I had an amazing opportunity to meet and chat with one of my childhood idols Melissa Joan Hart who stars in the hit ABC Family show Melissa & Joey! I grew up watching Melissa on Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina The Teenage Witch! It was such a dream come true to finally meet her. I was tempted to bring my Sabrina The Teenage Witch Magic Psychic Phone toy with me, but I chose to keep it professional even though I was totally geeking out over meeting her.
I of course had to tell her they did an amazing job with the Halloween Episode this year.
Are they going to do more episodes like that?
Well our Christmas episode was probably my favorite episode I’ve ever done. The Period piece was hilarious but of course the hook starts in the Comedy, being able to use that old fashioned language with current sort of more racy humor was really fun and exciting and we just had a blast doing that. We have one other special episode coming up this year although I heard our budget was just cut so I’m not exactly sure how special that will be. We’re calling it Melissa and Joey’s Prison but it’s a flash forward thing so that’ll be a special episode. Luckily Joey and I don’t have to age so we don’t need Prosthetics but everyone else will. But we have been able to keep the show really tight, you know, keep it really just about, smaller stories with just more room for dialogue and character growth and that kind of thing to really focus on the humor and the real life. What really happens when people get married, when you change the dynamics of a relationship or when you have a relationship like we do. It’s like my husband and I actually, our relationship thrives on sort of bickering and you know, it’s like a flirting. It’s like a little bit of a I don’t know, off kilter flirting. I have so many people in my life that look at me and my husband and go, I don’t get your marriage.
She’s been doing this for a long time. Anything she’s still like to do in her career?
Did you see the Peter Pan Commercials? My family did 5 Walmart Peter Pan Commercials. And it was such a special opportunity, we couldn’t say No. The script was written so beautifully I thought I really wanted my family to have this footage forever for our family. But some Casting Directors did notice and some crew members here got called and were asked to be put in touch with me and my kids and so my son is just his first audition a Showtime show. So it makes me nervous but they were at the audition and it’s weird. It’s like you’re competing with these other kids and you know. As a Mom sitting there and you want the best for your child but that means that these other children don’t get the part. I really don’t want them in this business but I also don’t want to turn away great opportunities, like this show sounds like a really amazing opportunity. He’s young and I don’t know that I’m ready for all that for them. I think Ron Howard’s kids did it right. I think Goldie Hawn’s kids did it right. You know, when they’re older and they’re out of High School and they can make a decision that this is what they truly want to do, then I’m not gonna stop them. I grew up in New York shooting my first Show in Orlando. I was nowhere near any kind of big Red Carpet Events or Hollywood stuff going on or you know. I don’t feel like I was treated special. I was just, you know, working, I was a working girl. And I loved that.
We of course wanted to know what it’s like working in front of a live studio audience?
I’ve never done a live show. My other two shows were just on Film. Clarissa was four Camera, Ped Cameras like this but we didn’t have the audience when we shot. They were hybrids basically. Those were hybrid Shows before the hybrid really existed and Sabrina was really a Single Camera Sit-Com before Single Camera Sit-Com existed. We did Sabrina or Clarissa like this but we shot it over in 3 days, we rehearsed for 2. So it’s similar to our schedule here. We shoot live one night. Yesterday, we pre-shot some stuff. Fridays, we pretty much take off so it’s so lovely. I mean with a family, this is the best job there is in Show Biz, like a Sit-Com is it. You work fast and furious for a few hours a day, and you’re done. On Episodics and that kind of thing, it’s all day, all night. And that’s how, what we did on Sabrina. Sabrina we rehearsed really hard Mondays and Tuesdays. And the scripts were broken down in smaller scenes so we had a lot more work to do. Here’s it like 10, 15 scenes at the most usually. On Sabrina, we were doing 30 scenes a week so it was just a lot of time. All the little bits which just took a lot of time and there was a lot of rehearsal, a lot of technical stuff. And so on Sabrina, we did two days rehearsal and then we did 3 days of filming, But those 3 days of filming were 12 to 16 hour days. And we were there all night. And Fridays, we’d just be there until we got done so we’re fighting the sun going home. We were younger then and we had fun, and we were a really, really tight crew. We all did everything together. It was fun. We spent our weekends together, we went on vacations together. We took the whole crew to Florida. We took the whole crew to Vegas. I took a lot of them with me to Australia and Rome when we shot our TV Movies and stuff. So we were super tight for those years. We were all pretty much Single. Everyone was like just starting to get in relationships. Some were just getting married at the end. There were some people who were having babies but like we were all kind of growing up together. That was a really hard schedule but it was really fun. Here we can kind of go through it. We do each scene two times and we’re done, you know, so this is just such a lovely schedule being a Mom. The only problem is my family is on the East Coast so this makes it, this is a whole other obstacle for me now with my home life and my work life. We live in Connecticut so…
What experience from being a Mom has she brought to her role on this Show?
The exact opposite. Everything that I know about being a Mom, I try to do the exact opposite of my instincts for Mel cause she doesn’t know. You know, she didn’t have a baby. It’s so different I think when you have a baby and you raise a baby, and they become these little people, and you know their personalities all throughout. It’s different when all of a sudden, you’re just given Teenagers. You’ve known them and you’ve spoiled and they’ve been your Niece and Nephews and you spoiled them your whole life like. I have some examples in my life of people that have come into Step Children that know how to spoil but do not know how to raise. I try to bring that to Mel, you know, just inappropriate things. Like telling too many stories about Sex and Alcohol and then realizing Oh, I’m not supposed to be saying that to you.
At the end of the interview she was kind enough to take a group shot with us on the set of Melissa & Joey!
We also snapped a one on one shot together as there is no way I was not going to get a picture with one of my all time favorite childhood idols. It was such an amazing experience to meet her. I’ve always wanted to meet her and I’m so thankful to ABC Family and Disney for allowing me the opportunity to cross off one thing off my bucket list.
The new season of Melissa & Joey begins Wednesday January 14th at 8:00pm EST. We were lucky to get an advanced viewing of the season premier and we can’t wait to see the whole season!
For more info on this amazing show visit the Official ABC Family “Melissa & Joey” website.
All photos unless otherwise noted were taken by thequeenofswag. Please only use with permission.