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THE production of baby-centric comedies has risen on the small screen, with Raising Hope and Baby Daddy scoring brownie points for being oh-so-cute.
But cuteness is no salvation for low audience ratings – and that is the fate that’s befallen Up All Night, starring Christina Applegate as Reagan, a talk show producer of The Ava Show and new mom, with Will Arnet as Chris, her stay-at-home husband who’s now returned to bringing home the bacon.
The reversal of roles has become a talking point for the show’s second season. Perhaps it’s a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”– as the creative experimentation with the original set-up seems to have boomeranged. Well, it was that, and the fact that creator Emily Spivey exited earlier this year.
On the change in the family dynamics in season two, Applegate told Huffpost TV: “It was like two different shows, and it’s not that it was bad – people loved it – I think the person who benefits most is Ava because we get to see her outside that environment. She was always stuck in those hallways of that studio and now…”
With Reagan very career-driven, being a stay-at-home mom isn’t easy.
She nods: “I think she’s going to start to itch. She’s already starting to itch in these next episodes that we’ve been shooting. She needs something more. A personality like that can’t be stuck in one place – not that she doesn’t appreciate spending time with her daughter. I mean, I can relate to that more than anything in the world. That’s my life. All I want to do is be home with (daughter Sadie) and get to spend time, but I know that after a while, you kind of go, ‘okay, I’ve got to do something else, too. In addition to, ‘wouldn’t trade it for a second’.”
As for how the character is adjusting, Applegate says: “I think what people love, and what Will and I love the most, is when Reagan and Chris are really a team. They make a good team and do love each other. I prefer it when it’s like that rather than us being at odds with one another.
“I think in a lot of shows, the married couple, the comedy, it’s always coming out of them bickering and I think what’s unique about our show is that the comedy comes out of them being a team; working together for a common goal. I think we’re going to see more of that and I’m glad that we are. I enjoy getting to do those things where he and I are partners in crime.”
Ultimately, like the NBC network, Applegate didn’t enjoy the direction the series was taking and decided to throw in the towel. And to think she was just bouncing back from Samantha Who?
Although Applegate has brilliant comic timing, the projects she has chosen to showcase it in never seem to pan out. A pity really.
• Season two of Up All Night starts on Saturday on M-Net Series (DStv Channel 114) at 5.30pm.