Get ready for ABC’s newest family comedy, IMAGINARY MARY! With a completely relatable cast and endearing storyline, ABC once again brings a modern family to your television screens. We had a Q&A with stars Jenna Elfman (“Alice”) and Stephen Schneider (“Ben”) and Executive Producers David Guarascio and Doug Robinson to find out all the scoop for you. Here’s what you need to know about ABC’s Imaginary Mary and why Tuesday nights are getting funnier.
What is Imaginary Mary About?
Good question. Imaginary Mary follows a fiercely independent career woman named Alice who has her life turned upside-down when she meets the love of her life – a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as a child suddenly reappears to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.
Everyone copes differently with change and life. Alice happens to have an imaginary friend to help her, who is voiced by the hilarious Rachel Dratch. I enjoy this show, because it shows a different kind of family. Families come in all different shapes and sizes and these real-life situations are what show people, hey my family counts, too.
Where did the Idea for Imaginary Mary come from?
It is actually based on Executive Producer David Guarascio’s life. Executive Producer Doug Robinson said he was talking with an animator, Patrick Osborne, about ideas he wanted to do in television. He said he had always wanted to do a show about someone who has an imaginary friend. And Doug knew a guy.
Doug: “So I produced the Goldbergs with Adam Goldberg, and there’s no one in touch with his inner child more than Adam. I was like, that’s the perfect guy, but Adam is busy running a show. So he said, ‘I know the exact story that we should do.’ David was a writer on The Goldbergs, and we’ve both known him for a long time, and a lot of this mirrors David’s life, so we brought David in. That’s where it all came together.”
David: “So back then I was basically a divorced dad with kids; started dating a- (just like Alice) -a single career woman who really did not plan to have family in her life. I was just too damned charming, basically, and broke through all that.”
I mean when you’ve got it, you’ve got it! This whole exchange made me LOL, but the best stories are the real-life stories.
What Made Jenna Elfman Sign On?
You guys, Jenna Elfman did not want another network show. She told her agents, “Don’t even.” It’s funny how the right project can bring about a change of heart. I’ve been known to change my mind a time or two.
Jenna: “I had said to my agents, I’m not doing another network show. Don’t even bring it to me. Don’t bring any network shows, because I’d just become so frustrated with my experiences in the last several years with network television. But it hadn’t been on ABC. I hadn’t been on ABC since Dharma and Greg, so ABC’s, like, actually doing well with their comedies and then this came to me, a network show that actually films in Vancouver, Canada. I was like, GUYS!!”
David G: “It’s everything you don’t want.”
Jenna: “Everything I don’t want. And then I read it and went that’s just so interesting. I love that there’s the romantic part as the leading lady, and then there’s the fish out of water aspect with the kids because she just has no point of reference for dealing with children at all, and has no plan for it, and has a negative point of reference of childrearing. And then she’s super accomplished; she’s a woman on her own, which I liked…I just couldn’t find a reason not to do it.”
Jenna also spoke about the physical comedy and the challenge of acting with a character who isn’t physically there. She felt up to the task, and I must say she’s amazing and quirky! If you’re a fan of the quirky Jenna Elfman, no fear, loyal fans. The quirk is still there and every bit as lovable as it’s always been.
Why You Should Watch Imaginary Mary
Aside from the fact that Jenna Elfman and Stephen Schneider are adorable together (but they really are), you have laughs, you have real life, you have an amazing cast, and you have families who are just trying to figure it all out. Add in a cute CGI character, and frankly, what more can you ask for?
“I just want to make people have relief, you know? We’re all in this together.”
When we asked what they hope the audience gains from Imaginary Mary, Jenna Elfman said, “Laughter, joy, and entertainment…That’s why I do it because it removes you from the stresses of life for that moment. And in those moments, you rehabilitate a little more life juice to go on, and that’s all I want to do for people.”
Well that’s why I watch television. I watch to be entertained and to laugh and to feel something. Sometimes it does make me forget about the stresses of life and other times it motivates me to act. How I can use laughter to help me through something? How can I make someone else laugh who needs one? Whatever your why is, watch Imaginary Mary on ABC Tuesday nights at 9:30/8:30c to indeed bring you joy.
Thank you, Disney, for inviting me to interview and screen Imaginary Mary and providing travel and accommodations. All opinions about now wanting an imaginary CGI friend are all my own.