Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A New Kind of Rom-Com: An Interview with You Me Her's Melanie Papalia [Guest Contributor: Cammien Ray; Contributor: Meredith]


You Me Her is a DirecTV original series that blends the raunchy and relatable into one polyamorous romantic comedy. Starring Greg Poehler, Priscilla Faia, Rachel Blanchard, and Melanie Papalia, this series has delivered several fresh takes on what a love story can look like, glued together with enough witty banter to make even its primary subject matter seem light. Characters in this story feel engaging and real; we meet a less-than-charmed married couple (Poehler and Blanchard as Jack and Emma) willing to go to some last ditch efforts to fall in love again. And we meet a set of incredibly charming grad student roommates (Faia and Papalia as Izzy and Nina) putting themselves through school by working as escorts. The combination of these four, some nosey neighbors, a few friends with questionable advice, and a high school bully results in a series that has left many wanting season two even before the season one finale has aired.

A clear stand-out in the series so far has been Nina, played by Melanie Papalia (The Den, Suits), who began the season as the enviously confident and ridiculously funny character in charge, and has slowly become one of the most layered and empathetic characters. Nina can slay a male classmate with a well-placed quip, deliver some hard truths to the frazzled Jack and Emma, and provide supportive comfort to Izzy all in the span of one episode. Many who love the character joined for the wild outfits and the creative cursing, and stayed for the fierce protectiveness and intelligence that unfolds, particularly in Nina’s relationship with her roommate Izzy. The relationship between these two women, in a way, mirrors the marriage of Jack and Emma. But the show still manages to present this friendship in a totally unique way.

On a series that focuses a lot on the topic of sex, the relationship between Izzy and Nina is one that so far stands completely outside that realm, providing both the characters and the viewers with an entirely different perspective on relationships. Throughout the series, the unfiltered view that Nina has of Izzy’s arrangement with Jack and Emma allows for a raw but fair take on what could easily be a difficult relationship topic to handle with both comedy and emotional depth.

Cammien Ray and Just About Write contributor Meredith were so pleased to be able to talk to Melanie about this show and her fantastic character.


You Me Her holds nothing back when talking about the topic of polyamory, but through all the drama, it still manages to have fantastic comedic moments. What's been the most surprising or interesting thing to you about the direction of the story so far?

Melanie: How grounded all the performances are. When I read the script I couldn't stop laughing. John Scott Shepard is a great writer. When filming it (with our magical director Nisha Ganatra) we found so much truth. Which in turn made a lot of my scenes dramatic and funny. I mean, I would be crying during a scene on set and when I watch it back, I laugh. I guess in life, when everything goes to s--t, you just have to laugh and I'm so delighted that we all portrayed that.

It’s been a wild ride seeing Nina grow from a quirky filter-free bestie to one of the most emotionally invested (and amazing!) characters on the show. What initially drew you to this character?

Melanie: Just that. That Nina has no filter and she is a badass in her own right. I felt so much freedom as an actor playing Nina. She does and says some questionable things, but her heart is so there. I want a friend just like her — honest and always there for you.


Nina and Izzy have had some of the most intense fights — literally — and also the most heartwarming emotional scenes. Where would you like to see these two end up at the end of this season and going forward?

Melanie: Well I sort of know where they end up at the end of this season [winks], so it's hard to say where I want it to go because I just want to be open to anything happening. I will say whatever does happen, I know Izzy and Nina will always keep it real with each other. That's what makes them relatable and lovable together.

We recently got to see Nina finally meet Jack and Emma — and her reaction to them was just as intense and hilarious as we all hoped! Is there anyone you’d like to see Nina interact with going forward?

Melanie: I'd love to see more of Nina with Jack and Emma. That dynamic is hilarious to me because Nina is probably their worst nightmare as a friend. I mean, I'd love her to interact with everyone in the Jack/Emma world. Nina should just go door to door on that street and terrorize the neighborhood. [laughs]

Playing a character who is eccentric, confident, and who also happens to be an escort means that you've had some wild outfits on this show. What are some of your favorite examples of Nina's fashion so far? Have you ended up borrowing anything from her sense of style?

Melanie: She wears some wild stuff, but some of the more tame everyday things, I would totally rock myself. I'm a girly girl so I love dresses and skirts. The higher the heels, the better. I really wish I [had taken] a backpack from set because I am in need and Nina's were awesome. I always travel with a carry-on that's a shoulder bag, so let's just say I'm regretful. [laughs]

There is a LOT of relationship potential on this show, and we all love a good romance that we can root for. Are you rooting for any “ships” on the show so far, for Nina or anyone else?

Melanie: I haven't even thought about that! Recently on Twitter I saw #IzNi. And I love Izzy and Nina so I'll root for that.


We’ve also been enjoying all the fun behind-the-scenes friendships in this cast — particularly all the talented strong ladies representing (like director-extraordinaire Nisha Ginatra)! What have been some of your favorite moments working with this team so far?

Melanie: I had such a great experience working with everyone, and there is so much support behind the camera! Our creator JSS was so game for having fun and really set the tone for a good environment. This team allowed for so much freedom in the acting. Priscilla and I had great chemistry from the start, and it was so easy just to play around with her. Nisha is the type of director that you just trust. She is right there with you for every moment and her instincts are unparalleled. Every favorite moment I have involves her. She is just my favorite director. The trust she has in her actors creates the perfect environment for you to give it all you've got. That is rare. Very rare. I've created some friendships on this show that I will have forever.

Your filmography includes everything from horror to comedy to sci-fi (we loved The Den in particular!). And now with You Me Her, we see sort of a comedy-drama hybrid. Do you have a favorite genre or character type you like to play?

Melanie: Nope. Sometimes I think I'm gonna hate something and then end up loving it. I just want to be open to anything and be surprised by how much fun I have.


The finale of You Me Her airs tonight, and we are already looking forward to season two! In the meantime, do you have any other shows or projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?

Melanie: At the moment I'm working on a Netflix series playing an FBI agent. I've ever done that before, so it's keeping me on my toes!

Thanks to Melanie for talking with us and sharing her thoughts and experiences! We’re dying to see what comes next for Nina, the rest of the characters on You Me Her, and for Melanie herself. 
If you’re looking for a quirky, intelligent, outside-the-box character, and show, do yourself a favor and binge watch You Me Her. You can also catch the season finale of You Me Her tonight (May 24th) at 9 PM EST on DirecTV. 
And be sure to follow Melanie and the show on Twitter for more updates!


Post a Comment