Leighton Meester on Her Hilarious and Heartfelt Comedy, Single Parents

During a recent visit to Toronto, Leighton Meester chatted with us about the second season of her comedy series, Single Parents. Here’s what she shared with us about parenting, dealing with an ex (played by her real-life husband, Adam Brody), karaoke, and learning lessons from kids. Oh, and possums!

One of the things that your show does well is portraying how friends come together and help co-parent each other’s kids, something that’s becoming increasingly more prevalent. Was that aspect of Single Parents part of what drew you to it?

Yes, and the positive element [of it]. Not necessarily a lesson, but in the end, there’s a resolution. We touch on things in a realistic, grounded, heartfelt way, as well as being absurd and silly, funny and out of control. There’s a real-life element to it that is very appealing and really fun to sit down to once a week. You’ll have a good laugh, but also see families working even though they’re not the traditional family.

Single Parents Angie Will Leighton Meester Taran Killam

In the season premiere, there’s an awesome karaoke scene with you and Taran Killam. As someone who is a talented singer, is it challenging to do bad karaoke?

It is not hard to be a bad karaoke singer. It’s not an easy thing to sing good karaoke. Taran is very good at karaoke, it’s very annoying because he sings very well. It’s not easy for me to sing karaoke, especially that kind of music.

Were there any takes where you just nailed it?

No, I really brought what I wanted to do. We pre-recorded it but we also sang it live. I wanted Angie’s love of metal music to come out, so I started grunting and screaming “Cruel, cruel summer,” and that made the cut.

Single Parents Poppy Angie

Although this is an ensemble, the show does a great job of balancing the character interactions. Is there a character you’d like Angie to interact with more that she hasn’t been able to spend as much time with up until now?

The dynamics of the relationships are changing [this season]. I get very excited when Angie spends time with Poppy (Kimrie Lewis) because they go on adventures. It’s not always centered around kids or husbands or boyfriends, which I really appreciate. Angie is going to be spending a lot of time with Douglas (Brad Garrett) because she lives with him for a little while. Taran is probably my favorite because I have so much fun with him, and also because that dynamic is changing. It’s a friendship [that turns] into best friendship and then who knows what else. There could be more. Angie’s ex also comes back into the picture.

Single Parents Derek Angie Adam Brody Leighton Meester

Speaking of Angie’s ex, in the premiere, Angie is caught up in trying to write the perfect email to Derek (Adam Brody). Is she seeking closure from that relationship so that she can move on with her life, or is there more to be explored in her relationship with him?

It’s tough to say because it’s so complicated. For her son’s entire life she’s been the mother and father. She’s a working mom, and moms — whether they’re single, working, or not working — they don’t get thanked enough. They don’t get thanked at all. So she’s been very much on her own and now suddenly, she sees [Derek] and has all these feelings, whether it be hate, rage or maybe a little bit of sadness. She’s built him up as this person that he may not be and blames him for a lot that maybe he’s not responsible for. On top of that, she’s wildly attracted to him, and that comes into play. I don’t know if it’s for closure. Angie would like to think it’s for closure, but it does the opposite and opens up a whole can of worms.

How does Graham (Tyler Wladis) deal with all of this?

He does not know yet, but he may learn that his dad is around and could possibly come back into the picture. Basically, I hope that Adam [Brody] comes to set a lot and whatever that will turn into. Angie is also struggling with the fact that her son wants to know who his dad is. Even if he doesn’t have him in his life, he wants to know about him, and the feeling is mutual.

Single Parents Angie Graham

When the series began, Graham was very dependent on his mom, but his relationships with the other kids and parents have helped him to grow. Will we continue to see this growth from him? And will Angie also learn from her son’s growth?

Absolutely. Angie has learned the hard way that she needs to let him grow and learn. Everything that she thinks she needs to intervene on, she doesn’t. She knows the awful truth that we learn as adults: that kids are actually smarter than us. They go on instinct. We become messed up over time and start to second guess ourselves. Kids are so much more emotionally intelligent than we are. And having a child be as dependent as Graham can be, in many ways, is very challenging. However, she feels needed and that’s something that she wants. Learning to let go on her end is actually really good as well.

Working with kids is one thing, but this season, you also shared some scenes with an animal. Can you talk a bit about that experience?

I had very close interaction with a possum at one point. They scared Angie, but they didn’t scare me. They actually had a couple of possums on set, and apparently, they’re not very trainable. The people who are wrangling them said, “There’s one nice one, and there’s one mean one,” and I never knew what I was getting.

At first, I thought one was the nice one, and the wrangler said, “Yeah, it’s just really sleepy.” I happened to have a lightsaber in my hand, and they told me to tap it on the head to make it look up. I started touching the possum with the lightsaber, and it thought it was being petted so it would relax into it. Then the mean one would come on and it would be hissing. I thought the hiss would sound like a cat, but it sounds more like it’s clearing its throat. So I had some very close encounters with actor possums.

Watch Leighton Meester in Single Parents, Wednesdays at 9:30pm ET/PT on Global TV in Canada, and at 9:30/8:30c on ABC in the US.

Photos Courtesy of ABC

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