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Mike Dow Mike Dow
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edge staff writer


Ed Begley, Jr. on his new show Your Family or Mine'

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Photo by Erica Parise, courtesy of Turner Broadcasting Photo by Erica Parise, courtesy of Turner Broadcasting

With literally hundreds of appearances in television and film dating back to the 1960s, you might think that Ed Begley, Jr. ('St. Elsewhere,' 'Arrested Development,' 'Best in Show') could be a little jaded about the idea of returning to series television.

But as Begley reveals in the following interview, after reading the script and seeing the pilot for a new one-hour domestic comedy called 'Your Family or Mine' (Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on TBS), he couldn't say 'yes' fast enough.

On the show, Begley plays Gil, husband to Jan (Cynthia Stevenson) and father to Kelli (Kat Foster). Gil and Jan may not have a lot of money in the bank, but they've learned what's important.

Kelli's husband, Oliver (Kyle Howard), has affluent and eccentric parents played by Richard Dreyfuss ('Jaws,' 'Mr. Holland's Opus') and JoBeth Williams ('Poltergeist,' 'The Big Chill').

The show follows Kelli and Oliver as they alternate visits between their two very different sets of parents and in-laws.

TBS gave 'Your Family or Mine' a 10-episode first season commitment.

Begley: First, let me say how lucky I think you are that you live in Maine. It's such a gorgeous state. You're very smart to live there.

Dow: I'm happy to hear you say that. We love it here.

Begley: My dear friend Don McLean has lived there for years [in Camden] and I remember some very nice skiing trips to Sugarloaf back in the '80s.

Dow: You've known many people in the cast of 'Your Family or Mine' for years. Does that make it easier when you come into a new show?

Begley: It helps a lot. Richard [Dreyfuss] and I worked together on the show 'Room 222' back in 1970. JoBeth and I have known each other since the early '80s. Greg Malins is terrific. He's the creator of the show and is also the show-runner and executive producer. Everybody in the cast is so good, and the scripts are good. It's a funny show.

Dow: How important is a good script in terms of convincing you to sign on?

Begley: If it's not on the page, it's not on the stage. If you want to be in this business for the long run, you have to be careful not to take stuff that isn't up to a certain level. This was a very funny script. I'm grateful every day that we did the show, and I just hope that people watch.

Dow: Would you say that the quality of television writing, in general, has gotten better or worse over the years?

Begley: I think it's gotten better and better. The writing on St. Elsewhere back in the '80s was very good, but I think that shows like 'Breaking Bad' and 'Mad Men' tell you that television overall is just getting better. I'm blown away by the quality of television and movies today.

Dow: Do you and your family sometimes find a favorite show and 'binge-watch' multiple episodes?

Begley: I got Netflix just to watch 'House of Cards.' I'm a friend of Kevin Spacey's and thought, 'I should watch this.' I was blown away by it. The same with 'Mad Men.'

Bryan Cranston is a dear friend, but I didn't start watching 'Breaking Bad' until the third season. People kept saying, 'Bryan's got a really good show you should watch it,' so I did. A really good show? Are you kidding? It's the best show in the history of television, in my opinion.

There used to be a line drawn between TV and movies. Big movie stars wouldn't do TV. Now they're all clamoring to do TV because you get to do the arc of a character. It's like doing five or six movies in a row.

Dow: You've made me laugh so many times as Stan Sitwell on 'Arrested Development.' In my opinion, it's the fastest and funniest TV show ever. I read that there might be a fifth season. Have you heard any rumblings about that?

Begley: I hope so. It's the best comedy I've seen in years. Mitch Hurwitz (creator) is just brilliant. The entire cast is amazing. It's an extraordinary show, and I sure hope they do more episodes. I need Stan Sitwell to come back so I can wear that wig again.

'The Big Morning Show with Mike Dow' can be heard on Big 104 FM The Biggest Hits of the '60s, '70s & '80s - airing on 104.7 (Bangor/Belfast), 104.3 (Augusta/Waterville) and 107.7 (Bar Harbor/Ellsworth)

Last modified on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 22:43


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