ABC certainly knows how to do synergy! Tonight after a very special Dancing with the Stars comes a very special episode of their sitcom, Better With You. Derek Hough, dance instructor extraordinaire guest stars as, well, a dance instructor who Mia (JoAnna Garcia) and Casey (Jake Lacy) visit after they attend a friend’s wedding, and she fears his dance skills will ruin their own reception.
But it turns out Casey is keeping a secret from her. Continuing last week’s theme of “Better With Lying,” this episode entitled “Better With Dancing” has Casey pretending he can only do “the zombie” because he fears hurting his hormonal bride-to-be’s feelings that he is better at “girl stuff” than she is. After all, his half-sisters practically raised him for a few years, so he learned very early on how to get in touch with his feminine side. It’s really too bad they are having a boy because he knows a lot about hair, gift-wrapping, and probably the differences between Barbies and Bratz!
LA TV Insider Examiner: In this episode, “Better With Dancing,” Casey not only has to dance but he has to do so pretty well at one particular point. Is his hidden talent really Jake’s hidden talent, or did you have to do a lot of training?
Jake Lacy: Well, when I went to school for acting, we had to take a lot of movement classes over four years, so we took jazz and contemporary and ballet and all of these things, and the writers and producers came to me a couple of weeks before they gave us the script, and they were like ‘If we had you dance, could you dance?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, but you know, I can’t do a huge solo thing, so if you could bring somebody in here to work with me I can do it in, like, a day and a half.’ And they were like ‘Perfect!’ But then they didn’t say anything until they showed up and were like ‘Here’s the script.’
When you say they brought somebody in to work with you, was that Derek? Or did they get a whole separate coach so that by the time Derek came in, you were a pro?
J.L.: That was Derek. He was just wonderful. I like to think that this is basically what he does on Dancing with the Stars, where he takes somebody that has little or no dance experience and builds a routine that makes it so they appear that they are as legitimate a dancer as he is. In my case, [that’s] absolutely not true, but his patience and his vision was absolutely wonderful about figuring out moves that look great but were also in my ability range.
Did you find that while he was on set you and your co-stars got the bug to try Dancing with the Stars?
J.L.: I don’t know that they want to have me! I love moving around and dancing, but I’m not sure that it would be the right move on that one.
Dancing with the Stars is filmed live, and so is Better With You. Do you welcome that kind of live energy and immediate response to your work?
J.L.: It’s a little dangerous because there are moments that are fantastic. I was trained as a theater actor, so I love it; I enjoy being in front of the audience. But the ultimate project shows up on someone’s TV screen in their living room, and that kind of comedy is different from the kind of comedy that sells well in front of three hundred people on a Friday or Saturday night. So you kind of have to watch yourself because you want the laugh in the certain kind of forum that you’re shooting in, but ultimately the people that you need to really like it are the millions of people tuning in on Wednesday nights that are watching it in their living room.
We’ve definitely seen a great evolution to Casey, and to Casey and Mia’s relationship, as the season has gone on, so what has been one of the things that surprised you the most to learn about Casey?
J.L.: You know, when you’re, like, reading the script sometimes that you’re about to work on for the week, and you’re like ‘Oh, I have thirty half-brothers and sisters! Okay.’ Or, all this time we’ve been making jokes that I’m from Vermont, but they throw in this funny thing that I was actually born in Texas. Everything I learn is based off of what they hand me, so it’s always ‘What are they going to come up with next?’ It’s a fun game to be playing.
And since we are gearing up to the wedding and the birth of the baby, will some of what they come up with be meeting some of Casey’s family who maybe turn up for the reception?
J.L.: Well, that– that may be post-wedding. The wedding gets a little chaotic towards the end, and there’s a bit of a big bang towards the end. That’s about the best I can say without completely selling myself up the river, if that’s even the correct saying.
In the final episodes of the season, will you guys, for lack of better word, get to play with a baby?
J.L.: There was an actual baby brought in, and you know, it’s an odd experience because there’s very strict union rules about how long a baby can be on set and how long it can be on camera…You’re caught with [having] this beautiful baby and this great moment, and everybody is really excited, but we have to get this in two takes or else we have to get another baby in here…There’s a lot of time spent with a fake baby so when the real one comes in we’re all set to go, but yes, you do actually get to meet Mia and Casey’s child.
So going forward, if you guys get a season two, have you given any thought to how you want this new family to progress?
J.L.: As a character, I guess I’d hope that everything goes smoothly; there’s no chaos; it’s awesome having a baby…and as an actor, you’re sort of hoping for the exact opposite so you can really have some fun. So you’re like ‘I hope everything goes wrong! I hope the house burns down and the baby’s got three legs!’ You want everything to be a total mess so you have some drive to keep the ball in the air.
You guys have had some really great guest stars this season. Is there anybody coming up in the final few episodes that you were really excited to work with?
J.L.: I was psyched just to work with Derek, really! I had seen specifically clips of him dancing and his work on Dancing with the Stars, and throughout the season, to get to meet Reba and to get to hang out with Swisher, it was just astounding that the people we had on were not only talented and smart and funny but really, really sweet and caring and energetic. That to me means just as much…and they’ve all been really great.
Have you given any thought to what you want to do in this downtime from the show?
J.L.: I’ve just become available to work for the summer because a lot of people didn’t want to line up projects based on maybe I was available or not so I’m still kind of figuring that out, and you know, thinking ahead to season two!
Better With You will air on a special night and time at 9:30pm and then resume its Wednesday nights at 8:30 timeslot, only on ABC.
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