'The Guest Book': Steve Zissis on threading dark and comedy in Mike's bizarre story
Season 2 episode 5 of 'The Guest Book' will see husband-wife couple played by Steve Zissis and Allison Tolman staying at the Barefeet Retreat.
Every week TBS’ ‘The Guest Book’ treats fans with the story a new bunch of people with their own set of problems depicted beautifully by a group of talented actors who fit beautifully into the oceanside town of Mabel Beach. On Tuesday night’s episode of ‘Two Steps Forward, One Step Back’ the guests staying at the Barefeet Retreat – too ironically named for this episode – is Mike and his family.
Portrayed by the versatile Steve Zissis, Mike is an overworked man struggling to make ends meet. However, he wanted to give his family a beach vacation they would never forget and works hard for it. Unfortunately, in his case, he may have had to pay a price much steeper than he had planned.
The story of the upcoming season 2 episode 5 of ‘The Guest Book’ is bizarre, to say the least, but it was the great opportunity to “thread the needle between [light hearted] comedy and dark comedy” that attracted Zissis to the role. “I thought it would be interesting to play a character that is at times very unlikable, but I always wanted to make sure that he was funny,” he tells Meaww.
Greg Garcia, the creator of ‘The Guest Book,’ is in fact, the "mad genius” at weaving crazy and comedy into a wonderful packaging of objectively hilarious. “I had known him from 'My Name is Earl' and I had seen a couple episodes of 'The Guest Book.' When I had an opportunity to be a part of it, I was very excited,” gushed Zissis.
Despite the initial inhibition of joining a cast that has already been working together for a while, and has become friendly and close to each other, Zissis seems to have been welcomed into the fold pretty quickly. “You're dropped into a world and a family that you don't know and it can be a little intimidating at first. There can be a little bit of nerves at first. But they were so welcoming, Greg Garcia was so wonderful that they made me feel safe and after the first couple of shots I felt very relaxed and confident.”
He also had a partner in this journey, Allison Tolman, who plays his loving and patient wife. Of the chemistry he shares with her, Zissis says, “[We] were social media friends before the show and I think we may have met each other outside at different industry events here and there and I was definitely a big fan of hers from watching 'Fargo' a couple of seasons back and she is such a brilliant actor. We just hit it off. We just had good chemistry and we had a lot of fun behind the scenes too.”
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While Mike’s story – like that of all weekly guest actors’ - becomes the primary plot of the episode, the lives of the staples in the show, who we have loved as the people of Mabel Beach throughout the season continues on. One of the most interesting characters this season has been Carly Jibson’s Vivian, who is no longer running her strip club, but instead is working at the local food joint while compulsively obsessing over Jimmy Tatro’s Bodhi.
Zissis seems to have found his favorite in Carly as well, claiming, “I love all the regular actors but Carly especially, to me is a standout on the show. She's so funny and her delivery and her timing and her character is just wonderful.” The conviction and passion with which she plays the role is truly incredible and possibly make for at least half of why you should be watching ‘The Guest Book’ if you aren’t already.
Don’t forget to tune in at 10:30 Tuesday, November 13, on TBS to watch Zissis and Tomlin kill it on ‘The Guest Book’