Lauren Graham and Ray Romano talk about working together on NBC’s “Parenthood”

Lauren Graham and Ray Romano are starring in NBC’s “Parenthood”. Lauren has been playing the role of Sarah with the show for going on its fourth season. Ray has recently joined the chat this season playing the role of Hank. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Lauren and Ray about working together on the show and their chemistry between the characters. “Parenthood” airs Tuesdays at 10:00 pm on NBC.

Mike Gencarelli: What drew you to “Parenthood” and what can we expect to see you do on the show?
Ray Romano: Well I was a fan of the show. I watched the show since the beginning and I was on my show while it was on. I just like the tone of it and there’s nothing quite being done like that on television. knew Jason Katims, he created the TV show. I knew him and we had been in touch. He was a fan of my show. I was a fan of his show. Then unfortunately my show no longer existed. And in between trying to find out what to do next I had been speaking to Jason and I believe I put it out there first. Kind of jokingly I said, “Hey, if you ever find something for me I work cheap.” And he took me up on it and cheap it is but I’m still happy to do it. And what am I going to do on it? I mean, if you’ve been watching up to now you kind of get who the guy is. We’re going to see a little more of him and I guess find out a little more about him.

MG: Is there something about him that kind of drew you to do this character and do you relate to him in some way?
RR: I like the character. I do like the character because first of all I like how he’s introduced and I like how they’re writing him. We don’t really kind of find out about this guy. As it goes along we find out a little more and more and he’s a flawed person. He’s a troubled guy and yet I guess we’re finding out the good in him. Lauren’s bringing that out – Sarah I guess is finding that out. But I like it because I also haven’t really played that much. In Men of a Certain Age, I wasn’t Ray Barone but it was kind of close to the vest I guess. And this is somebody a little different, so yes I do enjoy playing him that’s for sure.

MG: With the kiss between Hank and Sarah, how awkward was it for the two of you to play that romantic awkwardness?
RR: Take it away. Take it away Lauren.
Lauren Graham: I don’t think it wasn’t awkward. Look, that stuff can always be awkward but what I like about it is these loaded moments that are confusing I think are the most interesting of life. It’s like I think there’s all these mixed feelings and I don’t know, hopefully we capture just kind of two people trying to connect. And people more often than not kind of did sound perfect and so I don’t know. I like that.
RR: Well I like doing it because first of all, awkward I can play very – that’s in my wheelhouse. It’s very easy for me to be awkward especially around women. But with this guy that’s why I like this because it had to be awkward but filtered through Hank, which was totally different than anything I’ve done, with Ray Barone or even Men of a Certain Age or anything. It was awkward without – there was like a little bit of refusing to accept that it was awkward kind of. So I felt that that scene was really unique and felt good when we did it.

MG: Since you’ve had so much success in your career, how do you relate to Hank’s bitterness about where he’s at right now?
RR: Success is only in the eye of the beholder. First and foremost I’m a comedian so I’m never really happy with myself for what I’ve done. You’re always looking for something, for the next thing and you never think you really got it. So it’s kind of a dichotomy. You’re successful but you don’t accept and you don’t really believe it. I don’t know if I connect to the bitterness but I do connect to the feeling of wanting, you know, there’s an artistic need for something, to accomplish something more and falling short of that. Believe it or not I do kind of connect to that so, it’s easy to kind of tap into that. I mean, it’s not all about money. My wife has all the money.

MG: Lauren, since Sarah had the kiss with Hank is that going to change things with Mark?
LG: Hopefully it’s sort of neither one nor the other. I think it made her resolve a little stronger to try to keep her life on the track that she’d planned and hoped for and finally looked like, she’s about to achieve. By the way we still don’t really know what is going to happen, nor does the creator of the show if we, believe what he said. I mean, one of the funny things about this show is he kind of adjusts as things go along, and kind of picks up on the threads that are interesting to him more than maybe they do on most shows that are – which is not to say it’s not planned. So the line I’m trying to play is confusion. And I think it’s justifiably confusing what’s happening. But yes in that moment I think she was like, “This felt like a sort of step outside the lines. Let me bring myself back.” But I don’t know that it’s going to work.

MG: Ray, Hank was obviously overwhelmed when he met the Bravermans. What was it like for you jumping into this show with this enormous ensemble?
RR: Well I got to tell you, I guess I’m kind of in the business and I’ve done this and I’ve seen all the bells and whistles and I know what goes on. And yet I – like I said I was a fan of the show. And I still on the first day it was just with you Lauren but the third day was when I had a scene with the whole cast and it was a weird feeling. It was a feeling of because first of all I was just like a viewer. I was like, “Wait a minute.” You really get wrapped up in that this is the Braverman family. I’m like, “Well wait a minute. I know it’s not. I know that guy and him. I’ve worked with him and whatever.” But yes I was a little bit – I don’t know if star struck is the word but it was a little surreal that I’m in this world that I’ve just been watching and been wrapped up in. I do still get intimidated by certain things, and I was slightly intimidated on that day because also just on a regular level of this is the first time they’re seeing me I want to not screw up. I want to do well and I want to fit in. You know, they’ve been together and they’ve got their rhythms and the tone and everything, and I want to make sure my character fits into the show and the universe that they’re in. But everybody was nice except for a few. No I’m kidding. No everybody was great and it was fun.

MG: Lauren, do you have any interest in getting behind the scenes at all?
LG: I do for sure. It’s actually more helpful to have someone who is on the inside who knows the show and who knows how we rehearse and how we sort of find the scenes. So yes that would be of interest to me for sure. I think that it would be great to direct an episode.

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