There’s a lot of elements that go into making a sitcom, so it’s a wonder why every single thing has come together perfectly for TV Land’s breakout smash series that gives three divorced men an apartment and a sexy divorce attorney right across the hall. The most successful of them all, Stuart Gardner, is also secretly the craziest character on the show, and Christopher Exantus makes David Alan Basche explain all the strange charms ofThe Exes.
OLOGY: One of the best things about The Exes is that you guys have a cast dynamic that just absolutely works, and that’s not true for every show.
DAVID ALAN BASCHE: Yeah, we’re really lucky. Obviously the writing has to be there and it has to be funny, but the other half of it is the chemistry and that’s what makes it completely fun—if it looks like it’s fun, that’s because it is!
So for the second season, how did it feel coming back to the show?
I’ve done a lot of TV pilots that go nowhere and they’re sitting on the shelf somewhere; so many shows don’t make it to the second season. And we’re so grateful to the fans because they’re really happy and they’re tweeting every day how much they love the show, and every week they want to ask questions about it and tell us their favorite parts. So to have that kind response for the show is pretty great.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m really stingy when it comes to television—especially sitcoms. So any show that has me laughing out loud at the office is a guaranteed plus for me.
Well, that’s great. As an actor, when you read the script late at night after the writers have finally finished working, I’m lying in bed next to my wife reading my script and I’m laughing out loud, and she’s kicking me to be quiet. That’s pretty much the only time you want to be laughing out loud.
I actually just watched the episode “Cool Hand Lutz” where your character Stuart tries to hang out with Phil [Donald Faison] and his friends. I was laughing so hard, but it was so cringeworthy—that was incredible.
My part in that episode was totally making fun of myself- they’re really putting [Stuart] in funny situations and I really couldn’t be happier. Actors like Wayne Knight and Donald Faison, these guys have done a lot of TV, they know exactly what they’re doing and they’re a joy to work with. It’s a lot of fun, and fun things are happening.
One of the things about Stuart that’s shocking is that he seems like the typical straight-man of any TV-sitcom, and yet he might be the weirdest character on the show.
When people ask me what the show is like or what is it about, I say it’s like The Odd Couple. Its three guys: you had Felix and Oscar, and Oscar was the messy one. But I get to be Felix, the neat one who’s a little neurotic. And you’re right, at first glance Stuart seems perfectly straight-laced, but then you start to learn these things about him every episode that make him pretty weird and wacky, and I hope entertaining to watch. But then the really fun part is when something unexpected happens that you never ever expect from that character. So it’s been a delight to do.
So what can we expect from the rest of the second season?
I can give you one major hint. Spoiler alert! People have been tweeting me and asking me, “When will Haskell get a girlfriend?” And all I can say is there’s an episode coming up where Haskell gets very, very lucky.
You’ve been in all manners of television and film. How is it different to prepare for a sitcom than it is for a drama? What’s your favorite?
It’s totally different—and I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to do theater and I’m going to go back in a little bit, which is wonderful. I like them all, [but] I think theater is really my favorite: it’s live and there’s live energy from the audience… there’s nothing like it. But the closest thing you get to the theater when there’s a camera involved is a four-camera, traditional, live-studio audience sitcom, because it’s really like shooting a live play once a week.
The Exes airs Wednesday nights at 10:30pm on TV Land.