Beau Knows Funny: Comedy Is A Family Affair For Beau Bridges.
Actor Beau Bridges has comedy in his genes. His father, Lloyd, was a regular in Zucker brothers’ comedies like Airplane! and received an Emmy nomination for guesting as Izzy Mandelbaum on Seinfeld. His brother, Jeff, was “The Dude” of The Big Lebowski fame.
Beau played the father of Earl and Randy Hickey in My Name Is Earl, guest-starred as the posthumous patriarch in The Goodwin Games and now takes another shot at the TV dad role in the new CBS sitcom The Millers, premiering Thursday, Oct. 3, at 8:30pm ET/PT.
In The Millers, TV news reporter Nathan (Will Arnett) is trying to rebound after a divorce, but finds his newly single life disrupted by his parents’ marital strife. Nathan’s dad, Tom (Bridges), decides that he’s had enough of his wife, Carol (Margo Martindale), after 43 years of marriage.
“Tom is experiencing a real renaissance in his life, and it all kind of comes about because his son is getting divorced,” Bridges says. “At first it upsets my character. He says, ‘You can’t do this!’ Then he begins to think about his own life, and he’s not necessarily that happy. So he goes off and does his own thing and lives with his daughter. But then, of course, that doesn’t become too successful.”
What is successful is the comedy that results from old-married-couple bickering between Tom and Carol, who deep down still love each other and, as Bridges says, couldn’t ruin their relationship if they wanted to.
Greg Garcia, who also created My Name Is Earl, was inspired by his own happily married parents’ squabbles for The Millers. “I kind of looked at my own life and the characters in my life and kind of fictionalized the situation that they are in,” Garcia says. “Primarily my mother and my father, who are happily married, actually. But if you spend any time with them, at first you think that my mother is a horrible human being and how could she treat this poor, innocent man the way she treats this man. And then you spend a little time with just my dad, and within five minutes, you turn into my mother, yelling at him.” Bridges can relate. “I had grandparents that bitched at each other the whole time. It was constant, to the point where we found it laughable. We’d laugh at them. They’d just wreak havoc on one another,” he says. “You just don’t know the dance that people do to make a relationship work. It’s all different for everybody. [The Millers], they’ve certainly got their problems, but I think down deep they do love each other. And I’ve always loved to do stories about families because mine has always been so important to me in my life.”
The Millers: © 2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Credit: Richard Foreman
Beau Bridges: © 2013 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. Credit: Cliff Lipson