Topher Grace says chemistry is key to ‘home economics’ | Television


Topher Grace can see similarities between the cast of “Home Economics” and that of her first series, “That ’70s Show.”

“Everyone has so much talent individually, but there’s also this added skill of being able to share that with other people,” he explains during a Zoom conference. On other series, the actors are not as generous. “They’re being selfish with their talent and they shouldn’t be on a show like this.”

Playing the role of the older brother in a family with varying degrees of economic success, Grace says there’s a trade-off needed for the comedy to work.

“If I pass the ball to an actor, that’s great. They pass it to another actor.

This synergy is essential to the “domestic economy”. In the ABC comedy, Grace plays a writer who writes a book about her family – a wealthy younger brother and a struggling younger sister. He’s the man in the middle, just trying to get enough time to finish his job. He asks the rich brother, Connor (Jimmy Tatro), for a loan and, immediately, there are ties that bind. Younger sister, Sarah (Caitlin McGee), loses her job and struggles to get back on track.

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The conversations they have are important right now, McGee says. “Support from family members is what helps you get through job loss. It’s not comfortable to talk about it. But having it in that context – in a comedy – can make people laugh. We need distractions.

Creator Michael Colton based “home economics” on his own family situation. He and his writing partners were in the midst of a bad economic year while his twin brother enjoyed a financial boom – he sold a company for $7 million. “And then I have a sister who works in social work who has never made any money,” he says. “It was all these feelings of anxiety, mixed with pride, mixed with jealousy and insecurity (that had) the makings of a spectacle.”

Like Colton’s twin, Tatro’s Connor is invested in businesses no one really understands.

“It’s a very meta concept because Tom de Grace doesn’t tell his family that he’s writing about them,” Colton says. “With my family, I told them but I waited a bit (for them) to read the script. I wasn’t sure how they would react, but I think everyone is excited about it.

Colton’s twin isn’t estranged from his wife, but the producers felt it would be good to give the character some vulnerability. “He may have all the money and the big house, but his personal life is in trouble,” Colton says. “He needs his siblings to help him with that.”

Although Grace has never struggled in show business (he was hired for “That ’70s Show” without any acting experience), he knows how important it is to rely on others. Ashton Kutcher and Laura Prepon, for example, had only modeled before the show. Wilmer Valderrama “barely spoke English. There were other learning curves that we had to deal with.

Now an executive producer of “Home Economics,” Grace participated in casting sessions to ensure the chemistry was there between the cast.

Karla Souza, who plays Tom’s wife, says she could feel the connection in just a few weeks. “We had such a blast and it’s only been two episodes,” she says.

Because they didn’t want to copy the “Modern Family” model, “Home Economics” producers embraced the financial disparity of siblings. “When you look at the (‘modern family’) families…all of these guys are rich,” executive producer John Aboud said. “They don’t face any financial problems.”

Like “Modern Family,” “Home Economics” uses a mockumentary style of filming that allows them to show what the characters are really thinking. “With Tom’s narration, it’s very organic, compared to your typical voiceover, because he’s actually telling this story,” says Aboud. “We see Tom’s point of view and get a lot of additional information in a very easy and fun way.”

Among the gems: Connor lives in a house that once belonged to Matt Damon. This allows them to comment on past movies and celebrity benefits.

Grace says the ribs work because “Home Economics” has a “dream team” of actors. “It’s like going on a date, except it’s not just one person. Either you have that chemistry or you don’t.

“Home Economics” gets the rating because “we’re having a hard time finishing the scene because we’re all laughing so hard,” he adds. “And, then, that feeling bleeds into the show.”


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