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November 1, 2014

Shaun Sipos Talks 'Life Unexpected,' Honorary Canadians and Crushing on a Teacher

by Jean Bentley, posted Oct 19th 2010 3:00PM
Shaun SiposEric Daniels, the clean-cut English teacher Shaun Sipos plays on The CW's feel-good family drama 'Life Unexpected,' is very different from David Breck, the bad boy master thief he played on last season's short-lived 'Melrose Place' reboot. But that's okay with Sipos.

"I'm glad," he told TV Squad. "Part of what drew me to doing this role is because it's completely opposite of David. There's no malice, there's no lies, there's no trickery, no deceit. He's not running around and hooking up with girls all over the place."

In fact, Eric is a polite high school teacher with an "unorthodox," hands-on teaching style. "I think he's very passionate about helping people," Sipos said. But Eric does have one skeleton in his closet -- a romantic spark with Lux, one of his students.

Read on for Sipos's own experience crushing on a teacher in high school, whether or not he would've hooked up with her and how long he thinks Eric will stick around 'Life Unexpected' (it's longer than you think).

What can you tell me about Eric?
I think Eric's the type of guy who would stray from the book. I think he teaches from personal experience. He really genuinely cares, which his his 'Catch 22' -- it's what makes him great, but it's also his Achilles heel. He cares, but because he cares he gets himself into situations like with Lux. There's an acknowledgment between the two of them that when they first met, there was a connection there. They genuinely got along. He doesn't have any guards, he doesn't have any walls up, so that connection hits him very deeply.

Can you relate to him at all?
Yeah. I'm Canadian -- I came from a small island off Vancouver, I moved to Vancouver and a couple months later moved to Los Angeles for work. It was very adventurous. It was kind of scary -- I didn't know anybody. I also think I was a sweet kid and I think that Eric is similar in that sense. He's from Minnesota, and Minnesotans are kind of like honorary Canadians. [Laughs] They are! He's very sweet and he's moving from Minesota to Portland. He doesn't know anybody. It's a bit of an adventure.

'Life Unexpected'Are we going to see Lux and Eric's spark explored more?
Yes, I would say. I mean It depends on your definition of explored. As you saw in the first episode, that connection has been established. They have that spark. Realizing that he's a teacher and she's a student and it shouldn't be happening on so many levels -- I mean the law says no, teacher's code says no, morality says no, but the human experience of it says yes. I think what you'll see is how those shackles weigh on the two of them. It's explored, yes, whether not out of that digging comes flowers is yet to come.


Were you inspired by any teachers when you were younger?
Are you trying to ask me in a roundabout way if I had a crush on a teacher?

A little bit, yes. You caught me. [Laughs]

You can just say it, come on.

I've had teachers that inspired me, yes. I think teachers play a really important role in people's lives. I had one teacher in particular who helped me through high school, and really instilled a confidence in me by just holding me up to a standard I wasn't holding myself up to. I believe people fulfill their expectations.

Now, in terms of your second, roundabout question [Laughs], did I have a crush on a teacher? Yeah. I had a crush on a math teacher. I was 17 and she was 23, and she was this really pretty blonde girl. What was her name?! Mrs. -- no, not Mrs., Miss -- ah, I can't remember. But her sister was my age. I didn't hook up with my teacher. I would've. Definitely. Of course! I was a 17-year-old guy!

I think that's how it is. I think it's normal for a student to have a crush on a teacher. I don't think it's abnormal for a teacher to possibly have a crush on a student. I think it can be very strange to do something about it, but if they're very close in age -- there are young teachers out there. I think it happens, and I I think it happens more than people know. At least from girls that I've spoken to. They've been like "Oh yeah, my friend hooked up with her teacher in high school," I'm like "Holy s---, are you serious?"

'Life Unexpected'In high school it's weird. It's a little less weird in college.
Have you hooked up with a teacher?

I have not.
Come on, come on.

No! I have a friend who did though. In college.

Oh my God! It happens everywhere!

Well, back to 'Life Unexpected,' how long is Eric going to stick around?
43 episodes.

Oh yeah, that's how long the episode order's for, right?
Eric's in there for the season -- until the back nine, I should say. That remains to be seen.

How is it coming from one show that got canceled to one on the brink?
They're two completely different experiences. It's nice to be working for the same network, and it shoots in Vancouver so I get to see my folks, my family and friends out there. In terms of the whole ratings thing, I don't really pay attention that much. I never paid attention on 'Melrose' and I don't really pay attention on this show. I just don't think that it's something that's in my control. I think that all I can do is try and keep myself stress-free and away from any type of result-orientated thinking, and go and do my work and tell a story. That's what people want to watch -- somebody telling a story. So if you go in and tell a story that makes sense to them, that touches them, then they're going to watch, then they'll tell a friend, and that type of thing. In terms of how many people are watching in a given week, it's more the advertiser's job, not mine.

That's a good philosophy to have.
All I can do is prep my field, I can't worry if it's going to rain or not.

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