Lotsa Love for 'Hate' Star Katie Finneran
Admission: After a charming a role in Wonderfalls and a Tony-winning performance in Promises Promises, Katie Finneran cemented her place on my list of actors I adore unconditionally. Which is good news because I had reservations (lots, actually) about her new Fox series, I Hate My Teenage Daughter.
And while I'm still not 100 percent on board with the stylish-satanic-spawn series, it gives Katie an excellent vehicle to display her brilliant knack for physical comedy.
I caught up with Katie to talk about her role, her feelings on the sitcom world today and why fans are still approaching her about 2004's Wonderfalls.
TheInsider.com: What appealed to you about I Hate My Teenage Daughter?
Katie Finneran: It's the greatest job ever. It really is. I just had a baby and it's the greatest hours ever. Sitcom schedules are so structured and so simple -- it's just a lot of pressure when you're in it. Learning the lines, performing in front of an audience ... but it's the greatest job. Banker's hours, which is fantastic.
Insider: What excites you about this character?
Katie: Nikki was over three hundred pounds in high school -- a social pariah with bad skin, bad hair, and, as a grown up, she's sort of reinvented herself. She gives her daughter every single thing she didn’t have in high school, so she's completely overindulged, which created this tiny monster. And then Jaime Pressly's character was raised in a sort of military lockdown, by religious parents. She has absolutely no pop culture references at all, so when we’re together it makes me the cool one.
Insider: Looking ahead, what are you looking forward for fans to see now that we've passed the pilot?
Katie: It gets richer, it gets funnier. I think the show just takes a little bit of time to establish the characters. And so, as much as I love the pilot, the shows afterwards are so much fun. My baby was six weeks old when we shot the pilot. I didn't know what end was up.
Insider: As a new mother, tell me, how realistic is the fear of raising a child that hates you?
Katie: Even now, my son is like, "Well I know you love me but ... what else is going on?" [laughs] It truly is the over-eagerness that makes the parents repulsive to the kids. It's like, "Please let me go with you! Please let me wear what you're wearing! Let me be with you!" It's so unattractive.
Insider: One of the most talked about moments from the pilot involved you power-eating an entire pie with your hands ... will we see more of that former fat girl come out in Nikki?
Katie: Yes, they have all sorts of eating jokes for me. There's always a friend that you have, especially for women, who's always sneaking a brownie or sneaking food. She has a lot of food issues. I have a girlfriend who was like, "You're not overweight, why does it have to be that way?" And I said, "If the check clears, make me eat pies, brownies, cookies!" I don't care, as long as its funny.
Insider: Speaking of, your show is part of a resurgence in the laugh track. What's your take on that canned laughter?
Katie: The laugh track can be annoying, let's just say it out loud. The laugh track can be annoying. I will say, however, the laugh track happens when you might laugh, then it's okay. Like, Frasier had a laugh track and all I could hear was myself laughing. So, you hope that the laugh track is enhancing the world of the sitcom, but yeah, I think they're annoying too. But hopefully they coincide with you actually laughing yourself.
Insider: Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to gush about Wonderfalls. It's one of my favorite shows of all time. Do you still get people, like me, approaching you about that show?
Katie: All the time. It feels really good to have that show as beloved as it is, because I loved that character so much. I loved that character because on TV at the time, if there were gay characters, it was "I'm gayer than gay." Which is fine, but as anyone with lots of gay friends knows, there's a lot of ambiguity. It's difficult to be gay in a community that might not be welcoming like New York City or Los Angeles, and the thing I loved about the character was that there was so much shame and ambiguity, and yet she wanted to be strong. She wanted to come out and be gay and have an open relationship, so she's embarrassed one moment and proud the next. It was so real and I loved playing those opposing energies.
I Hate My Teenage Daughter airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.