Words With The Women Of NBC’s “Undateable:” Bianca Kajlich & Bridgit Mendler

"Undateable" Bridgit Mendler & Bianca Kajlich interview by Pamela PriceIn 2014, TV audiences fell for "Undateable," the "Friends-like" comedy series that follows a bar owner, his best buddies and the trials and tribulations of their dating lives. At first sight, the show is all about the 'bros,' from Chris D'Elia (Danny) to Brent Morin (Justin), Ron Funches (Shelly), David Fynn (Brett) and Rick Glassman (Burski). But, while the men might be the 'undateable' ones, the women are the catches of the cast. Bianca Kajlich, who is best known for the long-running sitcom, "Rules of Engagement," brings her resilience and natural comedic talent to the role of Leslie Burton, Danny's logical sister. Singing sensation and chart-topper, Bridgit Mendler added some more hilarious zest to the cast when she joined season two, playing the optimistic bartender.

On Friday, October 9, 2015, Bianca and Bridgit embark on season three, and this time every episode is LIVE on NBC! We sat down for some girl talk, chatting about everything from improvising on set, to the real undateable men in their life. 

As an audience member and as performers, what makes good TV in your opinion, and what are the shows that really drew you to love television?

Bridgit: I loved The Office. For my generation — when I was in high school — everybody loved that show. And that’s one of those where it was very funny, but just felt very real at the same time. To me, that’s the ideal — to be grounded, but funny.

Bianca: I grew up on Family Ties, Growing Pains and those shows that were comedies, but had dramatic moments. I think at the end of the day, if you don’t have characters that you care about, then anything can happen and nothing really matters. I feel like with our show, it is crazy and sometimes it goes far outside of the lines. But I remember one of the very first or second episodes we shot in season 1: we couldn’t believe that our live audience had become so invested in one of the storylines. There was actual silence. We realized that this is a show that is really funny, but also has those characters that you want to be invested in, and you want to find out what happens to them. That’s what was great about Friends — we loved them, and we felt like we were a part of their clan. I feel like that’s the strength here; it’s a show of loveable losers and you want to be with all of them.

I feel like the show has a lot of aspects that Friends had. If you could create a new character arc and where your characters are going for this season, where would you like to see them go?

Bridgit: (laughs) I feel like Candace seems like she has room to grow. She was like a wounded puppy when the show started; she was the stray dog that you take in. One time, I was on tour and there was this cat that we found nestled into the wall, just trapped there and covered in fleas. It was so covered in fleas and it was just irritable and jumpy the whole time. Once we gave it a bath, fed it and got rid of all of the fleas, it was like a completely different cat. I think Candace is that cat. She becomes loved and then a whole new side of her comes out. I think that’s a cool thing to see. And in terms of relationships, she finds people she really connects with, like with Bianca’s character Leslie.

Bianca: I would like to see more with Candace and Leslie, because I do think that’s a very funny dynamic. They are from such different sides of the track and walks of life. We don’t know so far in advance what’s happening this year because of being live, but I think it would be great to have a moment or two with Candace and Leslie where they really realize they have no idea what the other one is talking about. 

Speaking of insanity, I’m sure there’s a lot of improv that goes on. Do you improvise on set and does it come easy to you?

Bianca: I’m trying to more and more. It does not come easy to me, and especially surrounded by people who are so good at it, it’s intimidating. It’s definitely leaping off of an insanely ridiculously high cliff and just going forward with it, with no assurances that there’s something that’s going to catch you. The guys are great. They support us and they’re there for us. But I think sometimes they also just like to see us fall. (laughs)

Bridgit: And they just love making fun of you as well, just generally. I think part of it is learning not to be afraid of the failure. I get afraid, like, “Ahh, what if I don’t get a laugh,” and then that’s paralyzing. But so what if you don’t get a laugh? Just keep doing it. That’s what comedians do, is they fall on their face so many times that they’re just not afraid anymore. But I also do think part of it comes from just really knowing your character. I think the more that we go along, the better we know our characters and the more we’ll be able to just speak like them and say whatever.

Bianca: And not overthinking it. I think these boys have had a lot of practice at just spitting out whatever comes up in their heads or in their hearts. When it is more rooted in the reality of the moment, crazy as that moment may be, then it can kind of find its footing. But I think what happens a lot of the times, for me at least, is I overthink it. You try to think about making it funny, and once you do that, you’re a dead man or woman.

"Undateable" Bridgit Mendler & Bianca Kajlich interview by Pamela Price

I know you guys are going to have a lot of guest stars this season. If it was your choice, who would you like to guest star?

Bianca: Dead or alive? (laughs)

Bridgit: William Shakespeare.

Bianca: Lucille Ball, she’s the coolest.

Bridgit: I do love Steve Carell — always have, always will. Speaking of the Office.

Bianca: I wanted Leslie to have a gender fluid moment and have Ruby Rose come on, because I’m obsessed with her. She is definitely my woman crush.

You guys did a music video last time. If the two of your characters did a music video, who would you like to sing with?

Bianca: If it were my character, it would definitely have to be someone from the 80s. I was obsessed with the Pet Shop Boys. (laughs) I think that a Leslie sing-along with the Pet Shop Boys would be pretty epic.

Bridgit: I was just bumpin’ to Robin Thicke’s Evolution of Robin Thicke album last night, and it’s so good. I think that would be cool.

Describe the most undateable person that you’ve come across in your life.

Bianca: I dated a very famous person, whom I will not name and who was crazy and probably the most undateable person. I lasted a month with that person. (laughs)  I actually had an acronym that I made up for him. He was called “lasso” in my phone, and it was “lonely and sad self-obsessed.”

That’s a nice diagnosis. (laughs)

Bridgit: There’s this certain plague going around Los Angeles. I don’t know if it’s global, I don’t know if it’s just LA, but flakiness. It frustrates me so much. So when people just flake out on plans, I think that’s a very undateable quality. I think people should be accountable to one another. On the other end of the spectrum, when someone is too on it, like messaging constantly —

Bianca: With emojis.

Bridgit: Yeah. I don’t want to be texting with somebody all day long. I think it’s nice to have a conversation over text every once in a while, but if you respond to quickly, over and over again like this is not going to end —

Do you think social media killed romance in a way?

Bianca: 100 percent. I was just thinking to ask you (Bridgit). Have you ever dated in a time or place where people just called each other? Or has it always been texting for you? Because when I — again, bringing up my last marriage — was divorced, it was crazy because I realized all of a sudden people text each other. They didn’t call anymore, and it was so bizarre to me.

Now it’s even worse because of the emojis.

Bridgit: I remember it was texting for me. I remember at one point, before, the conversation would go constantly when you do really like somebody. There was one time where I “accidentally,” texted him, like, “Haha.” And I was like, “Oh, sorry, I mean to send that to somebody else.

Bridgit, are you working on new music right now? And for both of you, what do you see in your future as actresses; perhaps some drama?

Bianca: I like drama. That’s always been my preference; however, I have made a career out of doing comedy, so go figure.

Bridgit: I’m working on music right now — just whipping up the latest songs, which I’m really, really excited about. It feels so much more real this time around. I feel very personally invested about it. I’ve been trying this thing lately where I go to coffee shops for a couple of hours every day and just write. So that’s been fun. I’m over caffeinated, but I love it.

Bianca: How do you have time?

Bridgit: You make time. I wake up early so I can go.

Bianca: I’m impressed.

Bridgit: I don’t feel right in my body unless I do it. I don’t know. So there’s that, and then in terms of acting, I would love to do more roles. I think there’s so much out there. There are so many good stories to tell.

Catch "Undateable" Fridays on NBC (LIVE 8-8:30 p.m. ET); Season Premiere: October 9 (LIVE 8-9 p.m. ET)

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