Turn the beat around, ch-ch-chaaanges!—Oh, sorry. I didn't see you there. I was just breaking out in an afternoon mash-up to express my feelings about Season 2 of Up All Night. It's what I do. I also like to talk and gossip about TV, so let's move on to that.
For those of you unfamiliar with Up All Night's first season, I'll try to fumble through a super brief synopsis: Reagan (Christina Applegate) and Chris (Will Arnett) are a married couple who got pregnant before they were really ready to accept parenthood. Reagan works as a producer on an Oprah-esque talk show hosted by Ava (Maya Rudolph)—a longtime friend of Reagan's who was also not ready for Reagan and Chris to accept parenthood. Chris quit his job as a lawyer and took on the role of stay-at-home father because Reagan, frankly, is a workaholic. The show's main conflicts were: Ava's narcissism and fear/jealousy of babies; Reagan's relatively OCD, workaholic nature; Chris's adjustment to stay-at-home-dad duties; and Chris and Reagan's adorable—albeit entirely awkward—attempts to stay "young, hip and cool."
As we set our DVRs for Season 2, which premieres tonight, we might expect more of the same—but what we should be doing is preparing ourselves for some pretty big renovations. Last week I was invited to visit the Up All Night set, where I witnessed the filming of this year's Halloween episode and also sat down with show creator Emily Spivey as well as Rudolph, Arnett, and Applegate. Aside from getting a sneak peak at what I think may have been the most adorable Halloween costume of all time (more on that later), I was able to get some dirt on all of the upcoming Season 2 tweaks that could make or break the show's momentum.
Here are the biggest changes you
won't will now see coming:
Season 2 will kick off just after Ava's show gets canceled, leaving both Ava and Reagan out of work. So what will this mean for Ava?
"I think it's actually a very slow freakout for Ava, which is actually kind of more fun to see. I'm looking forward to less 'show hair.' And honestly? I think the idea of self-exploration is really fun and really funny. We made her such a megalomaniac, so I think she's ripe for any territory and it'll be fun to see her invest in the idea that perhaps she might have been a little full of herself."
"We're just trying something. You know, we're trying to give Ava a life outside of her set. Now she gets to venture out and do more, which has been great because now she gets to have more scenes with really great people that have nothing to do with the show. Not everyone has to have the dynamic of her being the star and them being the underling, so now she's coming in contact with people who are actually challenging her."
"It's been nice, too, because now Chris gets to have more scenes with Ava. That didn't really happen much last year because their worlds were separate, but we're kind of doing a better job of really combining those worlds."
"But isn't there always the chance her show comes back?" you ask. Unlikely:
"I think we'll see more of Chris's office as we move forward. I mean, we built it on the grave of the Ava set, uh, so.. I do think we'll get to see it more."
Which brings us to...
With Reagan out of a job, Chris will return to life as a lawyer, turning over the stay-at-home child-rearing duties to his wife. It's kind of like a role reversal re-reversal. And it will prove to be a major challenge for both Chris and Reagan.
"Chris goes through frustrations because he does feel that pull [to Amy]. He was used to being the primary caregiver, and I think that [the show] touches on that a lot. And then, you know, [it also touches on] what that does to the dynamic between Chris and Reagan as they kind of hand over the reigns to each other."
"Reagan will kind of have to, not learn how to be a mom, but learn about domestic life. She's really having to realize that the stuff Chris was doing is a lot harder and more involved than she thought. We wanted to see Reagan have to struggle a little bit, and this gave us a way to see another facet of her and give her problems she might not be able to handle well."
I was a pretty big supporter of the progressive stay-at-home dad premise, so I'm sort of sad to watch their situation turn into something more stereotypical, but my biggest fear with this change was actually that we'd just see less of Chris. If you're starting to fear that, too, don't panic:
"No, no, no. Chris is helping Reagan navigate everything on the homefront as she realizes that it's not such a piece of cake. So you won't see less of him at all."
Chris and Reagan have never been great at getting to know their neighbors, and part of their charm, I think, is their completely irrational 'holier-than-thou' exclusivity, but it sounds like that's about to change, too:
"Our second episode really feels like a neighborhood episode. Gene and Terry are seen a lot more because we're trying to establish the characters you'll see every week so it's not just like Chris and Reagan and guest characters. You'll see that it really feels like a community—[in Episode 2] they have a fundraiser for a dog who needs IBF treatments. But that community feeling, that's where I want things to head this season."
However, the cast insists that Reagan and Chris haven't lost their "we're still trying way too hard to be the cool parents" edge:
"We're still trying to keep one foot in the cool zone."
"Which just makes them so dorky because, you know, 'one foot in the cool door' is just... not cool, at all."
Thanks to the cast and crew's extensive network of hilarious TV actors, we have a lot to look forward to this season. For starters, Sean Hayes (who plays Walter, Ava's old accompanist) and Rachel Dratch!
"I would love it [if Hayes became a series regular]. His character's relationship with Ava is like a Laverne and Shirley type thing. They're both SHOW people and they just like to do things in a big way. They don't really know how to interact with mankind. They're so fun together."
"It's really fun. Heaven in a cup!"
"And Rachel Dratch plays a superfan who ends up buying a ton of Ava's stuff—part of Ava's journey into normal life-dom is to get rid of her Ava Show stuff that she was sort of hoarding, in a way. But once Rachel buys the stuff, Ava reconsiders and has to convince Rachel to sell back some of that stuff."
"Working with Rachel is the best. We haven't worked together in a long time. She has these really big blue eyes—I call them her baby blues—so when I lock eyes with her baby blues it makes us laugh. We really appreciate working together so much because we really did become a family. There really should be a support group for people who leave [SNL] because we're all dropped back into the real world and there's nothing else like it. It's like we were all abducted by aliens and there's this small group of people who know what we've been through."
You heard it here first, folks! And she's the MOST adorable meatball I have ever seen in my entire life, hands down.
"We pitched a billion costumes, but for some reason that was just the one we laughed the hardest at."
Note: We weren't allowed to snap any photos of the costume, but if you mark your calendars for Episode 6, you'll be able to check it out firsthand. Until then, just take my word for it.
So there you have it! A brand-new season with a whole new outlook.
Oh, and for those of you who are only reading this in hopes that we got some information on the progress of the Arrested Development movie out of Arnett, congratulations, we did... kind of:
"Arrested. We're currently shooting, yeah. And that's kind of the only update I can give. I mean, yeah it's going great. It's going really great."
Up All Night premieres tonight at 8:30pm on NBC. Will you be watching?