So many modern romantic comedies get it wrong, trading truth for meet-cutes and cliches. The most compelling love stories are the ones where the characters don’t quite belong together and sometimes don’t even wind up together. The timing isn’t right or maybe they’re just as wrong in some aspects as they are right in others. You can’t look away from the excitement, heat, laughter, drama, awkwardness, and tears. Because a wreck is a fascinating thing to watch but also because it takes you back to the romanticized near misses that live in your own memory bank.
The relationship between Pete (Pete Holmes) and Kat (Madeline Wise) is a fine example of that kind of on-screen relationship, transforming Crashing into a sometimes frustrating (for these characters) love story that is layered on top of a lived-in comedy about a once-sheltered comedian expanding the definition of what he allows himself to believe in. Uproxx spoke with Holmes and Wise about that transformation, all the ways Pete is wrong for Kat, and whether they have a future together in this interview.
Some of the Pete character’s flaws were laid out there at the end of season two with Ali when she and Pete broke up. I’m curious if those flaws are going to be addressed in season three.
Pete Holmes: I think that certainly, yeah. I would say so. I think the third season revolves heavily around a new relationship, with someone… you know, it’s based loosely on my own life. I was married to, you know, someone who was just like me, then I dated a comedian who was just like me, and then you have your first relationship with someone who’s neither of those things. She’s not like you, she’s not a comedian, she’s very free-thinking, she’s a little bit wild. She’s sex-positive, which is something that is new for Pete, who grew up sort of puritanical. So he sort of dates, for lack of a better word, a wilder person, and it’s one of the phenomenons of when you’re dating someone, and you’re kind of pretending to be that kind of person, you know? You’re like, “Oh, I like this person, I think I could represent like I’m the sort of person she would want to date, and just see how long I could do that.” That’s sort of what’s going on in the third season. Although, Ali remains Pete’s friend, and I think there’s some interesting tension to play with there. Because even while Pete is kind of having his fun, and doing something exciting that he never thought he’d do, he’s still pulled in these directions, back towards the simpler life of being with a comedian, and the simpler life of being someone with more concrete values. Because there is a comfort in knowing what you believe, and what you don’t believe, and what you’ll do, and what you won’t do. And when you start to get away from that, it starts to get a little cold and a little bit scary sometimes.
I think Pete needs a lot of therapy. But, unfortunately, instead of therapy, he gets a moderately successful college tour. The main difference, I would say, between [season] one and two and three is that he has a little bit of success and a little bit of an ego, and from that ego, he’s going to make different mistakes, which is often what happens. Ultimately, I think it’s a little too much too fast, and he should’ve done some inner work before tackling something in the real world as exciting and dynamic as Madeline Wise. Madeline?
A very professional segue.
Madeline Wise: Incredible.
Madeline, what was your experience with the show before being cast, and what was the appeal of this new character?