It’s no secret that Domestical economy is loosely inspired by co-creator Michael Colton’s family, but the Oct. 27 episode of the ABC comedy hits closer to home than ever when Colton’s mother, Ellen, makes an appearance on Halloween. “As soon as the show was lit, she started asking me when she would be on it,” he admits with a laugh.
“I should go back and tell you that my mom is a professional actress in the Boston area,” he clarifies. “She does mostly theater and commercials and, you know, an occasional movie part that shoots in New England.” This isn’t even the first time the Coltons have worked together. “When I was doing VH1 Best week everI brought her a little we did together then on a Netflix movie [Home Ec co-creator John Aboud and I] do, A futile and stupid gesture, I cast her in a small role. So yeah, when the show aired, it immediately harassed me.
Due to COVID protocols that made guest roles tricky in her first season, it took a while to find “the right time” to put her mother to work, says Colton. “We had this running joke in several episodes that Nora Dunn’s character [based on Ellen] has a rivalry with her friend, Brenda. And my mom was like, ‘I can play Brenda!’ But we didn’t get a chance to use Brenda on screen, so when that Halloween thing came up, I said, “Let’s bring her in now.”
Now in its second season, the razor-sharp comedy celebrates the spooky season like only the Hayworth clan can: disagree. Not about a group costume—surprisingly, siblings and spouses agree to dress up as Marvel superheroes—but where to take the kids to trick or treat. Wealthy Connor (Jimmy Tatro) wants to canvass his upscale neighborhood where they hand out king-sized treats, while budget-conscious Sarah (Caitlin McGee) and wife Denise (Sasheer Zamata) push for their building because it allows for a higher amount to quality…as well as an encounter with an unfortunate Halloween girl confused by a suffragette and the best of Wakanda on her doorstep. This is where Mama Colton comes in.
“When we wrote this little bit for Sarah and Denise’s grumpy neighbor, it seemed perfect for her,” jokes Colton, who clearly likes the idea of his own mother poking fun at chronically awake Sarah’s costume choice in his first performance. So should we expect to see Ellen cause trouble for the ladies again? Maybe on a recurring basis?
“I mean, why stop with a recurring character? Why don’t you think about the fallout? teases Colton, adding that he’s happy to find something to do on his mother’s screen – “if there’s another storyline involving Sarah and Denise’s apartment building” – or off. “She lives in Boston, but I still want to bring her back…to help me watch my kids.”
Domestical economyWednesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., ABC