Accidentally on Purpose: Unexpected-family comedy

CBS has made hits of sitcoms centered around unconventional or substitute families. They're adding a new family unit to the list that includes Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory: Accidentally on Purpose, which centers on a successful woman who has a sexy night with a slacker, then ends up pregnant.

Sounds hauntingly familiar, right? But this is no "Knocked Up" knock-off. The show is based on a real woman's experience (and the book she wrote about it): Film critic Mary Pols really did have a one-night stand with a younger -- 10 years younger -- man, and really did decide to keep the baby that ensued. Comedy pro Jenna Elfman takes the main role, Jon Foster is the baby daddy, and TV vets Ashley Jensen and Grant Show help round out the cast.

The cast and executive producer Claudia Lonow met the press on Monday. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Ashley Jensen, who plays Olivia, one of Jenna's cadre of successful single-women friends, is actually pregnant -- but her character isn't . "I expect to be carrying a large purse, manila envelopes, perhaps standing behind potted plants..." "[Olivia] may be gaining a tremendous amount of sympathy weight," Lonow cracked.
  • A journalist asked if Jensen would be offering her newborn up as a stunt baby. Jensen liked the idea: "I can earn a coupe of extra quid!"
  • A reporter asked how the show would evolve -- we know Billie is going to have the baby, and what's to prevent this from becoming just another single-mom sitcom? "Well, I'm brilliant," Lonow joked.
  • Lonow on why some women over 35 might be less worried bout birth control: "All you hear is 'Your eggs are dying, they're running away, they've got a backpack and they're leaving town!'"
  • What about that title, "Accidentally on Purpose"? "I don't think either the author or the character set out in a sort of underhanded way to make this happen," Lonow said. "But she wasn't aware, perhaps, how much her subconscious wanted it."

    What's your take on the show -- will you be tuning in?
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