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Interview: Bianca Kajlich

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Today’s technology has definitely changed the way people are dating and it has become a bit more complicated than it used to be. Based on the book Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won't Be Dating or Having Sex, the NBC hit series Undateable enters its second season on Tuesday, March 17th at 9/8c. One of the reasons the series is back for its second season is the work of actress Bianca Kajlich.

Recently Bianca starred for several seasons on the hit CBS series Rules of Engagement. She’s also made appearances on shows such as Vanished, Dawson’s Creek and the cult Fox series Boston Public. On the big screen, she’s appeared in the films Halloween: Resurrection, Bring It On and 10 Things I Have About You.

Bianca sits down with us to talk about the upcoming second season of Undateable, why working on Rules of Engagement will always be special to her and what it was like to work with David E. Kelley.

Pop Culture Principle – Can you tell us the basic premise of Undateable?

Bianca Kajlich – Undateable is unlike what the name applies. It’s people that are having a little dating difficulty, but it’s more about a group of friends and celebrating their flaws, oddities and coming together as a gang. We watch them navigate the waters of friendship and dating.

Pop Culture Principle – Can you tell us about your character Leslie?

Bianca Kajlich – My character Leslie is a recently divorced, single woman and she’s Danny’s older sister. Last season she was allowed into the boy’s club and this season we are joined by the new waitress at the bar Candace. Leslie is a little desperate and probably drinks a little too much wine. Leslie is kind of the den mother to the group, but the den mother that has no business helping anyone else because she’s such a mess herself.

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Pop Culture Principle – Any similarities between you and your character Leslie?

Bianca Kajlich - I have to say that I find a lot of common threads with Leslie because I too was divorced in my early 30s. You find yourself back out in the dating pool and realize you don’t know how it works anymore. I remember for me the big thing was that people were texting all of a sudden. I was off the market for about 8 years and when I came back, texting was big. The guys didn’t call anymore and they just texted you and I felt like men got away with a lot more because of that.

Pop Culture Principle – Will we see Leslie continue to be the den mother in Season 2?

Bianca Kajlich – Definitely and especially to Candace because I think that she feels protective of Candace. She is so sweet and innocent and very naïve. I think the Leslie\Candace relationship echoes the Danny\Justin relationship. They both think they know more than the other, but really Candace could help Leslie a lot more than Leslie could ever help Candace.

Pop Culture Principle – Will we learn anything about Danny and Leslie’s childhood or meet their parents this season?

Bianca Kajlich – We haven’t yet in this season, but I am interested to learn as well. I think there have been little snippets of things about the parents who sound like real hot messes themselves. I am really curious to meet these people and finally get to the root causes of Danny and Leslie’s issues. It seems like they’ve always had each other to lean on and I think the parents were probably off gallivanting doing God knows what.

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Pop Culture Principle – There have been hints of a thing between Leslie and Burski. Will that be explored this season?

Bianca Kajlich – I wouldn’t say it’s a move in the Leslie and Burski direction, but maybe a little bit of a toping into the Leslie\Burski thing. I think she is so adamantly in denial that Burski could ever be good for her, but I do think that maybe there is a little more of an opening of the possibility of this guy being good for her. It’s nice to be adored and there’s a sweetness that escapes and she kind of sees through the cracks that there is a good guy here; albeit an extremely perverse and misdirected one. I will say that this season there is another love interest that pops in for a little bit for Leslie and the actor might be someone that I happen to know very well.

Pop Culture Principle – Most of the main cast are stand-up comedians. What is it like working with them on set?

Bianca Kajlich – It’s so fun to work on that set, but it is also so exhausting. At the beginning, when I first came in, I was trying to keep up with them and you just can’t; it’s an unstoppable runaway train. They are so on 100 percent of the time and I feel like they try out new material on me all the time because they know how gullible I am. I will read into and buy into everything they tell me. They are all fantastic and all so talented and it actually makes me feel real bad about myself sometimes.  It’s really cool to be in scenes with them and just watch the magic happen because it’s pretty incredible what they are able to do in the moment.

Pop Culture Principle – With four stand-up comedians on the shows, is there a lot of room for improvisation?

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Bianca Kajlich – There’s not room, it’s the whole house. Bill and Adam are always laughing that they write the scripts and just essentially put their name on everything the boys come up with. We usually do one take that is by the script and then after that, it’s kind of a free for all. Usually, it’s a major feat if I can get through a scene of their improv without all of my mascara running down my cheek because I lose it. They are so funny and they are so quick and I just lose it and I can’t keep a straight face anymore. We do a live show and I just don’t know what is going to happen. I am so terrified that I’m going to have to duck behind the bar or something because there is no way I can keep a straight face.

Pop Culture Principle – Although each character is damaged in their own way, the bottom line is that they have each other’s back at the end of the day. Would you agree?

Bianca Kajlich – Totally! I think that they are all bonded by the fact that they are all one major flaw away from actually being accepted human beings. The biggest strength of all of them is how loyal they are to each other. I feel like every episode starts out with someone doing something that is messed up and the rest of the group spending the rest of the episode telling them why it was messed up and then at the end of the episode, the person realizes why it was messed up. I think that’s why people gravitate towards the show so much because we can all relate to having that group of people who accept us no matter what. You can do something pretty heinous and you know they will still see you through the haze.

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I know that this group of people genuinely love each other and I think it works because we all genuinely love each other in real life. Many of us have known each other for a long time and I think that is strength of the show. It’s funny, I’ve known Chris for over ten years and I didn’t even remember that we worked together before. He had to remind me and I found a bunch of photographs which was hilarious. He reminded me that we had hung out before through a group of mutual friends. It’s great, because it gave a little weight to the relationship in real life and on camera.

The boys have all been doing stand-up with each other and Rick and Brent live in the same building. Plus, it’s really hard for a new person to come in after a group of people had a season to gel, but Bridget fit right in with us. One of Bill Lawrence’s many talents is having the ability to see chemistry between cast. I remember just from the pilot that we all got along really well and I’ve worked long enough to know that doesn’t always really happen. When it does, it’s that lightning in the bottle and from that moment on, I knew this was going to be something special and people would want to see that.

Pop Culture Principle – During the first season, you live tweeted with the fans during several of the episodes. Did you enjoy that and will you be doing it again this season?

Bianca Kajlich – Definitely will be doing more of it. It’s a lot of fun, but also so exhausting! I don’t know how people manage to watch a show and tweet at the same time. It’s really cool because you have such immediate gratification of people enjoying what you’ve created. I know every week we were trending and that was awesome because it felt like what we were doing was relevant enough that people wanted to get online and talk about it. Also, it gives people a chance to connect with us and it’s always fun to get feedback from your fans and I love it.

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Pop Culture Principle – What can fans look forward to with the upcoming new season?

Bianca Kajlich – We get a bar dog, so that is pretty funny. His name is Mo for Motor City. I get a fun new love interest and it’s someone that I actually live with who plays my love interest. We always have fun guest stars and there will be several familiar faces popping up. In the Bill Lawrence world, there is always some fun six degrees of separation cool people that like to come and pay it back. Bill is an awesome man and stays well connected to everyone he’s ever worked with. You get to learn a lot more about the group and what they have been up to.

Pop Culture Principle – Can you tell us about your experience working on Rules of Engagement for seven seasons?

Bianca Kajlich – I feel like that show is my family. It is definitely weird to move on from that show and I feel so fortunate to have found another group of kindred spirits with Undateable. I worked on that show for seven years and not only was it an amazing job, but I went through such an insane up and down in my personal life while I was on that show, so I feel like those people really supported me and had my back through a lot of tumultuous stuff in my own life. It was such a loved show and I still wake up to a handful of tweets everyday of people asking about it and still watching it. It’s just so nice to know how much people loved it and continue to love it. It was such a group of pros and I’ve been so fortunate to work with some wonderful people. I still keep in contact with all of them and they will always be my family.

Pop Culture Principle – For you as a cast, what did it feel like knowing you were constantly being moved on the schedule and always on the bubble for renewal each season?

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Bianca Kajlich – I don’t know what happened, but something got lost in the translation. I don’t know if somebody at CBS didn’t like the show or what the deal was. If you look at numbers now, Rule Of Engagement was undeniably a hit show. It was treated like a bubble show and I think they knew they could depend on us to always be there. We were like the back home friend you know you could always go home to and spill your secrets, but when you hang out with your cool friends, you don’t mention that friend. We were always there for them and they weren’t there for us. Maybe someday there will be something where we can come back and do some sort of reunion in some capacity because I feel like the fans deserve that. People were heartbroken as we were when the show was finally cancelled and we loved our run. It’s crazy, we were on seven years, but only had 100 episodes.

It’s hard sometimes to understand this business. I think people are so fearful of making a mistake that it seems like we’ve gotten fewer and fewer opportunities to believe in things and take chances. I think that is a big mistake on a lot of people’s part.

Pop Culture Principle – You were part of the short lived David Kelley series Boston Public. What was it like working on that show?

Bianca Kajlich – That show was fantastic! First of all, to do anything that was written by David E. Kelley was such a treat. The writing was so excellent and one of the coolest things as an actor, especially working for David E. Kelley, when you go and do your first and second episode, after that you realize he is writing based on what he sees you doing and he gets you. There were characteristics and things that he picked up and wrote in to the show that I did. You think about how busy that man is and he writes his episodes long hand, it was just nuts. I always felt so supported and cared for there. That was my first legitimate gig in television and I would really love to get back to drama at some point because I really enjoyed doing that!

We would like to thank Bianca for sitting down and talking with us. You can catch the season two premiere of Undateable on Tuesday, March 17th at 9/8c. You can keep up with all of Bianca's latest news and projects by liking her official Facebook page here or follow her via her official Twitter account here.

**Undateable photos courtesy of NBCUniversal Media, LLC 2015**

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