'In the Motherhood' gets a new cast for its TV incarnation
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McClatchy Newspapers (MCT) - "In the Motherhood" was born on the Internet but gets to grow up on network television.
The Web version of "Motherhood" was a series of five-minute features that starred the likes of Chelsea Handler, Leah Remini, Eileen Galindo and Jenny McCarthy. Each webisode was based on a true-life story of motherhood.
ABC's turned that idea into a 30-minute Thursday night comedy starring Megan Mullally, Cheryl Hines and Jessica St. Clair.
So why the change in cast?
"They told me it's because they thought those people were bad. Should I have not said that?," offers a wickedly sarcastic Mullally. It is as if she's channeling her "Will & Grace" role of Karen as she talks with television critics about the new series.
St. Clair's response is equally sarcastic. She suggests the recasting has to do with the size of a certain part of a woman's anatomy. She brags the current cast's are bigger.
Series executive producer Alexandra Rushfield scolds both actresses: "Sarcasm doesn't work in print. You can't be sarcastic. They told us not to be sarcastic."
It is hard to tell if Rushfield is being sarcastic.
It is more obvious that she's serious when she explains the change was made because the online actors were not available to be on the series.
The leap from the Web to TV took other adjustments.
"A lot of the webisodes were inspired by users' experiences. And we have also used those and been inspired by those. We had to add more story arcs, emotion, things like that, because they're very short. But they were absolutely inspirational to us and, tonally, I think, have a lot in common," Rushfield says.
The end result is a half-hour comedy that looks at friends Rosemary (Mullally), Jane (Hines) and Emily (Jessica St. Clair).
The oft-married Rosemary believes in as little work as possible when it comes to raising her son. Recently divorced Jane is juggling a career and motherhood.
Emily, Jane's younger sister, sees herself as the perfect stay-at-home-supermom.
The three actresses show how well they work together when responding to a question about the best advice their mothers ever gave them.
Hines starts: "My mother always told me to wear lipstick and look pretty no matter where you go because you don't know who you're going to meet. That's right. And look where it landed me, in front of all the critics criticizing me."
"You do look really pretty," Mullally chimes in.
"Thank you, Megan," says Hines.
"You look very girlie," Mullally says. "See, I look like a man, so my mother didn't say that. My mother was very encouraging, which I thought was nice, very supportive of my chosen career."
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Hines is the only one of the three series stars who has children. Her advice to other moms is to not take themselves too seriously. This comes from an actress who has been very funny on shows such as "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
"And when you do really screw up, which we all do probably, you have to let it go and move on, because your kid's probably not sitting around, thinking about it as much as you are," Hines says.
St. Clair's has observed her friends who have kids. "I think what's great about this show is that it's showing that underbelly that nobody talks about." she says.
IN THE MOTHERHOOD
8 p.m. EDT Thursday
© 2009, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.).
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