It’s been the usual craziness on the current season of Showtime’s comedy, “Episodes,” but one of the biggest stories that has been fabulous to watch is the surprising relationship that’s developed between Carol (Kathleen Rose Perkins) and her boss, Helen (Andrea Savage).
While Carol hasn't been labeled a lesbian thus far this season, that's one of the plusses for Perkins, who I talked to recently about this relationship, finding the right pet name (which was a part of Sunday's episode) and whether there's hope that Carol and Helen can actually make it as a couple. Let's see what the actress had to say:
Tell me when you kind of knew about this storyline starting up, and what you thought of this big change for Carol.
Kathleen Rose Perkins: The writers, Jeffrey Klarik and David Crane, had this idea in the first year of the series. In 2010, we started “Episodes” and they knew that they wanted this character to have affairs with several different bosses and eventually lead to a female boss and there was going to be no exception to the rule. She was going to have an affair with her as well. I guess all I wanted was for Showtime to pick this series up and keep picking it up until we got to this season because I knew that it was going to be fun.
Jeffrey and David are a gay couple so I knew that they were going to be really sensitive and smart and witty about earning this storyline and just being smart about it. I knew that they were going to be really smart about it.
I have to say I appreciate that it hasn’t become an episode all about ‘Am I gay?’ or ‘What am I?’ Carol seems to just be going with it and embracing it.
KRP: I think Carol’s is a real go-along-to-get-along type of lady and that’s what I envy the most about her, is that she doesn’t really question. It’s also to her demise that she never questions the circumstance that she finds herself in. She just tries to spin it in a way that it’s the most positive for everybody involved, especially her. So I think she’s just having fun and it’s actually really nice, finally, to be respected by her lover, because I don’t think she had that experience before. My favorite part of this storyline was once I got over the fun that it is about her being with a woman, it’s more about her being with someone who likes her, which is not normal for Carol. So it’s kind of cool.
Would you say that's the biggest change in this relationship? Are there more unique challenges coming?
KRP: Well, it’s a comedy and there’s no funny in good things happening. It’s always better when things get complicated and the dynamic shifts and control and power kind of come into play. So yeah, it gets really interesting, and more complicated as it goes along, because again, these writers are not stupid. They know how and it’s also not necessarily unlike how relationships work. It’s at first really lovely when you fall into somebody, and then you start to see their true colors and then you have to figure out how you work together. And I think that’s–, they do this, they show the relationship throughout the course of time in a really funny way. I mean, it’s just funny. There’s a lot of comedy.
Even just the stress of picking out a pet name! I know from experience that it can be stressful!
KRP: It is. It’s really hard to be in a healthy relationship. I think it’s incredibly hard for Carol because she is just so dysfunctional as a person in her love life and then how she sees her self-image is pretty bad. She’s not really used to being adored or respected. There’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with that. You have to be, you have to hold that view of your partner, that they think you walk on water or you’re put on this pedestal. She’s definitely starting to feel the pressure of, like, “Oh my God, this is, it’s moving so fast and I can’t keep up.” It was all so fun to play…the roller coaster ride, that, it just gets even more tasty.
How has it been working with Andrea?
KRP: She’s amazing. I’ve had some of the most–, we’ve had the most chemistry that I’ve probably ever had with a love interest. She’s really lovely and I think she’s so perfectly cast as Helen Basch. She can definitely play a lot goofier but she plays that really kind of legal, sexy lesbian, powerful, controlling lady in a really lovely, graceful way. We’re good friends so now I have a friend out of all this. Once we met, I was like, “Yeah, this’ll work. This’ll definitely work.”
I think as a viewer, I know I’m kind of rooting for them to make it.
KRP: Yeah, don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to say that the relationship doesn’t make it. I don’t want to spoil anything. It’s obvious that it’s going to go through some trials and tribulations because that’s what relationships do. So there are definitely some ups and downs that are coming, but yeah, I keep rooting for them too and I keep texting Andrea after the show airs and going, “Oh my gosh, we’re so cute together.”
Is this your first LGBT-centric category like this?
KRP: No. I played lesbians several times. I don’t whether it’s the haircut or my eyes or just the way I walk, I don’t know what it is, but yeah. I get cast opposite ladies often. There were a few years there that I was getting cast as lesbians or pregnant women, like back and forth, left and right, and then it all culminated in playing a pregnant lesbian. [laughs]
Tell me a little bit about this movie that I just heard about, "Juveniles." It sounds very different from "Episodes."
KRP: It’s a completely different from “Episodes.” I play this southern mother, she’s pretty white trash and she’s just been through the gamut of violence and betrayal and revenge. It’s just a real drama, like more drama than you can even think of so it’s been exhausting to shoot and my voice is just constantly rough because I’m screaming and crying all the time.
It’s a very big departure from Carol but that’s how I like to work. I don’t think I could do just comedy or just drama all the time, because it gets too tiring after a while. So I like to bounce around between all different kinds of genres. It’s been a real big challenge but also really fun and Steven Moyer and Martin Henderson and Beau Knapp, all of these amazing actors that I’ve been able to work with. It’s just a really fun, different type of thing than I’m used to. I’m having a blast.
“Episodes” airs Sundays at 10:30pm on Showtime.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.