'Mom's Beth Hall on playing an oddly interesting emotional mess on the show: 'I can't think of anything I would change about Wendy'
While everybody was busy focusing on Marjorie beating cancer and Jill coping with miscarriage, somehow Wendy morphed into a person who is 'not afraid to stick up for herself'.
CBS' hit comedy 'Mom' starring Anna Farris and Oscar-winner Allison Janney has probably one of the funniest, most unique takes on the issue of alcoholism and alcoholics in recovery. Revolving around the characters Christy (Farris) and her mother, Bonnie (Janney), the show also tackles some really important crisis situations like substance abuse, sexual assault, and the many roadblocks that come with surprise teenage pregnancies, side by side showing the hilarious relationship and subtle resentments and pride that exist between mothers and daughters. But what the show also revolves around are the lives of Christy and Bonnie's three closest friends - Marjorie, Jill, and a certain Wendy, whose super power is pretty much crying at everything. Or so fans of the show thought until this currently airing sixth season where suddenly Wendy is a lot sassier and brimming with dark humor.
But the transition hasn't been all that sudden as the face of the character, Beth Hall, would put in. And somehow, that has become quite an interesting topic to look back on when you think of the show. While everybody was so busy focusing on Marjorie beating cancer and Jill coping with miscarriage, somehow Wendy also grew up to be a person who - in the words of Hall - is finally 'not afraid to stick up for herself at times.' But that isn't all. Speaking about the amazing underdog who adds probably the most amount of latent humor to the show with her sob stories, Hall shared with us what she is all about and what it takes to bring her alive on-screen.
Speaking about this total sassy side to Wendy on this season of 'Mom' - which has been super enjoyable to watch - we asked Hall what the transition was like. "I'm enjoying the sassy side of Wendy this season," said the actress who has been a series regular since the pilot. She further explained that adding: "We saw a little bit of that previously when she is on the job as a nurse. I think she is gaining a little confidence and not afraid to stick up for herself at times."
And most importantly, she enjoys "doing both sides of Wendy. We are all multi-dimensional characters, so I'm glad I'm not sobbing every week, but we shouldn't forget she's emotional. And, of course, I love the great one-liners the writers write for me." But at the same time, it makes one wonder what it takes to relate to a character with such significant different attitudes in two consecutive seasons. "Wendy is similar to me in the fact that she wants to be liked and be a good friend," says Hall, explaining the idea. "But she puts up with a lot more than I would."
So what lies ahead of Wendy? We know, no spoilers, but for everyone wondering if at all, at some point of time, the tough-as-nails Bonnie would finally warm up to her, Hall had some teasing details to spill. "We're only about halfway through shooting Season 6, but we do find out some things about Wendy that might surprise people," she teased. "I don't think Bonnie will ever stop being harsh to her and that's okay with me."
And speaking about the ever so mean Bonnie, she's a striking contrast with the vulnerable - feelings on her sleeves - kind of person, that Wendy is. Still, looks like there is nothing Hall would change about her character on the show. "I can't think of anything I would change about Wendy," she told us. " She's a lovable, flawed character and I love playing her. Maybe go on a date or something!" But she does divulge which character, apart from her own, she would like to play on the show. And surprise, surprise - turns out it's Bonnie! "She is such an incredibly fun character," reasons Hall. She also adds that while "Mimi (Kennedy) is like Marjorie and the fact that she is wise and is a matriarchal figure to the women in the cast, Allison (Janney) is the least like Bonnie, because she always thinks of others before herself."
Five alcoholics walk into a bar...Adam's bar! The ladies bring the fun—and 10 friends each—to the grand opening. Missed the latest episode of #Mom? Stream it now: https://t.co/UNpkR5fxoX pic.twitter.com/R1yY1LB3Ra— Mom (@MomCBS) November 16, 2018
This wholesome bond that the actors seem to share off-screen can also be seen reflected in their scenes, despite such vast differences between all of them. While Marjorie is the all-wise matriarch, Jill (Jaime Pressley) happens to be the insensitive, self-absorbed, filthy rich Hollywood gal. The Plunketts - both Christy and Bonnie - are pretty much broke, so striking a balance between all of them to come together and fit like pieces of a puzzle can seem like quite the task. And this is where Hall feels like the challenges come in.
"The scenes in general that are the most challenging are when we have a lot of prop action and we have to match in each take so they can edit it easily," she explains. "Often at the Bistro we have to know when we take a bite of food or drink so we can do it the same each time. My favorite Wendy moment was during the maple syrup episode when I pushed the barrel into the car and had to run off to pee! When I read that scene in the script, I laughed out loud."
So what drew her to this oddly interesting emotional mess for a person? Hall's answer is pretty simple. "I got a call saying we have a part for you! I had been cut from an earlier episode and they wanted to use me, so when this part came up they thought of me. " And she thinks that is "Serendipity! And, I always wanted to be an actress since I was a very little girl. My mother had acted and my father was a stand-up comedian and I always loved making people laugh."
And that really shows when Hall puts on her best Wendy act and simply entertains by mostly breaking into tears on screen. What is also remarkable is that the brilliant actress has managed to figure out the key to strike the perfect balance between acting, motherhood, and also her secret weapon which happens to be exemplary poker skills. The secret? "My husband makes it easy for me to be able to what I need to do and my mother lives nearby as well. And, actually, poker is the thing that relaxes me the most," she admits. But quipping about the habit, she concludes adding: "I can really forget the world when I am sitting at a poker table. Even though bad beats are NOT relaxing!"