Today at the Television Critics’ Association winter press tour, NBC presented several new and established series, but the most anticipated new comedy stars an icon of American sitcoms — Fran Drescher.
Indebted — the new NBC series — was presented at a packed house in Pasadena for TCA on January 11. The panel assembled included the cast — Adam Pally, Abby Elliott, Jessy Hodges, Fran Drescher, and Steven Weber — and executive producers Dan Levy and Doug Robinson.
As expected, Fran Drescher was asked questions about her iconic roles of being a publicist in the film Spinal Tap (Bobbi Flekman) and on her series, The Nanny.
“I made peace with the fact that I won’t be Meryl Streep in my career,” said Drescher, who was all smiles sitting next to her on-screen husband, played by Steven Weber.
She also noted that she was comfortable with weaponizing her persona and distinctive voice in all her characters — as she does now in NBC’s upcoming Indebted.
The series is about a Jewish family in flux, as the parents (Drescher and Weber) find themselves in dire financial straits. They move in with their son and his wife and the mayhem of that crowded house ensues. In shaping the sitcom, EP Dan Levy said that when he asked his parents about their retirement plan, his mom said they would come to California to live with him.
On the panel, Dan laughed and noted that he didn’t think that was a great idea or a good plan. Levy clarified that his parents did not actually move in with him but they were talking about what they might do, as he said: “Then I started meeting with different people to organize their finances so they didn’t have to come live with me.”
Levy said that like his real family, the family on the show is Jewish and that there is an episode set at a shiva. Fran Drescher clarified the remarks and joked that Abby Elliott’s character is a “shiksa goddess” and was not Jewish. Not missing a beat, Weber chimed in and said: “It was time to play a Jewish person. I’ve done everything else.”
Weber also joked that he had been playing such “reprehensible characters” for such a long time and he asked his shrink why. She told him: “Better to play them than to be them.”
Adam Pally said his parents were in show business when he was a child. They had a band called Pally & Pal and he thinks that he picked up comedic timing and learned what it is to interact with a large group of people from watching them.
Pally said: “Now my dad is a doctor, so entertainment didn’t work out and he lives through me.”
Indebted premieres on February 6 at 9/8c on NBC.