Messing Around Again 

Forget Grace Adler (for a minute). Suddenly, Debra Messing wants to become everybody’s favorite desperate ex-housewife with her big return to the small screen in The Starter Wife.

BY Greg Archer

October 10 2008 12:00 AM ET

What is the best thing about playing Molly, now
that you’re doing it in a series?
I love that she doesn’t have the answers.
She doesn’t know what’s going to make
her happy. She doesn’t know how she is going to be
self-sufficient. She doesn’t know if she ever is
going to love again or to share custody as a newly
divorced mother. Everything is unknown to her, and
that is really interesting to me.

You’re also on board as executive producer. It’s fascinating. If you’re a star
of a show, if you’re unhappy, people care, but
they don’t necessarily do something about it. Whereas
... if you are executive producer, if you’re
not happy with the trajectory of the show, then it has
to be addressed on some level. In the beginning I felt
that it was a security blanket, but immediately I got fully
entrenched in it. And it’s something I discovered
that I am good at -- looking at the larger picture and
keeping a keen eye out for detail, looking for ways to
strengthen the copy even when it’s not my own.
It’s sort of a left-brain, right-brain thing.
I’m sort of using it all right now. It’s
really exhausting but also very satisfying.

You and Chris Diamantopoulos work well off of each
other. How does that feel -- playing opposite another
gay character, especially since the last you did
it you struck gold?
You know, it’s like that old sock
feeling. It just feels familiar. Chris is such an
extraordinary persona and dynamic actor that it was
incredibly important to me that he come back for the
series because the chemistry was there. And the
character he created was specific and relatable, and
he has some kinks about him and you could laugh at him.
Rodney is very different from Will, but it’s
not about trying to replicate that. We wanted to try
to show reality. It would not be a real representation of
Hollywood if there weren’t at least one gay character
in the core of the leading actors.

You and the other cast members of Will & Grace
were part of a cultural phenomenon. The series
presented gay characters in a way we had not seen
them portrayed on television before. Do you have any
thoughts on the shows that are on today and if you
feel there could be more representation of LGBT
characters on network TV?
Well, for full disclosure, I don’t watch
a lot of prime-time shows on network TV, so it would
be unfair to say anything definitive, but I will say
there’s always room for more representation. There
can never be too much representation. I am more proud
of the effect the show Will & Grace had on the
community at large. And people’s awareness and
expansion. I’m more proud of all of that than
anything to do with the show. I do feel that for all of us
who have the privilege of working right now on TV and
having any kind of influence or any kind of say on the
context of a show, that we do what we can to make sure
lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender characters are
always represented in a way that is multifaceted as
the straight characters. That’s what
we’ve done with Chris’s character, Rodney.
From the beginning of the new episodes, he’s
fully involved in a love affair and it’s very
complicated because it’s with somebody who is
closeted, and it’s really dealt with head on.
And I’m really proud of it because it’s a
relationship that you really care about when you watch it.

Tags: television

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