Yes, I had the great (almost) misfortune of being on the set of 'Love Bites' back in December, the day they found out that NBC had cut their order (after rejiggering showrunners and pushing the show's launch several times and refusing to commit to a premiere date).
So what is 'Love Bites'? And if it's got all this drama before it even premieres, is it worth watching? Well, here are the facts: It's an hour-long romantic comedy premiering tonight (Thurs., June 2, 10PM ET on NBC) that tells three semi-connected stories each episode. One follows single and pregnant Annie, played by 'Ugly Betty' alum Becki Newton. The other is about fun married couple Colleen and Judd (Zimmer and Grunberg). And the third is a wildcard.
With that wildcard comes one of the show's surprise strengths: amazing guest stars, including Craig Robinson from 'The Office,' 'My Boys' star Kyle Howard, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Krysten Ritter, Lindsay Price, Charlyne Yi ... and that's only in the first episode.
Other guest stars include Ken Jeong, Cheryl Hines, Jeffrey Tambor, Isaiah Mustafa, Eddie McClintock, Michelle Trachtenberg, Adam Baldwin, Jay Harrington, Donald Faison, Frances Conroy, Kurtwood Smith, Stephen Rannazzisi, Bret Harrison and Beau Bridges, just to name a few.
Here's a little more from Grunberg and Zimmer, including dispelling vampire rumors thanks to the show's misleading title, comparisons to 'Love, American Style' and 'The Love Boat,' an explanation for terms like "sexual haunting," and a little gushing about their costar Newton, who had just given birth in real life days before this.
How do you describe the show?
Constance Zimmer: It's an anthology.
Greg Grunberg: Yeah -- without paying for the rights for 'Love, American Style,' it's an updated version of that kind of anthology romantic comedy.
CZ: It follows three different storylines, one being ours, which is kind of the best.
GG: Kind of the best? [Laughs]
CZ: We're a married couple, living in Venice, kind of cool, married five years.
GG: Trying to keep it spiced up.
CZ: Yeah -- ups and downs, hates and likes, but we love each other.
And then there's Annie.
GG: Yeah, Annie's is a single woman, played by Becki Newton who's a genius.
CZ: And pretty!
GG: She's very pretty. And they've incorporated her pregnancy into the storyline, which has made her character so much more endearing and sweet. She is just so funny. She's a single woman who wants to find love, and is desperate to do that. And then there's a middle story.
CZ: Which can be anything -- a couple, a mom and a dad, a brother and a sister. It's open to any viable relationship.
GG: So every week there are gonna be three completely independent stories that have a very loose thread that ties them together ... but you'll see your favorite actors from other shows that pop on and guest star, like 'The Love Boat' was years ago. That's what's so cool about this. We worked with Beau Bridges and ...
CZ: And Cheryl Hines is here this week playing Greg's sister. Jay Harrington, Adam Baldwin ...
GG: There's amazing people popping in all the time.
CZ: Because apparently we're not enough reason to come watch the show ... [Laughs]
Did you two know each other before this?
GG: I have loved her forever, but had never met her. We basically have the same career -- well, I don't know about you, but with me, it's like, 'Aren't you that guy?'
CZ: Yep! Never worked together, and then our first day of work we had to have sex. Fake sex! It was fake.
GG: Well ...
CZ: It was fake.
GG: [Laughs] But they show a lot on NBC -- it's really edgy.
I've heard people say this sounds like a vampire romantic comedy because of the title ...
GG: Love BITES! [Laughs]
CZ: It's like love bites -- like love sucks.
GG: And little bites! Little love bites. A little nugget of love.
CZ: It's just an updated modern version of relationships in today's times.
GG: You're gonna relate to one of the people in every episode for sure. I think I lot of people will relate to our characters, but there will be a lot of stories you'll feel like you're watching, voyeuristically.
CZ: Yeah, like, I know those people! That's my cousin Susie!
GG: Yeah, what a slut! [Laughs]
Several people today have also referenced the term "sexual haunting." What the ... ?
GG: Ooh, yeah, that was good.
CZ: That was an episode we did where we were looking for a house, and it turned out the guy who was selling the house was a guy I'd had a crazy sex weekend with after going to a Third Eye Blind concert.
GG: Yeah, way back. But he doesn't remember her. So this house is kind of haunted -- we love the house, but if you're gonna buy that house you have to "sexorcise" the house. So we had to put our own stamp on every room in the house. Put yourself in that position ... it's like ewwww. That's not what they have to disclose when you're selling a house. [Laughs]
CZ: It was fun. We had to bang the demons out. [Laughs]
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