FX's new comedy "Married" strives to be unlike any other marriage comedy that's on TV currently, but still should be recognizable to viewers. The aim, the cast says, is to make "Married" be as true to married life as possible.
"I feel like this lives in a sort of more honest place, as far as what relationships are really like," star Nat Faxon tells Zap2it and a small group of journalists on the show's set. "I don't think we strive to be funny all the time on this show, and I think that's one of its strengths in a sense. It took me a little bit to get used to that."
"Married" tells the story of a group of friends all at different places in married life. Russ (Faxon) and Lina Bowman (Judy Greer) have hit a rut in their relationship as parents of three girls, and Russ is trying to spice up their sex life. A.J. (Brett Gelman) is going through a troublesome divorce with his wife Roxanne (Regina Hall). Jess (Jenny Slate) is married to a much older man (Paul Reiser), which plays into her daddy issues. As with all FX comedies, madness ensues.
"There is a lot of humor in the dark areas of life and [showrunner] Andrew [Gurland] really knows how to zero in on that," Gelman says. "The goodness of the characters also really helps lift that comedy. But I'm not someone who shies away from darkness being funny. I think that life is very dark at times and things are very funny about that."
For Faxon and Greer, art imitates life for their on-screen relationship. In real life, Faxon is married to Meaghan Gadd and has two children, while Greer still considers herself a newlywed after marrying Dean E. Johnson in 2011.
"For me my note usually is like, 'Love [Russ] less. Touch him less. Be less sweet with him.' Because I'm kind of still a newlywed a little bit, so I'm always like "Oh, Nat!'" Greer recalls with a laugh. "When we're doing our scenes I'll like grab his hand or I'll like want to give him a kiss or whatever. So I have to dial that back. Like, 'You'd never be that in love,' and like, 'But I'm drunk!' They're like, 'Yeah, still, no. I'm like, really is that what I have to look forward to in 10 years with my husband?"
As for Faxon, Greer says he will often tell her: "Oh God! When you say it with that tone, like when you say your line with that tone, it just" reminds him of his wife.
The two actors do have great chemistry together, which is clear in the pilot of "Married." Faxon calls playing Greer's husband "frighteningly easy, which freaks me out a lot."
"It's very effortless. She's so good, she's such a very natural performer, and that makes things very easy because you just kind of slide right into it without having to have a lot of time together to create something that doesn't exist," he says. "It's been not a ton of work as far as us bickering at each other and loving each other and hanging out with each other."
Slate had a bit of a different experience getting into a husband/wife mindset with her onscreen partner, Reiser. He was cast after she was, and she geeked out about it pretty hard at first. That changed the more they worked together.
"He's a really nice man who just seems like a friend that I know. I don't really think about it at all, our age difference. Actually, I don't find myself thinking about 'Mad About You,' which is a show that I watch a lot," she admits during the set visit for the Season 1 finale. "He just seems like a normal dude that I met here just like Nat. And he's a really good actor and very quick on his feet, and I really like improvising with him. I feel like I trust him a lot and I feel like he's taken a nice amount of time to get to know me and make me a friend and is very supportive. I feel really lucky."
Gelman also was thrilled to get a chance to work with a comedy great like Reiser. "It was insane," he says. "I mean that was amazing. I've been a huge fan of his since I could be fans of people and that was incredible. To have such a legend tell you that you're doing a good job. We would get into really heated moments together, kind of having a stand off with each other. Like, this is just so crazy! I am doing this with Paul Reiser!"
"Married" premieres on July 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX.
Photo/Video credit: FX