Though she’s best known for her work on the perpetually angsty “One Tree Hill,” Danneel Ackles has always felt more at home in the comedy world, so it’s no surprise that she fits right in to TV Land’s multi-cam “Retired at 35.” On Wednesday’s new episode, Ackles plays Jenn, a single mom who meets David (Johnathan McClain) at a grocery store — and leaves the audience guessing as to who’s fooling whom.
Zap2it visited Ackles and McClain on set in December while they filmed one of her three episodes in the second season. McClain explains that when David meets Jenn, he’s still living off his parents and showing little initiative toward a lifestyle change.
“David at the beginning of Season 2 is still in a state of perpetual retirement, floundering and trying to figure his life out,” McClain says. “In pretty short order [he] winds up meeting Jenn in a grocery store and feigns that he has a life and money and is able to help her out, because she’s in need, and so under false pretenses, manages to woo her into his life.”
Jenn is under the impression that he’s a gentleman — mostly because they didn’t meet at a seedy bar. “You’re supposed to meet the good girl in the grocery store and the good guy in the grocery store,” Ackles jokes. “Isn’t that where they tell you to meet people?” Quickly, though, it becomes apparent that not only is he not such a good guy — but she might not be such a good girl. Let’s just say that David’s parents, Alan (George Segal) and Elaine (Jessica Walter) aren’t particularly enamored of Jenn — in fact, they think she’s a full-on lying con artist!
Despite her potentially nefarious motives, Jenn does help David get some perspective on his life. “Even in the first episode where they meet, David feels compelled to take some steps towards greater responsibility,” McClain says. “There’s an interesting thing that happens when David finds out that Jenn has a kid, because he doesn’t discover that immediately — she doesn’t lead with it — he doesn’t freak out about it. We get to see a side of David where he’s like, ‘No, I like kids, I think this is nice, and gosh, I once had my life together not so very long ago and maybe I can start moving in that direction again.'”
Though Ackles has plenty of comedy and TV experience under her belt, “Retired at 35” presents an interesting challenge since it’s her first crack at a multi-cam comedy filmed in front of a live studio audience. “This is really really fast-paced whereas in a single camera comedy you do one or two scenes a day, this you do the entire script, the entire show. Jonathan has been really great about helping me with that, when I start to freak out,” she says. “It’s really difficult, and I have a lot of respect for sitcom actors because it’s tough.”
Now that she’s gotten the hang of it, don’t discount seeing Ackles return to “Retired at 35” in future seasons. “I don’t kill anyone before I leave,” she jokes. “There’s always potential.”
Catch our video interview below for more from McClain and Ackles, including singing Marissa Jaret Winokur‘s praises and a little insight into what they do in their spare time. “Retired at 35” airs Wednesday, July 18 at 11 p.m. on TV Land.