A chat with Sarah Chalke

(ABC/BOB D'AMICO)

(ABC/BOB D’AMICO)

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal ®

We will be seeing quite a bit of the always delightful Sarah Chalke in the next few days. She’ll guest star on Grey’s Anatomy tonight (read TV Line’s story about her appearance) and her new series How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) premieres next Wednesday, April 3. In the ABC comedy, she plays a single mom whose finances force her to move back home.

From playing the second Becky on Roseanne to Eliot on Scrubs, I’ve always been a fan of Chalke’s work. When I was in LA, I had the chance to talk to her about her new series.

TV Gal: Why did you want to play Polly in How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)?

Sarah Chalke: One of the reasons I loved the part and wanted to do it because I could relate to it more than any other part I’ve played. [Chalke is the mom to Charlie, age three.] I feel like Polly at the bottom of it she just wants to be a great mom. She’s trying to balance her work and living with her parents and trying to date again and do all this but she just wants to be the best mom possible and I feel like every working mom can relate to that. You’re trying to balance it all and find a way to somehow enjoy it and you just want the best for your kid.

TV Gal: Does it feel different launching this show than it did when you launched Scrubs?

Chalke: As an actor you always feel like getting a pilot, the pilot getting picked up and getting on the air and making it, it’s lightning in a bottle. I feel so lucky to have been a part of it. On Scrubs I got to stay with the same people for eight and a half years. When you do something like this and you have the same kind of chemistry and connection and just the enjoyment of the job at the end of the day that’s what matters to me. As soon as you become a mom, you realize what do I want for my kid? I want him to have a happy life. I don’t care what he wants to do. Just be happy. And you kind of realize, ‘Oh that’s all that actually matters in life. Just be happy.’ When you come across a thing like this where you have that rare situation, it just makes me that much more hopeful that it will go and that it will work. We had such a good time.

TV Gal: You are known for having finger toes. Will we see your toe dexterity on the show?

Chalke: We do an episode about my finger toes! I also date this one guy played by Reid Scott. His name is Hot Scott on the show. He ends up breaking up with me because of my obnoxious laugh so there were things about myself that definitely made it into the show.

TV Gal: You’ve been acting since you were a teenager. What keeps you in the business?

Chalke: I love that every day is different. I love working in comedy. I love working in dramatic stuff for shorter periods of time but as a job that could potentially go on for a long time I really just wanted to look at comedies because that’s for me the funnest way to go to work every day. I love getting to know different groups of people but more than that I love it when it continues and you actually get to really know them and stay with them for a while.

TV Gal: And you never thought about leaving the business and doing something else?

Chalke: I was 16 when I started working on the Roseanne show. It was the number one show at the time. I hadn’t really worked that much and I saw how private everyone’s lives had to be and how scrutinized they were and the paparazzi. It was this whole sort of world that I just didn’t know about and I thought, ‘Well if that’s the end goal if everyone just has to be driven in dark cars,’ it just seemed to me pretty terrifying as a 16 year old. That, of course, was balanced by it being the most amazing learning curve for comedy and the most incredibly experience to watch Laurie Metcalf and John Goodman and Roseanne and Sara Gilbert and Johnny Galecki that was an incredible gift to have that. The flip side of it was to see this other side of it and that was scary. I moved back to Canada after that experience. I thought, ‘I’m out. I’m going back to school. This is maybe not the direction I’ll go.’ But at the end of the day I just missed it.

TV Gal: How do you think J.D. and Eliot are doing?

Chalke: I hope they have a lot of babies. I hope they’re really happy. I think they are. Turk has probably moved in with them.

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