JoAnna Garcia Swisher On Family, Reba and Better With You

The recently married JoAnna Garcia Swisher (hence the lengthened name) shares some similarities with her new Better With You character, as does her past part in Reba. To find out what attracts her to these roles and to discuss the new family comedy, coming to 5* from 10pm tonight, we caught up with the American actress for a quick chat... Loads of new romantic comedies have launched in America this year, with that in mind why do you think 5* chose to buy Better With You? How does it compare?
JoAnna: Better With You has the romantic comedy aspect, which shows young, fun relationships, and those relationships that have lasted a lifetime. Our show’s about a family and three very different relationships, all with different perspectives and in different phases. It’s a very relatable comedy and hopefully British viewers will like that because that’s what makes people tune in week after week--they like to see the different approaches taken by the relationships in [the Putney] family.

You play Mia, who we discover in the first episode is engaged. Was that particularly personal to shoot considering you were engaged at the time too?
It was fun! But planning my real wedding was different to planning Mia’s wedding! Plus, we’re not pregnant [like Mia]. It actually reminded me a lot of the premiere of Reba, in which my character found out that she was pregnant at the age of 17 and was getting married. It brought back a lot of memories of that and I thought “well, if that’s a good luck charm--because Reba lasted six years--I’m more than happy to put on that pregnancy suit for seven months and deal with that because it was definitely a good omen for us then”.

There are quite a few comparisons between Better With You and Reba...
There are so many comparisons, both on-screen and off-screen, that I find with Reba and this show! Obviously, it’s the same sort of format with a little bit a modern twist, and the inter-personal relationships amongst our cast are also very similar. It’s very much a family atmosphere, we all sort of settled in and kinda fell in love with each other. It’s such a beautiful blessing to go to work with people that you love and admire.

Better With You gives off a more positive, feel-good vibe...
We definitely make quite a few off-colour jokes, but I always find them very funny. It’s a lot of fun. We’re a little more light-hearted, but I think there’s still time to get there.

There are recurring jokes on-screen, are there some off-screen too?
Oh yes, and Kurt Fuller--who plays my father--is usually the butt of all of them. He’s this deliciously neurotic man who’s so immensely talented that we get to poke fun at him constantly; he’s a very good sport. That’s what families do, they bring you down lovingly! Our cast bonded pretty quickly, which is a rarity in our business so I always count my blessings for that.

You’ve also starred as Bree in Gossip Girl. Would you ever want to reprise that role?
I loved being on Gossip Girl, I loved the people. I would 150% return if they were to want me back and I had the time--I went straight on to work on Better With You after I finished Gossip Girl.

You’ve also guest-starred in How I Met Your Mother. If you could be a guest on any other show what would it be?
I’m a pretty huge fan of Modern Family, I just find it so hilarious! Hot in Cleveland is another of my favourites--any chance to work with Betty White, because she’s amazing! Plus the other women on the show are great too. Anywhere that might take me to a really fun, warm location--like Hawaii Five-0 or something like that--would be great too!

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