November 28, 2006
Comparisons between the heroine of "Sex and the City" and PJ, the central character in TBS' new series "My Boys," are bound to happen -- not least because the network is airing the two shows back-to-back starting Tuesday, with the premiere of "My Boys" at 10 p.m., following "SATC." There are other similarities as well: Both characters are journalists, both narrate their lives via voiceover and both aren't quite sure how to figure out men.
Despite all that, it's doubtful PJ and Carrie would ever meet over cosmos to discuss their man problems. PJ would probably instead be out with her guy friends, drinking beer, busting their chops and talking about the Cubs. Not unlike "My Boys" creator Betsy Thomas.
"I love sports and sort of begrudgingly wear makeup, and I have a weekly poker game, and I think when I first wrote this, I felt very alienated by a lot of the women portrayed on TV," says Thomas, who created The WB's sitcom "Run of the House" a few seasons back. "It was initially wanting to write more about women I knew, who are not only like me but [also] like my sisters and a lot of women in this country who I think are really underrepresented."
The easy way to describe such women, Thomas says, would be "tomboy" or "one of the guys," but she thinks there's more to it than that. PJ is someone who "likes sports, she makes her own money, she's independent. She's not a game-player when it comes to relationships. She's the kind of girl who'd rather meet someone and sit around and have a beer with her friends at a bar than go to some fancy club."
Spiro, who puts herself "somewhere in the middle" of the tomboy-to-girly-girl continuum, feels pretty much the same way. "I felt like more often than not women on TV were low-maintenance or sort of unpolished or rough around the edges, yet they had tight dresses on and great blow-drys and woke up with perfect lipstick, you know? It was really nice to attempt to bring a little bit more of a reality to that."
That reality includes covering the Cubs for the Chicago Sun-Times and weekly poker games with her brother (Jim Gaffigan) and her guy friends (Jamie Kaler, Reid Scott and Michael Bunin). But there's also room for her best friend Stephanie (Kellee Stewart), who's on a continual mission to educate PJ on feminine wiles, and a press-box colleague (Kyle Howard) PJ takes a shine to in the pilot.
What at first blush looks like a typical TV romantic-comedy setup, though, soon turns another way. Thomas says she doesn't plan to "do necessarily a Sam-and-Diane thing" with PJ and Howard's character, Bobby.
"Or I should say that's not the thrust of what the first season is about," Thomas says. "They become friends, and he becomes part of this group, one of the guys. ... But there are a couple twists still in that path that you haven't seen."