ATX Files: A Preview of Grandfathered

John Stamos returns to weekly TV in big way this year with the reboot of Full House in Fuller House on Netflix, and tonight on Grandfathered, as Jimmy, a freewheeling L.A. restaurateur who is surprised to find he’s both a dad and a grandfather.  We had the chance to chat with Grandfathered creator Daniel Chun and stars Paget Brewster and Josh Peck at the ATX Television Festival about the show.

Chun says the show originated from a meeting with John Stamos a year ago in July. He explains that the character was written as a restaurateur because it gives Jimmy a platform in which to perform and command a stage every night vs. going too meta by having Jimmy be an actor. “[The idea] came from John and I wanting to create something for John. He’s such a TV star, and we wanted to do something right in his wheelhouse, so it seemed like the perfect time for him to do a part like this. The character was inspired by him,” he says. “I think he does an amazing job … because it was a role that was built for him.”

“The day I met him, he’d had a conversation where someone told him to do what he does best. Be a complex, but good guy who’s trying hard. He was ready for a show like this. [Co-producer] Dan Fogelman said it’s the most sitcomy concept in the world but were going to do the most sophisticated version of it that we can.”

“What I’m going for with this show is comedy that’s really based in character and grounded in reality in some way. We want it to be comedy that people really get invested [in] and care about. There are so many options. [to watch TV]. For myself, the things I want to watch [are] where I care about the story and I want to see the next episode and see what happens. That’s the kind of show I want to do.”

Peck, who plays Stamos’s son, was chuffed to be cast, and have Christina Milian play his baby mama. “[When I got the part], I wanted to call my 13-year-old chubby Josh and be like, ‘everything’s going to work out fine.’  I would have had a lot less worries growing up even knowing that I’d be semi-passable as John Stamos’s son,” he says. “[Knowing of him] and being around him, you realize what a household name he is, and how beloved he is. My friends’ moms wanted me to hook them up to come by set.”

“When I had the audition scene, it was written in this nerdy way. I brought it to my friend, and he said ‘hey dummy, this is slightly like your real life [with you and your mom.]’ [Gerald] is sort of a savant in many ways, and really smart and great in technical things. He lacks the joie de vivre that’s so inherent in John Stamos [who is] a Lothario/ladies man, which I’m so not. [He’s] a super charming schmoozer guy, so that’s what attracts [Gerald] to him.”

“[Milian] was inspired casting. I sit back in awe of her, and her natural dopeness, and I can allow that to translate to my character, who had one night with her and all of a sudden they had this great baby as a result. He’s very much in love with her and she’s sort of oblivious of him. It will be an interesting journey to see him going after her and then inevitably there will come a point where he will have to accept he will never have her, and he will have to date other women. He’s going to have to acquire some skills, and Jimmy will help with that. It will be a fun thing to play. It’s true to life. ”

Brewster plays Sarah, Gerald’s mom. “[She] is the ex of Jimmy from long ago when they went to the Whiskey a Go Go and had a lot of unprotected sex. She used to work with Jimmy in a kitchen and she was a cook and now she is a therapist and he questions that,” she explains. “Now she has to have a relationship with the guy, and has always loved a part of him.”

“A lot of her role is, ‘shut up, and you make the worst choice, and don’t hurt my kid and my grandkid.’ That’s her role. She has to begrudgingly accept this Stamos character. This is the woman who gets to talk to men like Jimmy that they get older [and] still think they can date whoever they want and have it all.”

Chun says of her character, “We wanted to write a voice for all the people who think that’s stupid and annoying and want to call them on their crap. She’s very strong and smart and independent and she sees through all his tricks.”

Grandfathered airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on FOX in the US and City TV at 8pm ET/PT in Canada.

Photo Courtesy of FOX.

Editorial support courtesy of Heather M.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *