script, I really just related to the story because it felt really close to where I am in my own life right now. That was the first time I'd experienced that.
- Up All Night screens on the Seven network on Thursdays at 11.05pm