Elisha Cuthbert gives the old-fashioned sitcom a try with 'One Big Happy' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Elisha Cuthbert gives the old-fashioned sitcom a try with 'One Big Happy'

Elisha Cuthbert, a cast member in the television series "One Big Happy," poses at the NBCUniversal 2015 Winter TCA Press Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. Cuthbert is giving the old-fashioned sitcom a try with the show "One Big Happy." THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
March 12, 2015 - 2:15 PM

Elisha Cuthbert's search for happiness continues.

Her first sitcom was called "Happy Endings." Her new one, which begins Tuesday on NBC, is called "One Big Happy."

"I didn't have to change my handle so that was really exciting," jokes Cuthbert, who goes by the Twitter name @HappyElishas.

The Calgary-born actress, who began her career in Montreal as a young teen co-hosting "Popular Mechanics for Kids," rocketed to fame back in 2001 as the daughter of action star Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) on "24."

Maxim Hot 100 lists, a Gemini award and magazine covers followed. Her professional life has been all comedy the past five years, with "One Big Happy" her first traditional four-camera, studio audience sitcom.

At first, Cuthbert told the producers — who include Ellen DeGeneres — there was a problem with her joining the show.

It had nothing to do with the fact that the part being offered was a lesbian.

"Is it challenging? No. It's like playing a human being," she told reporters in Pasadena, Calif., in January.

Cuthbert plays Lizzy, who wants to start a non-traditional family and raise a child with Luke, who she grew up next door to (played by Nick Zano from "2 Broke Girls"). Lizzy is inseminated but then Luke falls for a free-spirited British woman named Prudence (newcomer Kelly Brook). Before you can say "Three's Company," they're all living under one roof and hilarity ensues.

It's pretty much lifted from the life of showrunner Liz Feldman, formerly a writer/producer on "2 Broke Girls."

Zano was cast first as Luke and when the producers were searching for Lizzy he raved about Cuthbert; the two had worked together on "Happy Endings."

Cuthbert wasn't scared of the character — it was the process.

"I can't do a multi-camera show," she told the producers.

"I knew I could do the part, but could I do it in front of 200 people? That's a different ball game."

Zano urged her to try and she's grateful that he did.

"I've been just having such a good time," she says. "It's bringing out more comedy in me that I didn't realize I had."

The 32-year-old loves the format, too, saying "The Golden Girls" is her favourite sitcom ever.

"To have a cast of all women is amazing and Bea Arthur is my girl."

Arthur's "Golden Girls" co-star Betty White is another inspiration ("she plays ditzy so endearingly") and Cuthbert also praises "I Love Lucy" star Lucille Ball "for even coming up with the process of a sitcom. This woman was a genius."

While there's comedy in her professional life, there's been some drama on the home front. Cuthbert married Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf in 2013 and a recent tweet from a fan slandering the couple wound up on screen during a TSN broadcast (the network issued an apology soon thereafter and again after legal action was threatened).

The couple was married in Phaneuf's home province of P.E.I. and Cuthbert often flies home from L.A. to Toronto on weekends to cheer him on at Leafs games.

She was asked if the jock talk in dressing rooms might eventually include Phaneuf being teased because his wife is playing a lesbian on TV. Cuthbert gets defensive but keeps her head up and deftly stick-handles around the question.

"I don't know what they talk about in the locker room. All I know is that my husband is extremely supportive. He is one of my biggest champions. We always chat about our work together and we enjoy talking about what one another does for a living. Without his support it would be nothing."

— Bill Brioux is a freelance TV columnist based in Brampton, Ont.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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