‘Happy Together’ is the new show airing this fall on CBS. Based loosely on the living situation of the esteemed Harry Styles, the show stars Felix Mallard, Damon Wayans Jr. and Amber Stevens West. When popstar Cooper James comes to live with couple Jake and Claire as their lives get turned upside down.
Do you see any similarities between you and your characters?
Victor Williams: Actually no.
Stephnie Weir: On a happy level, yes, but on a character level, no. Although, I do know a lot of women like this. Who are, you know, their kids are grown, their careers are kind of behind them, they’re taking on the world as if they are 20 again. Yes, I know them.
Victor Williams: Gerald is kind of, you know, he has the best parts of me, but they are in a small percentage. You are talking about two retired doctors, who have lived a good life and want to have a good time. That seems too foreign for me.
Stephnie Weir: We both have young children! Far from boozing it up all day long.
How did these roles come about for you, respectively?
Stephnie Weir: For me, I know the creators of the show, Austin and Tim. I am a writer, and I knew them in a writing capacity. They had asked me if I could audition and I told them I couldn’t. I was working on something else. The day of the network table read, Austin called me and said “We still don’t have a Bonnie, do you mind just coming and reading the role? So we have someone reading it this morning at 9AM?” And so I did and then they said they were going to offer me this role.
Victor Williams: It came very oddly for us both. They had already shot the pilot. Tim Meadows was originally casted as the father, but he had also already done an already pilot. This was in the second position, and so the other one go picked up and I think the network here was kinda rolling the dice that it wouldn’t get picked up and it did. So they were scrambling to replace Gerald. It came to me in late June, I looked at the trailer and it looked like a lot of fun. I flew out here and got it. And I remember thinking whether or not I got the job, it was going to be based on whether or not I vibed with her.
Stephnie Weir: I was in on the process and I remember watching his tape and we were all like,”Wow that guy is great!” He just has comedy that is rooted in real life. It stabilizes this couple a lot.
With Damon and Amber, one of the things we see right off the bat is the chemistry. So I would like to know what it’s like to see that in your perspective.
Stephnie Weir: It’s inspiring to watch them. It’s not work for me and I’m eager to watch their scenes, even when I’m not in them. They just work together so well and they have this really beautiful chemistry and it just makes you want to raise your bar.
Victor Williams: It truly is seamless. The thing that has impressed me most about working on the show so far is I know there are people who work together, and on-screen chemistry either works or it doesn’t. And for them it works, even when the cameras aren’t rolling. They bounce off each other very well. It’s a rare thing to see.
Stephnie Weir: The writers don’t have to manufacture it so much because it comes so natural for them.
The portrayal of marriage has changed in 2018. What are your comments on Happy Together and how now marriage isn’t about drama, or “I hate my husband” storylines?
Stephnie Weir: I think some of those dynamics results in one of the characters being the troublemaker. But here, they really mirror so many marriages that I know, including my own. They both are fallible. They seem to be a really competent at times and can pull the weight when the other one is slacking. It’s a really natural take and no one is the “nag” or the screw up.” They seem to be a really genuine couple. Also, they are very representative in terms of binge-watching shows together, and not getting through it. It feels very relatable.
Victor Williams: One of the first conversations that I had with Austin, one of the show-runners was he saying “There’s so much stuff on TV with this conflict, and the wife one-upping the other, or vice-versa. And he said he wanted a show that people could tune into and people really love each other. And so I thought it was fantastic, but also I don’t think that happens in real life. And he was like “No, we should show that it does happen!”
How involved are you guys as parents in the show?
Victor Williams: Thats what its been so far.
Stephnie Weir: The episode that we’re shooting this week is a little parent centric. We show the flip-side of the coin, a glaring representative of what they don’t want to be. We fell into the area where we are dressing alike. And I’ve done that a lot with my husband, and he’s wearing a striped shirt with jeans and I’m like “one of us is changing!”
Victor Williams: But with us, we’re fine with it.
Stephnie Weir: We actually shop that way and it fits our vibe. We enhance Jake and Claire’s story.
Anything surprising about your characters on the show?
Victor Williams: To me it’s about how far will we go. Some of the things we do is a little outlandish. We try to push that further and further.
Stephnie Weir: We know they are party animals. We try to do that until it’s time for them to focus on being grandparents and then we’d focus on that. But until then, party like rockstars.
How would you describe ‘Happy Together’ in three words?
Stephnie Weir: Ice Cream, popcorn and celebration.
Victor Williams: Mimosas, silly, cake.
The show premieres Monday, Oct. 1 at 8:30/7:30c on CBS.