MONDO EXTRAS

Joan of Narcadia

by Zach Oat April 6, 2009
The Amber Tamblyn Interview

Since the end of her girl-who-talks-to-God series Joan of Arcadia, Amber Tamblyn has established herself as a horror movie queen, with roles in The Grudge 2, Blackout, Spiral and the second, more evil Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. But now she's making her triumphant return to TV with the new series The Unusuals, which follows the quirky members of a New York City police precinct's Homicide division as they keep secrets from each other and investigate the city's strangest cases, a.k.a. the "unusuals." [Psst! The title has two meanings!] The show is a lot of fun, and the cast is killer, so we talked to Amber one-on-one about why she hates procedurals, loves the cold weather, and once danced for Neil Young.

TWoP: So what prompted your return to series work?
Amber Tamblyn:
It was a combination of things. I don't know if I specifically was looking to do television, but it came about because it had an incredible cast, and it seemed like such an interesting storyline and concept, and there was nothing else on television like it. That to me was the most interesting thing, that I feel like there's truly no other "cop show" on TV -- and by "cop show" I mean centric to the lives and characteristics of cops, specifically.

TWoP: Are you a fan of police procedurals?
AT:
I'm not, and you will be the first one to know that I hate when I have to do all of the procedural dialogue. It's half-and-half, but you have to have some of that when you're doing the casework and solving things, and I absolutely hate it. Nobody can ever make me like it, and I have such admiration for people who like to watch it. It's shocking.

TWoP: In some of their promotional material, ABC is comparing it to M*A*S*H. Do you see that?
AT:
Yeah, I get a lot of different feelings. The last episode we did before the season wrapped, the finale... it's not dark, but it's really heavy. It's a beautiful storyline, and it actually reminds me of something that I would have done on Joan of Arcadia, which just goes to show you -- this show and that show couldn't be further apart in their differences, but because of the humanity of the storyline and the reality of it, you just start to empathize with all of these characters and what they're having to deal with and go through. It's really wonderful. So I think M*A*S*H is kind of accurate for part of it, but Hill Street Blues, even NYPD Blue... it has a lot of different qualities, just with completely original characters. It also even reminds me of, dare I say, The Wire. I think it's got some sensibilities like that, as far as the actors making the characters more than the procedural part of the show. Even that stuff doesn't feel procedural, because these actors are -- you know, it's Adam Goldberg, it's Harrold Perrineau, it's people like that. Kai Lennox. He's really great in the show, too.

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