By Adam Langton for TV, eh?
Tonight, CTV’s latest sitcom offering Satisfaction will be debuting at 8pm. The show stars Luke Macfarlane and Leah Renee as a loving couple, with comedian Ryan Belleville playing their best friend and roommate. As detailed in the breakdown, Satisfaction is about struggling with the next step. Whether it’s committing to a career, a relationship, or living arrangements, it’s not easy being a twenty-something when you’re torn between your immature past and your potential future. Luke Macfarlane took a few minutes out of his busy press day to chat with me about the show.
First off, I read that you’re from London, Ontario. I actually went to grad school there and I was curious: do you ever make it back for any London Knights games?
No, unfortunately not! I’ve learned a bit about hockey but was never a big hockey fan. My father worked at the University, however. He was actually the director of Student Health Services for almost twenty years.
Oh wow, good for him! Perhaps he and I crossed paths, who knows?
Well that depends, did you have any psychological counselling?
I think we’ll save that for off the record. (laughs)
So with your acting background through Over There and Brothers and Sisters and your recent appearance on Person of Interest, you’re well known for your drama chops. I was wondering if switching to comedy came as a relief, or is it a challenge?
Oh it’s definitely a challenge. It was something that I really, really wanted to do. I actually had a conversation with my agent after I finished Brothers and Sisters. I said you know, when I look at the actors that I really admire, they’ve all done their time in comedy. And I really, really, really wanted to do it, so I started reading comedy scripts. I got a lot of responses with people saying “I don’t know if we think Luke is funny.” Then, it was a relief when I read this script. Not only did I think it was super, super funny, Tim (McAuliffe)’s script, but they also said “we think you’re funny too!” So it’s definitely something that is scary and a challenge and I’m learning so much. But if you’re going to stay in the business for a long time you have to be willing to do everything.
Sounds like a perfect match. So how is the tone, on set? Is it a lighter and goofier tone than you’re used to, even when you’re not actually rolling? Or is it business as usual?
It’s funny. We do laugh a lot, for sure–there’s always laughs on set, no matter what. I will say of this show, the pace at which we film is so fast. We just get through so much material. I have never worked this hard in my life, ever; the hours that I’ve been keeping… when I was doing other shows in the past, I would come in and do a couple of days a week. This is every single day at the crack of dawn. So that’s hard, but laughter is the way that we get through the day.
Tell us a little bit about Jason Howell.
Jason Howell is a PhD candidate in plant genetics … so something that’s really exciting to a lot of people, I’m sure (laughs). Tim actually intentionally wanted Tim to have a job that sounded really boring. He kind of is the nerd of the group. I’ve got this beautiful, beautiful, intelligent, quick-witted girlfriend and I think that we wanted him to be smart on the page and maybe not as smart when it came to more practical matters.
Are you an academic type, like Jason?
I do think I am a bit of a nerd, although it’s such a cliché for people to say that now. I think I am a nerd. When I was making my decision of what I wanted to do in life I had a very real interest in going into the sciences. And I applied to the Applied Sciences program at [the University of Toronto] and I also auditioned for Juilliard, and I instead went down the path of acting as I somehow got into Juilliard.
Well I was reading how during the development of Satisfaction there was a heavy emphasis on keeping Jason’s relationship with Maggie very much about love — they didn’t want their relationship to be about fighting and bickering. Is that very clear in the script or did you guys have to sort of bring that love to life while shooting?
Leah (who plays Maggie) and I get along so well, so that was really easy. And, although love is not the same as sex, when the show actually starts you find Jason and Maggie goin’ at it in a few inappropriate places in the house.
So it’s part of the struggle of living with a roommate and how you try to have a private life in the company of somebody else. So that’s definitely something present. We want to show that these guys are all really bonded in the problems that they face. It’s really easy, Leah and I get along really, really well. And they certainly write us as a very affectionate couple.
Well I think I should post this interview as fast as possible — tell people about the opening sex scene and make sure that all eyes are on CTV tonight!
I really hope so! I’m really, really optimistic and I have to say, honestly, I’ve been lucky to be a part of a lot of things but I feel so strongly about the quality of this. I’m really proud that it happens to be Canadian. I’ve always wanted to come back and work here. I am really, really proud of the show and I hope that everyone else likes it as much as I do.