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October 7, 2015

Alyssa Milano On Returning to TV, Loving Twitter & Being 'Romantically Challenged'

by Maggie Furlong, posted Apr 12th 2010 9:00AM
Alyssa Milano, 'Romantically Challenged'Alyssa Milano is no stranger to network television. She practically grew up before our eyes on 'Who's the Boss?,' proved how naughty she could be on 'Melrose Place,' was bewitching on 'Charmed' and played Earl's crazy third wife on 'My Name is Earl.'

Now she's trying her hand at romantic comedy ... but don't expect 'Bachelor'-style dream dates or lovey-dovey relationships on 'Romantically Challenged' (premieres Mon., April 19, 9:32PM ET on ABC). Milano plays Rebecca, a recently divorced, dating-impaired 30-something with a group of friends as tragically unlucky in love as she is.

AOL TV talked to the multifaceted Milano about returning to TV, her iconic roles, Twitter, baseball and why she says that, before marriage, she was "the worst dater on the planet."

We love having you back on TV! What's 'Romantically Challenged' all about?
The show is all about a group of friends that are really bad at dating. The essence of it, to me, is about that circle of friends that you have, that you're totally functional with, but then when you step outside of that core group and have to function outside of that group, you're totally dysfunctional.

Alyssa & her husbandAll the characters are flawed in their own ways -- is it hard for you to play someone who's so terrible at love?
No, I can totally relate, are you kidding? [Laughs] I've never been particularly great at love. I'm married now -- and I married my best friend and he's amazing and we have a beautiful relationship -- but I was the worst dater on the planet.

[Laughs] So you can pull from personal experience a bit?
Absolutely! One of the many things that I think is so special about this show is there is not a person on the planet – even those that got married at a young age – that hasn't been romantically challenged at some point in their life or their relationship.

Your character, Rebecca, married the first man she ever dated ...
Yeah, she got married right out of high school, she's only had sex with one guy, she's just recently divorced -- I guess it's been about six months when we find her -- and she's terrified and really awkward. On the flip side of that, it's kind of exciting and intriguing to her, but I don't think we'll ever see Rebecca be smooth in the relationship department.

Is that what attracted you to the character?
This show is not a high concept show -- for the show to work, it's really gotta be about the micro-situations that these people are in, their chemistry with each other and the dynamics between the characters. I think that's true with any show to be successful, but especially true with a show that isn't high concept. It's really a slice of life, about what people go through. Looking for love is a pretty broad topic, and we can go many different places with it.

For so long, networks thought viewers needed high concept shows -- like 'Charmed,' for instance -- and now ABC has proven with shows like 'Modern Family' that sometimes simple is better.
I think people are ready to laugh again. A lot of television is about escape, and it's been like that forever, but I think people are ready to laugh. There was a time when people wanted to escape into the fantasy world, and that's when 'Charmed' was on the air, but now we're getting back to comedy, and I think that's great. I love the aspect of this show that it's a traditional multi-camera format, but Ricky Blitt is such an interesting writer that it's got a different unique comedic sensibility.

Kyle BornheimerI've heard you say that Ricky was the reason you decided to do this show -- is that true?
Yeah. I'm crazy about him as a person, and I think he writes really, really well for women. He allows women to be funny, and you don't find that a lot. I had faith that he was going to put together a great writing staff; James Burrows is our director, and I've always wanted to work with him since I was a little girl. Really it was the whole package. I loved the fact that it was an ensemble show. Just little things to me ... you think, OK, for a show about people and the dating world, there's gotta be the hopeless romantic. But the fact that our hopeless romantic is actually a dude, and that it's Kyle Bornheimer, who's like the coolest, greatest, funniest guy ever ... little interesting aspects like that. It had a freshness to it that I hadn't seen in a long time.

Who does Alyssa want to play her ex-husband on the show?
Watch The Show Girl to find out:

Your Funny Or Die stuff cracks me up – how'd you get involved with that?
Well I'm a big fan of the videos they produce. When 'The Wrestler' spoof ["The Uncler"] came up, I jumped at the opportunity to work with them. And I had such a great experience -- they really are just like a well-oiled machine. Then when all the hype was going on with 'Jersey Shore,' I personally called them and was like, "What can we do?" And they pitched me the idea of doing a parody of the Dove campaign, and I was like, "Yes!" They are just awesome. I hope to continue working with them forever.

Fans keep asking if your character here will be anything like Phoebe on 'Charmed,' and I'm like, well, she's not a witch ...
[Laughs] Yeah, not a witch ... not making potions. [Laughs]

But which role of yours are you recognized for the most?
I think it depends on the age of the person approaching me. Like if it's someone my age or older, it's usually 'Who's the Boss?,' obviously. But if it's a younger generation, then it's from 'Charmed.'

And if it's a 30-something dude, then it's 'Poison Ivy 2' ...
[Laughs] Yes – if it's a 30-something dude, it's 'Who's the Boss?' and 'Poison Ivy 2.' I span generations!

Since you're a big fan, I've got a Dodger baseball softball question for you ... how do you think Manny Ramirez is gonna do this season?
I think he'll do pretty well because it'll be a contract year. He said that it was gonna be his last season with the Dodgers, which we all knew because his contract's up. You know, these ball players have a way of turning it on to get that next contract. I think if he stays healthy, he'll do well for us.

You dish about baseball, you challenge companies for charity, you talk about almost everything but acting on Twitter (@Alyssa_Milano). What's your Twitter philosophy?
Well the interesting thing about Twitter is, if your heart is in it, is it becomes a community, and I don't think there's a lot of communities any more in the world ... maybe just in religious institutions and fans of sports teams. My whole take on Twitter is to try to use it how any other responsible community member would. I don't like to do too much self-promotion on there -- when I first joined Twitter, I started following celebrities, and they self-promoted so much that I just un-followed them. So on my personal account, I really just try to share a piece of who I am with people, and be a good neighbor. I have other accounts -- I have an account for the television show (@RomChallenged) and for the clothing line (@TouchByAM) because I figure if they're interested in that aspect of my life, then they can follow those accounts. But they're not following my account to hear me talk about myself. I just try to share links that I find that are interesting, things that I think it's important to empower people about ... I love it.

Roger EbertDo you have a favorite person you follow?
I just started following Roger Ebert, and I love following him. He's pretty outstanding. But my favorite people to follow are really the social media enthusiasts.

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