This week, we’re counting down to the premiere of Prime Video original, With Love, a romantic comedy series written and created by Gloria Calderón Kellett. Over five episodes, we follow the Diaz family across different holidays, beginning with Christmas Eve/Nochebuena. The perfect holiday series binge, it’s a multi-generational story that gets representation right in so many respects, centered around characters and storylines that you’ll connect with instantly.
I was so fortunate to take part in the With Love press day last month and will be sharing a different interview every day until the premiere on Friday, December 17. Kicking things off is series creator/executive producer Gloria Calderón Kellett, who also plays Gladys, one of my favorite characters in the series. We talked about Gladys, a single 40-something woman who lives her life fully and unapologetically, and the nuanced, complicated portrayal of the relationship between the Diaz parents, Beatriz (Constance Marie) and Jorge Sr (Benito Martinez).
Why was it important for you to explore Beatriz and Jorge Sr’s relationship as much as their kids’ relationships in this series?
50-year-olds’ love stories are very underserved. I took so much of my own feelings about relationships and love from the seemingly perfect relationship between my parents, who never fought in front of us. When I was younger, I thought when I fought with a boyfriend, that was it. But no. People fight. My parents did, but I never saw it.
I’ve never really seen [a relationship like Beatriz and Jorge Sr’s] explored in this way. With Love started with an exploration of a brother and sister, Jorge Jr (Mark Indelicato) and Lily (Emeraude Toubia). They adore each other. They’re ride or die for each other. These parents wanted to give [their kids] a perfect perception [of love] so the kids would feel safe, not realizing that that would also damage them in [their love lives]. It felt real and honest and raw. I wanted to explore not only falling in love but staying in love. What does love look like after 20, 30, 40 years?
I have these veteran actors in Benito and Constance, and it’s an acting lesson watching those scenes. They are so good and raw and real and grounded. I was so enamored with the level of talent that I had the pleasure of writing for. Their whole storyline is one of my favorites.
I appreciated seeing someone like Gladys on screen as well, the character that you play in With Love. What inspired you to write someone like her?
She’s such a blast. On a personal note, I gained 20 pounds during COVID, and I felt the least sexy I’ve ever felt in my life. I didn’t intend to be in the show. When I was on One Day at a Time, I was in good shape and felt really good about how I looked. When we were writing Gladys, I kept pitching jokes for her, and co-EP Andy [Roth] said, “You should play Gladys.” I replied, “I don’t feel great right now,” and he said, “You are a beautiful woman. Even if you’re a size 12, who gives a shit?” He was right, so I really wanted to embody that.
Gladys isn’t on a diet. She loves her body, and in a way it allowed me to love where I was. She gave me permission to say, “This body has been through a lot in 46 years. It got me through a pandemic. I love this body.” And playing Gladys healed me in a way. I felt so [comfortable] in my skin. I loved what I was wearing, getting dressed up, and feeling good at these holidays. And I loved that she’s not a stick figure. She’s somebody who eats and drinks. She’s living big and is unapologetic. We need to see more characters like Gladys on TV.
All five episodes of With Love are available Friday, December 17th, on Prime Video in Canada and the US. Here’s a preview: