Even if you haven't quite reached your thirties yet, or you are, perhaps, way past them, you’ll still probably relate to something on VH1’s new half-hour comedy I Hate My 30s. Following the over-the-top exploits of some office workers struggling to become adults, it puts an ironic—and often ridiculous—spin on the conflicts that come with growing up.
I recently got some one-on-one time with 30s actress Jill Ritchie (fun fact: She's Kid Rock's baby sister!), who plays the bitchy but hilarious Mandy, to get a little more scoop on the show. Listen in...
I watched I Hate My 30s on The VSpot last night. You guys totally made me laugh. How'd you get involved with it?
I actually went to USC with the creators, David Fickas and Brice Beckham, who are also two of the actors on the show. And I would say, out of the cast, almost everyone went to USC, except maybe three. Over the years, David and Brice have done a lot of comedy shows. They’ve written and created quite a bit, and we had always said we wanted to do something together, but the timing was never right. They offered me the pilot, but I couldn’t do it because I was working on something else at the time. So, they shot the pilot with someone else, and when the show got picked up, they came to me again. I loved [what they’d already shot] and was like, "This is my type of show, my type of comedy." It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so I signed on. It has been a great experience.
In the episode I saw, there was a lot about your character's judgmental sorority sisters and friends outside of work. Is the show going to do a lot with people outside of the office?
We’re mostly focusing on people in the office. There are a couple of other recurring characters. One of the guys has a wife who comes on a couple of times. There’s another guy who comes on a few times. But usually, each episode kind of focuses on one character. Last week was [my episode], because I was going to another wedding by myself, and my sorority sisters are like, “What’s wrong with you? Why are you still single?” So, that’s sort of what the episode focuses on. Each character will have their time to shine.
Can you clue us in on what some of the other episodes tackle?
Each episode takes an issue about being in your thirties. That one is about weddings and [what it’s like to] go to weddings when you’re in your thirties and unattached. You have to see all these people whom you haven’t seen in years who are asking why you aren’t married and if you have a boyfriend. Then there’s an episode that’s about debt. You know, paying off student loans, credit card debt, owning a house. And there’s another one that centers on trying to make your dreams come true and how it’s hard to [keep at it] when you hit your thirties and there’s still no sign of it happening.
I know that, like your character, you're also in your thirties. Obviously, it's a comedy, but do you relate to her and the way she feels about this particular decade of life?
No, I have to say that I hope I’m a lot different than my character. But as far as the issue of the thirties, it’s interesting because I have always played way younger than my age. I mean, I played Lindsay Lohan’s best friend in Herbie Fully Loaded even though I’m 10 years older than she is. I was in a movie called D.E.B.S. where I was six to seven years older than most of those girls. And there was a point when I remember going to my manager and saying, “I know this is going to sound ridiculous and everyone is going to think I’m crazy, but I am tired of playing really young. I’m approaching thirty. I’m about to get married.” I can’t play those characters anymore because I don’t relate. So, yeah, I have a lot of friends who are in their thirties. Some are single. Some are married. Some are still trying to figure out their jobs and what they want to do with their lives. That’s very relatable. I really believe in that whole [expression], “the thirties really are the new twenties.” Everybody’s supposed to have everything together in their thirties, but most of us don’t. We’re still trying to figure it out.
Have your friends been watching I Hate My 30s? What's their reaction to it?
Their reaction is great. This is the type of show you either get or you don’t. That’s what I love about it. We’re not doing just a safe, simple series on one of the networks. Sitcoms are almost dead on [networks like] ABC, and all of those shows like Arrested Development, The Office, Flight of the Conchords, things that aren’t mainstream, those are the shows I love. I think those are the shows people are just starting to be open to. Because, you know, watching According to Jim is so safe and so simple, and that’s okay, but I like this [project] because it isn’t for everybody. Some people are going to be like, “What the hell?! We don’t know what this is about.” And other people are going to say, “This is the greatest thing!” And that’s what I’m finding the reactions to be. Our characters all have MySpace pages, and some of the comments are just like, “Oh my God, we love it!” I don’t think there’s an in-between, and that’s what I’m finding with my friends.
I have to ask you about the musical numbers. Is there one in every episode?
I think pretty much, yeah. There’s some sort of musical number element to each episode, which is just another reason why I love doing this show.
That was easily one of the funniest parts of the show. Do you guys all have musical backgrounds?
Some of us do and some of us don’t. I did musical theater in college, and I sing musical theater, so I’ve never done any pop music stuff. But I also danced growing up. One of the girls, Rachael Lawrence, who plays the rocker chick, Vicki, she wrote a lot of the music along with David and Brice. She’s actually a songwriter and a piano teacher in her spare time. But a couple of the castmembers had never sung or done anything like that, so they just threw themselves in there, and they did a great job. In the Grease number, which aired in this last episode, the girl who sang in that was petrified to do it. But that’s the thing about working with people you know. David and Brice have a sound studio in their office, and they just take you in there and make you feel comfortable. So, for some reason we were all able to really come out and do it.
I know you talked about some of the topics coming up, but is there anything else you can tease that people should look forward to?
I would definitely say some more musical numbers. That alone is worth sticking with the show for. A lot of them are spoofs of stuff.
Like the Grease one?
Yeah. If it’s not a particular song or melody, then it’s a spoof on a love song or something. The show has a lot of surprises. You have to really listen to the dialogue, because there are so many lines, like my sorority is called Kappa Zeta Jones. There’s another sorority, Omega Ryan. There are little things like that in each episode, and I think that you almost need to watch it twice to pick up on them. And some people might think it’s stupid, but other people will think [it’s hilarious]. That’s David and Brice. They just don’t take themselves too seriously. None of us think we’re making something serious. We know it’s all for fun. We just want people to laugh and relate.
I Hate My 30s airs Thursday nights at 10:30 on VH1.