Without the gallery full of extras and the missing fourth wall, it'd be easy to confuse the cozy shabby-chic living room that's home to the inspired-by-real-life TV couple Fran and Peter Lovett as a real-deal household. The minute you step inside the "Happily Divorced" set, you feel the love. Everyone smiles at one another, asks about holiday plans, and offers to retrieve cookies or water from the craft services table.
The heart of the warmth radiates from the lead trio of writer/creator/producer/star Fran Drescher, creator/producer/writer Peter Marc Jacobson, and the guy who plays him on TV, John Michael Higgins. Jacobson both compliment their real/TV ex-wife Fran Drescher's fitted outfit profusely when she joins them on the couch for a sit-down with Yahoo! TV and later jokingly add a photo of their coincidentally matching jeans and wingtips to Facebook with a caption asking viewers to pick out the real Peter. "I'm obviously the fake one because my shoes have no wear on the bottom. Mine are wardrobe shoes, so I only walk around on this rug," Higgins points out as he points down at the floor decor. "But this proves how right we are getting it."
They make each other laugh. They sit close. And they say wonderful things about the work the others do. In fact, they all say they wouldn't even have done the TV Land show if it weren't for the others onboard. They also talked about why they think the show is working, what they hope to accomplish in Season 2.5 (or as Higgins labels it "Season 2B"), twists and plot developments fans can expect including tonight's guest appearance by Keenan Ivory Wayans, and more.
Is there a scene or guest star that you can't wait for fans to see?
Fran Drescher: Yes, both. We shot a show last week with Keenan Ivory Wayans. He is playing an old flame of Judi's (Tichina Arnold). He broke her heart when we were all in college together, and now he has re-entered her life. Peter and I come from opposite points of view on the subject. I think that people can change. We were all very young then, and I think we should all give him another chance. Judi's lonely, 47, and she deserves to be happy, and he might give that to her. He's been looking for her all these years. Peter, on the other hand, thinks that people don't change and this guy has already broken her heart once. He thinks to revisit that is asking for trouble. There is a scene toward the end of that episode that is so funny that I think it will become a television classic. Certainly a "Happily Divorced" classic moment. We are all at a funeral home together and he can't deal with looking at a dead body and she finds out the guy is married and what we do in that funeral home, the shenanigans that unfold, are so funny. Every time I watch it in the editing room, I laugh out loud, and I was there.
John Michael Higgins: I was actually going to reference that one too. Surprisingly it is a rather short scene, but it packs so much punch. Keenan and Tichina play so well off each other.
FD: There's also possibly some nudity in that episode, so people should really tune in.
Watch a clip from the episode:
Season 1 obviously establishes characters and story. What is the goal for Season 2.5 other than getting Season 3?
JMH: Don't underestimate that. That's always in the back of our heads.
Peter Marc Jacobson: To keep providing 22 minutes of escape and laughter to the people that invite us into their living rooms. That's the magic of television, and we are so glad to be providing that service. Two people this weekend came up to me and said, "I love your show. I laugh out loud every week." And that is not unusual.
FD: That happens to me all the time with this show too. That hasn't happened since "The Nanny." The shows are bigger than they have ever been. And they are more star-studded than they were in the earlier seasons.
The guest stars have been a great addition.
FD: My mom was gleeful, squealing from watching the Debi Mazar show. Peter was really pushing for us to have a Fran type come on to be the roommate once Fran gets married and moves out, and Debi was the perfect choice.
See Debi Mazar on the show:
PMJ: Everyone loved the Latin guy Peter couldn't talk in front of. And Joan Collins. Boy, did I ever want something fictional from the show to be based on real life more. Maybe if I had been her assistant, I would have come out earlier.
Check out a clip of Joan Collins on the show:
JMH: Florence Henderson as a drunk was so inspired. Comedy gold.
FD: She should put herself in for a nomination for that. She was so good.
Can you give us any teases on future plot developments? Will Peter ever get a boyfriend?
PMJ: Funny you should ask. In the episode we are shooting this week. It was time.
JMH: Stick around and you'll see me get a boyfriend before your very eyes.
FD: And a cute one too. Colin Ferguson ("Eureka").
JMH: I haven't told Fran about him because she meddles, and I don't want to hear about it because it is going well so far. It's still a meddle even if she does it because she cares.
FD: When she finds out, it's hilarious. Also because we have set it up that Fran is engaged but her fiancé is away on business a lot, she gets to experience with Peter planning a wedding. We will have flashbacks to their original wedding, which are hilarious. It is just another chance to explore the ever-evolving relationship between Fran and Peter.