During January’s presentation at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, NBC’s Bob Greenblatt said when discussing NBC’s fall from network comedy supremacy, “We’re going to try some multi-cams.” NBC is pegging some of its hope on the new multi-camera sitcom from Executive Producers Ellen DeGeneres and Writer/EP Liz Feldman.
Childhood best friends Luke and Lizzy have decided to raise a family together in an unconventional way — Lizzy, who is a lesbian, wants to raise a child with Luke by her side.
Then one night, Luke falls for Prudence a free-spirited British girl and when Lizzy discovers that she’s pregnant, Luke announces that he and Prudence have gotten married. A different kind of family is born.
The life that the show is imitation is loosely based on Feldman’s; she and her straight male best friend had planned on starting a family together, but when he met the love of his life, Feldman’s plans for parenthood were derailed. Feldman says she put that disappointment over plans gone awry into her writing and conceived a slightly- different reality, which became One Big Happy.
Of course, it is an obvious connection between One Big Happy’s lesbian central character and DeGeneres’ character coming out in on her sitcom Ellen in 1997, but DeGeneres insists that she didn’t set out to make show about homosexuality. “I didn’t just say, ‘send me only the lesbian comedies,’” the talk show host jokes and says the 6-episode first season is more about the fluidity of what makes a family.
Feldman was a former writer at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and though Feldman left the talk show to work on 2 Broke Girls, DeGeneres is such a fan of Feldman’s, that she was eager to get involved in the project.
Feldman also called on another friend to play her male lead, Luke. Nick Zano was the perfect choice for her Nick, and for Nick’s lesbian best friend Lizzy, Zano was excited to work with his pal, Elisha Cuthbert. The pair had worked together on Happy Endings so their chemistry as long-time friends is readily apparent in the show’s pilot. Zano revealed that he, Cuthbert and Cuthbert’s husband, hockey player, Dion Phaneuf go out to dinner together.
Cuthbert reveals that she “Really loves being on TV” and is building on the comedy experience she gained in Happy Endings. Cuthbert jokes that her lesbian character on One Big Happy has “A great collection of blazers.”
Joining the series as the third leg of the Lizzy-Luke triangle is British actress Kelly Book playing Luke’s free-spirited love interest, Prudence. Brook credits her burgoning comedic chops to work she’s done treading the boards in British theater. The buxom brunette will have to work to differentiate herself from Sofia Vergara’s curvily sexy enthusiasm on Modern Family, although I doubt many people will find fault with more than one role on TV for beautiful women that are smart, sexy and funny.
Photo by: Eric McCandless/NBC