As you might expect, having Rebel Wilson and Conan O’Brien (the executive producer of her new ABC series “Super Fun Night”) on the same panel meant that many, many wisecracks were traded. After O’Brien gushed about meeting Wilson when she was a guest on his show, calling her a “revelation” and “vulnerable, fearless and one of the most likable performers” he has ever met, he explained that he was then eager to work with the “Bridesmaids” star.
“And you offered to put out,” Wilson said to O’Brien. “No other people said that to me.”
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t [perform],” O’Brien said.
“And then I said I wasn’t into gingers anyway,” she parried.
“Then I realized she hates me as much as every other woman in my life,” O’Brien said.
Once the panel got back to the business of promoting the show, Wilson explained how the show grew out of her real life experience. Her sister worked in a candy factory, so Friday nights were spent “eating and watching DVDs… I started to think maybe there is more fun than this. I tried to go out into the world and force myself into these social situations.”
The result was not always happy, it seems, as Wilson’s Kimmie as well as Marika (Lauren Ash) and Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira) face insults and snobbery such as being called “eye broccoli.” “I asked, what is the opposite of eye candy?” Wilson explained.
“Rebel writes these lines that people fire at her, and I’m stunned by that,” O’Brien said, turning to Wilson. “I want to defend you, and you’re the person who wrote it.”
Australian Wilson also talked about her American accent on the show. “I started out in the theater as an actress doing all sorts of characters. I thought I would be playing American all the time [when I came here]. When I had the opportunity to do this, the concept was three girls who lived in Manhattan who knew each other since 13, 14 years old, so I felt I needed to be [American].”
Wilson also mentioned that the three girls at the center are drawn to pop culture, explaining that a “fake show within the show, ‘Mirna Princess Warrior'” will be a recurring element. “There is a bit of geekdom, but Kevin [Bishop, who plays Richard] does have that little geeky side, which is why I have a chance.” She also asked Bishop to “do his tractor beam” noise, which was admittedly impressive.
The recasting of Kelen Coleman was also discussed. “We loved Kelen, but we had a lot of discussions about where we wanted the character to go,” explained executive producer John Riggi. “We wanted to build a triangle between Richard and Kimmie. We were looking for someone who could be more of a frenemie… Kellan was great, but I think the new character is really going to take the show and that relationship in a different direction.” Wilson revealed that Aussie Kate Jenkinson would be taking the role.
The question of whether or not Marika is a lesbian was asked, and Ash said, “Does that love [for her friends] cross a line or a boundary? Maybe. Sometimes when you’re on set, things happen. I think she’s kind of an innocent character who hasn’t explored who she is… [she’s] more equal opportunity about crushes.”
Riggi pointed out there are several gay people on staff, and that, “if we do that, we want to make sure it’s a realistic thing. We think.. you can be in your mid 20s and be unsure. We like the idea of the confusion. It fits in with the stories w’re trying to tell about them. If Marika ends up being a lesbian, it will be handled respectful,” he said, then joked, “There will be complete touching of all parts.”
As to future story lines, Wilson said, “I’m always pitching the saddest story lines, where I get punched in the face. I won’t say that. The purpose of the show is to really inspire girls who don’t think they’re cool and popular and pretty; who think they can’t get out there and have exciting lives, too. Kimmie gets broken up with by one dude who says you’re too fat. There are some sad story lines coming down the pike. But the wins are far more gratifying.”
Riggi added, “Kimmie is saying, I get to have my shot. We get to take a swing like everybody else does. The story we’re trying to tell is three young women get their chance.”
Will you be watching “Super Fun Night”?