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Jordana Spiro Talks 'My Boys,' Conan on TBS and Finding Her Competitive Side

by Kelly Woo, posted Jul 25th 2010 12:00AM
Jordana SpiroBeing "one of the guys" can be hard work -- all that ping-pong playing, beer drinking, ESPN watching ... it's tiring even just typing that.

But Jordana Spiro easily traverses Guy Land in her fourth season as the star of TBS' comedy, 'My Boys.' Her character, sportswriter PJ, goes toe to toe (and beer for beer) with boyfriend Bobby (Kyle Howard) and a cadre of male friends (Michael Bunin, Jamie Kaler, Reid Scott). For some female companionship, she's got BFF Stephanie -- who recently started dating one of those guys, Kenny (Bunin).

Spiro talked to TV Squad recently about the changes to the group in season 4 (premieres Sun., July 25 at 10PM ET), getting her ping-pong on, the sport she obsessed over this year and Conan O'Brien's move to TBS.

So I've watched the first two episodes of the season and it was interesting to see that the group dynamic is changing. It seems like everyone is growing up a little.

Right, let's hope not too fast. [There are] some big changes this season: Andy, my brother, played by Jim Gaffigan, gets a job promotion and goes off to China, so we have an empty seat at the poker table which gets filled with Kellee Stewart, who plays Stephanie. And we also have a new edition to the cast in Rachel Harris, who a lot of people know, who is amazing.

Love Rachel Harris. Who does she play?

Jamie [Kaler's] character [Mike] is house-sitting Andy's fantastic, suburban house and she is the next-door neighbor and she kind of starts flirting with him so he has to pretend that he lives there. So they start going out under that understanding and then comedy ensues.

Were you surprised by the development of the Stephanie/Kenny relationship?

Well it's funny, that's something that actually was a seed that was planted from the very first table read of the pilot. The creators of 'My Boys' hadn't yet cast Stephanie and we were about two hours away from our very first table read and our final audition was with Kellee who just came in and sort of stole the show, she just nailed it and everyone was cracking up and they loved her and loved everything she did in her audition. And they basically said "Can you stay? We want you to be part of the show, we want you to do the table read for the pilot kind of like, like now." And in the middle of the reading of that, she said Kenny's name in such a way that sort of suggested so much sexual tension and she just decided to do it on the spot even though it wasn't in the script and everybody just loved it, so I know the writers were toying with "how do we get these two together?" because of this choice she made at the beginning at the pilot.

Yeah, when they first started getting together, I wondered how it would affect the group and whether they would work but it seems like they actually might .

Yeah, they work together by being very mean to each other.

P.J. and Bobby have been together for awhile now and there's always that trap in a show where characters finally get together and then it fizzles out. Were you worried about the next step for them?

No, because for me there's so much comedy and there's so much fun to get out of what happens once a relationship starts to get a little too comfortable. So I wasn't really concerned and I knew the writers would have a lot of fun with that. This season P.J. and Bobby start living together, P.J. starts making more money than Bobby and Bobby is considering a career change and going back to school -- so we have all these things that cause tension in a relationship. And also we have to deal with the problem of when the new video game becomes more exciting than the lingerie, for example. [Laughs]

Everyone on the show has such great chemistry. Do you guys all hang out? Is it very friendly on set?

It is a very relaxed environment, however we did get a ping pong table on set this year and things got real, real fast, I gotta say. And that's when I also sort of realized that I'm truly not one of the boys. I can play ping pong for a couple of hours and I'm cool and I'm down with that, but then I'm done and I need to go find Kellee and talk about my feelings while they are kind of just getting warmed up.

Are you competitive? In first episode, there was that scene about how the characters settled on poker and everybody was so competitive about different games. Are you competitive?

It's funny actually, I never thought I was, but I'm starting to recognize that I actually am.

Anything in particular?

Here's an example: I got really obsessed with the World Cup. That's how I am one of the guys -- I can objectify the opposite sex very well.

Are you into baseball at all? Do you play fantasy baseball?

No, I don't. I never fully got into baseball. Before the show, I was kind of as dumb as a rock when it came to baseball -- like really bad. I went to my first baseball game and asked what time the show starts, just shameful. And then, because of the show, I obviously started going to games and had the opportunity to sit in at the press boxes and even go to the locker rooms, which is hard work. So, of course I've gotten more involved. But no, I haven't organically taken to it like a crazy fan.

Well, you might want to hold out because apparently once you fall into the fantasy baseball black hole, you can never return.

I think that's what I like about the World Cup. It's every four years, and you kind of have to focus for one month and you get the whole sort of picture. I don't know if I can give that time year round.

So there's been big news for TBS this year, with Conan O'Brien coming to the show. Do you think he'll bring more attention to 'My Boys'?

I definitely hope so. I'm really excited for Conan to come to TBS. I've done his show a couple times and I had the most incredible experience. He's, I think, not only one of the funniest talk show hosts, but he's also a really nice guy and very welcoming, so I'm so excited just having gotten the chance to know him in the capacity a guest gets to know the talk show host. I'm really happy he gets to be on TBS. And I hope that turns millions more viewers over to TBS

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Spiro's already been cast in a show with Becki Newton (from Ugly Betty), and Kyle Howard's already cast in a show for NBC. Even Michael Bunin is doing GPS commercials. With the cast abandoning ship like this, I hope this season doesn't feel like it was phoned in.

July 26 2010 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i really like "My Boys" but unfortunately without Jim Gafigan the show is doomed. why do tv exec's think they can replace a key member of an ensemble cast? it never works. R.I.P My Boys....

July 25 2010 at 7:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i LOVE My Boys, but i will miss Andy, he was one of the best parts of the show, i had NO idea it was even still on the air, i think they did something like 5 shows a year and a half ago. Thanx for bringing it back TBS, but yu really need some help in your promotions dept.

July 25 2010 at 7:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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