The thing is, the actor doesn’t seem to mind at all.
“It’s definitely a different gear to play the same character week after week, and now we’re heading into our ninth week,” Taran Killam says from the set of Single Parents. “That feels new to me. It’s a new experience, but I’m really enjoying that aspect. The writers are so smart and good at what they do, and even more to their credit, they’re very open and collaborative. If we have ideas or jokes that we want to try out, they’re all for it.”
Taran Killam plays Will Cooper, a single father who devotes his life entirely to his daughter Sophie, played by Marlow Barkley. Leighton Meester, Brad Garrett, Kimrie Lewis and Jake Choi round out the cast of fellow single parents, who reluctantly take Will under their wing following a disastrous morning session in their children’s classroom.
Taran Killam talks Single Parents
It’s a fun, lighthearted show, and much like New Girl and SNL before it, the ensemble is what makes it shine. This is especially true of Barkley and the other young actors who, in a way, comprise an ensemble all their own. And as Killam attests, working with them on Single Parents is one of the most unique aspects of the series.
“I had never worked with kid actors this much before in this sort of long-term capacity, but I do feel that we’ve been incredibly fortunate to have not only the most talented kid actors, but also the nicest,” he says.
“They’re who people are going to tune in to watch the show for, because they’re so funny and good,” adds Killam. “This isn’t a traditional family show, where you have the high school brother, the middle school sister and the precocious young one. They’re all around the same age. They’re creating their own community, and that’s very unique. You don’t often see that.”
In other words, the comedy ensemble nature of Single Parents is actually twofold, with the parents and their children comprising two different groups. Whenever they interact, however, the comedy that ensues is as funny as it is delightful.
Toward the conclusion of the premiere episode, Will performs a song from the Disney film Moana over the phone with Sophie. It’s a lovely scene that, along with tugging at the audience’s heartstrings, also dives into the comedy whenever appropriate (like when Garrett’s Douglas Fogerty joins in). But it also displays Killam and Barkley’s rapport.
“She blows me away daily,” he boasts, not unlike a proud father. “I’m just unbelievably impressed with her, but she’s also able to be very present. I think that’s her biggest skillset, because I’m coming from a comedy background in which I like to be loose and improvisational. Not only can she keep up, but she’ll give her own input. It’s really made for an organic father-daughter relationship in the show.”
Single Parents airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.