She’s best known for Sabrina, the Teenage Witch; he found TV fame on Gimme a Break and Blossom. Now the two child stars are all grown up and starring in Melissa & Joey, which was released today on DVD and returns to ABC Family for the second half of the season on June 29.
In the hit ABC Family original hit comedy series, Melissa & Joey, Hart portrays Mel, a local politician caring for her teenage niece and nephew. Spread too thin to manage by herself, help comes in the unlikely form of Joe (Lawrence) who moves in and becomes the family’s “manny.”
Before the show returns to the air, Melissa and Joey sit down for a little chit chat.
What’s happening with the show the second half of the season?
Melissa Joan Hart: We have some great guest stars this season. We have Vivica A. Fox, John Ratzenberger, and some of the Lawrence brothers.
Joey Lawrence: Yes. Matt and Andy show up. Matt plays a relative but Andrew doesn’t.
Melissa Joan Hart: Of course, through the first season of any show it’s rough getting going. You have to build and grow. The first 12 that everyone saw was the beginning of our baby show. Now, it’s really developed and the writers have gotten to know us, so now that’s where we are. The next 18 are more well rounded than the first 12.
Joey Lawrence: For sure.
How long does it take to get into that rhythm on a new show?
Melissa Joan Hart: Because of our chemistry together and knowing each other and being friendly all of our lives, we were just right there with the rest of the crew and the writers.
Joey Lawrence: The show itself takes a good 10 or 12 episodes.
Melissa Joan Hart: It takes about two seasons. When you look at Friends or Seinfeld.
Joey Lawrence: When you look at Friends, the first 10 or 15 episodes of that show, it’s not the same show that it was in season two and three.
Melissa Joan Hart: You don’t get the chance. A lot of networks don’t grow shows and that’s one of the good things about cable because they will get behind you and say, “We are going to do 30 and let’s see what happens.” Instead of saying, “Let’s do six and if they suck we are out of here.”
Joey Lawrence: Particularly with the success we had coming out of the gate. They instill faith in us and they picked us up for 30, which had never been done. So for them to give us that vote of confidence and the time to gestate was really nice.
What kind of conflicts are coming up in the series?
Melissa Joan Hart: Let’s go with my favorites. There is a lesbian wedding, and a threesome. I get a boyfriend that’s much younger. He’s like 10 years younger.
Joey Lawrence: That makes her a Puma.
Melissa Joan Hart: I just learned that line and got a little freaked out when he called me that. He’s played by Scott Michael Foster from Greek. So he’s on for a few episodes and plays my hot, younger boyfriend. We have Leslie Grossman, who plays my cousin who has the lesbian wedding. It’s a wedding we throw at her house.
Joey Lawrence: A couple of hot lesbians, which is always good for a cable show. I didn’t want the wedding until they walked in the door.
Melissa Joan Hart: We have some good episodes coming up and in the first one his ex-wife comes back. She’s played by Megan Hilty who was in Wicked.
The two-disc DVD set contains the first 12 episodes of season one and bonus features including a blooper reel, and featurettes. Then catch the second half of season one when it starts airing on ABC Family on June 29.