A crossover episode is a win-win for TV fans. Not only do you get to see your favorite characters interacting with megawatt stars, but also you get to see your favorite celeb flexing his or her acting chops in another role.
Baby Daddy and General Hospital have two upcoming crossover episodes (is that a double-crossover?). I spoke to Baby Daddy’s Derek Theler & General Hospital’s Kelly Monaco about the fun of visiting another show and how they become like foreign exchange students in their visits each other’s “strange lands.” The first crossover event airs Feb. 4, when Kelly Monaco (as herself) visits the set of Baby Daddy. On Feb. 13, Derek Theler and Melissa Peterman return the favor when they appear in the General Hospital Valentine’s Day episode.
In the Baby Daddy episode, “Over My Dead Bonnie,” Danny is offered a cameo role on General Hospital and he asks Riley to help him rehearse. Riley is a huge GH fan (aren’t we all) and is excited that Danny gets to work with Kelly Monaco , who plays her favorite character, Sam. Although Kelly is initially annoyed by the stunt casting, she soon finds Danny charming and wants to make him her character’s new love interest. Meanwhile, Tucker and Ben are tired of living with Bonnie and are determined to get her out of their apartment and back into hers. The boys figure out the best way to break the lease is to have Bonnie “die,” so they stage a funeral on the General Hospital set. Michael Lembeck (One Day at a Time) also guest stars.
I chatted with Monoco and Theler and found out about their experiences on each other’s set. “One of the biggest differences that people are aware of is how fast it moves on a soap opera. It’s insanely fast,” marveled Theler. “As soon as you say the lines right, it’s done. It was nerve-racking for me to be on set of GH, and not really be in my element and have to nail everything in one take.” Speed is the result of General Hospital’s incredibly packed shooting schedule. “We shoot between 170 and 200 pages of dialogue per day,” reveals Monaco.
Over at the set of Baby Daddy, the vibe is definitely more low-key. “On my set, it takes a full week before we actually perform it, says Theler.” That week is spent rehearsing, trying out new jokes, and learning blocking. “It’s like a party,” laughs Monaco. “Everybody is smiling, and happy and laughing, and joking around, and eating! [laughs] We don’t have that luxury on GH, that’s for sure.”
Kelly found it fun to play a very heightened version of herself, but that wasn’t her original plan, Monaco reveals, “At first, I thought I was going in there and I was going to play it straight. I was really, honestly, going to play it straight. But they wanted kind of a heightened, big version of what people would expect a soap star to be. So, I basically played a bad actress, and a bitchy person.”
Both actors found that they learned a lot from working on another set. “Comedy is not my element,” says Monaco, “so I was definitely stepping outside of my comfort zone, and doing something fun and interesting. I’m a dramatic actress 100%, but I learned how to let go, and not really worry about what people were thinking of.” The actress adds, “Even waiting for the laughs to stop is an art for that I’m not used to.”
Theler, who is used to the wide shots and big movements of sitcom television found the intimate setting of a soap operas was the perfect place for him to pay attention to the small stuff. “It was a great experience — to not be so big, and not use my hands, or move as much — and just be still and try to act like a normal human being. I enjoyed that”
Kelly Monaco will appear on ABC Family’s Baby Daddy on Wednesday, Feb. 4 8:30pm ET
Baby Daddy stars will appear on General Hospital on Feb. 13
Images: ABC Family/Bruce Birmelin © 2014 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.