NBC's new sitcom, Perfect Couples, revolves around the lives of three couples who are each in a different stage in their relationship, but who face similar problems and situations. There is Dave and Julia, played by Kyle Bornheimer and Christine Woods, who are the so-called "normal" couple with whom anyone in a relationship can identify. Highly competitive Rex (Hayes MacArthur) and Leigh (Olivia Munn) see themselves as the perfect couple and relationship experts, while Vance (David Walton) and Amy (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) are a couple who are always fighting and making up leading to a very active sex life. The series was created by Jon Pollack and Scott Silveri. They, along with Andy Ackerman serve as Executive Producers, and Ackerman directs many of the episodes.
USTOWNHALL SPEAKS TO KYLE BORNHEIMER AND HAYES MACARTHUR:
USTH: Can each of you describe your characters in Perfect Couples, and tell us how similar or different you are to them?
KYLE BORNHEIMER: I couldn't be more similar. I don't know where my life ends and this begins. When I met with the guys about it who [created Perfect Couples], Scott Silveri and Jon Pollack, we started swapping stories about coupledom and kind of graduating from your 20s into your 30s, and then all of a sudden you're hit with kind of adulthood.
And a lot of this builds with that transition and under the brighter lights of being in a couple too, which was exasperating. There's no manual for it; although, some of the couples in Perfect Couples actually do use a manual. You know, it's constantly putting our show into our life and our life into our show.
HAYES MACARTHUR: I think speaking to that transition from the 20s to the 30s is something that all the characters go through on our show like being single and then now being in relationships and dealing with all the things that come along with it.
And, [my character] Rex is this reformed party guy and an ex-jock who now is really excited about being in a relationship. And I think normally you would see a character like that, an archetype like that, who is an ex-party guy who's in a relationship, and he feels confined and constrained by it.
But one of the things I love so much about what the writers created in Rex is that he's really being into the relationship and he's taken all this competitive energy and he's put it into his own life in making his marriage work which is great.
And I think one of the things when I look at each of the couples, I see little nuances of my relationship. You see, I love even in the pilot episode the way that Dave [played by Kyle Bornheimer] and Julia [played by Christine Woods] discover that they play games just like they think all the other couples play games.
I think it's kind of like you always think everyone else is the crazy one and then you look at yourself and you see your own stuff.
USTH: Kyle, at times you worked in single camera, and at times you've worked in three camera productions. What are the differences that you see in the way those two production models are put together, and do you have any sort of preference for one or the other?
KYLE BORNHEIMER: First of all, the schedule is much different. Amazingly, there's a stark difference in the schedule. And the multi camera, the live audience is – you feel guilty about it. It's barely working. Whereas, single camera the way the Perfect Couples is, it's not rare to have a 17-hour day.
Our show [runs] actually amazingly smoothly. So, we were out [after a] 13 or 14-hour day, but the schedule is different, but I like both. I'm a part of that generation who's embraced single camera quite a bit. And when I did a multi cam last year [on ABC's Romantically Challenged], I didn't know what to expect, actually. And I quite liked it.
I didn't feel confined by the [multi cam] format or anything. I felt I could do what I needed to do, you know. I like both formats, but if I had a preference right now, it might be single cam. I think we might head into an era where both are starting to get quite good. And we're certainly in an era of great single cam comedies, and I just wanted to be in that era. And there's a lot of good ones out there.
HAYES MACARTHUR: We're having a lot of fun with the single camera device in the show the way that we pop back in time and do flashbacks. I think even just performing that, you know, doing a scene and knowing that you're going to pop in and get a joke like they do on 30 Rock in the middle of a scene. It's something that's fun to think of. It's just – it has a clip, a different taste to it.
KYLE BORNHEIMER: And it's neat because Andy Ackerman who directed most of these comes from mainly multi cam. He directed most of the Seinfelds and then New Adventures of Old Christine, and he started out as an editor before he became a director, and so we kind of get that sensibility of both on this show. He knows the best of the sitcom world and the best of the single cam world.
Cast of NBC's Perfect Couples (l-r: Hayes MacArthur, Olivia Munn,
David Walton, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Christine Woods, Kyle Bornheimer)
[Photo Credit: NBC]
USTH: Hayes, I believe this is your first weekly series. How its been for you to acclimate yourself to a weekly schedule?
HAYES MACARTHUR: I love being on the show because of the people that are involved. So, to go in on a weekly schedule is just really a lot of fun. It's great. I mean, even getting the script and going into the table reads is fun and then all the way through the shooting where you get just a great group of people to be around.
And, as Kyle was saying earlier, all the things, the stories we tell, the bits and the jokes we do all end up finding their way into the show in one way or another. So, just to be working in that environment is great.
KYLE BORNHEIMER: I haven't even actually felt like it was work. I mean, literally, I would come to work to try to see if I could crack up Hayes or crack up Mary Elizabeth Ellis. Hayes is hard to crack up. Hayes doesn't break easily. Dave Walton is easy to make laugh. And Christine Woods I get. Olivia Munn is incredibly easy to make laugh on set.
HAYES MACARTHUR: Yeah. Being on a weekly series you see these people so much and you have these genuine interactions with them [whereas] if you're away doing a film, it's a little different because there's these definite end dates to everything. And it's like when camp is over, it's over. [Doing a weekly series is] more like being in school with people.
KYLE BORNHEIMER: You get to see them more than any job. You see them more than you see your family, really. And, [we're] quite in love with the "six people" scene. Anything that the six of us were in, we started calling them sixers. And sometimes we would drink a sixer before doing a sixer.
USTH: Kyle, a television critic said that you were the next Bob Newhart. Did you hear that compliment? What did you think of it, and are you a fan of Bob Newhart?
KYLE BORNHEIMER: I'm a huge fan of Bob Newhart. My parents were big Bob Newhart fans and that show was on – both shows – [the] first one with Suzanne Pleshette, and then the second one set in Vermont in the 80s were both played in our house quite a bit, and my dad would play Bob Newhart's old records for me and his old telephone gags.
I don't know how much consciously got into me. But, my family was good at one thing, [and that] was being entertained. So, we had a lot of movies and TV going on in the house. And Bob Newhart was certainly part of that rotation.
HAYES MACARTHUR: Did they shoot Newhart on our stages too?
KYLE BORNHEIMER: Oh yeah, we are. And Andy, I think, edited on Newhart. But yeah, Bob Newhart - that's a good point. We're shooting on where Bob Newhart shot.
HAYES MACARTHUR: On the CBS Radford stages where they shot the shows.
KYLE BORNHEIMER: It's just awesome to be on hollowed ground.
USTH: Thanks to both Kyle Bornheimer and Hayes MacArthur for taking the time to speak with us today.
Perfect Couples airs Thursday nights at 8:30pm Eastern on NBC.