Reba Shows Melissa Peterman She’s Got ‘Class’
Everything that goes around, comes around, right?
That's the idea of Reba's TV reunion with Melissa Peterman on the comedienne's new sitcom, 'Working Class.' The two spent six years together on the set of 'Reba,' where Melissa played Barbra Jean, the woman who stole Reba's TV-husband Brock (Christopher Rich). Friday (February 4), Reba guest stars in similar capacity on Melissa's show, which airs on CMT at 8:00 PM ET/PT.
We sat down with Melissa and Reba on the set of 'Working Class' to talk about their BFF status, working together on their second sitcom, and casting "dreamy" co-star, John Schneider.
Reba: Carli is Melissa Peterman's character, and she has an ex-husband who's being played by John Schneider, and I'm his girlfriend. So, I'm a little bit of a surprise to Carli when he introduces me to the family.
Melissa: When we shot the pilot, we were like, "If this gets picked up, she has to play my ex-husband's new lady, because it's payback, it's fair." I was that for six years. I was so thrilled when I asked her and she was like, "Absolutely!"
Melissa: If I could have a time machine, where I could go back and tell 12-year-old Melissa that someday John Schneider was going to play her ex-husband, junior high would have been so much easier. I'd have had something to go for. It's a total dream come true. His name came up when we first started the process. It was like dream casting -- who would we love to have come guest, and can we get them? He was on the top of my list because he's handsome as all get-out and great, and he's got that charm. He's supposed to play that guy that I can't resist, my first love. I was like, who else but Bo Duke? I had a poster on my wall for years, so part of me is a little giggly. He's lovely, and he's so sweet. Having him here the same day as Reba was pretty spectacular. I've been a little overwhelmed..
Reba: I've done concerts with John, but nothing movie, television wise. Playing his girlfriend, it's like we're best friends. We've known each other for 30 years. It's just like good buddies. I feel so comfortable with him.
Melissa: We have fans that make posters of us as Lucy and Ethel with our pictures in it, and people say that about us: "Sometimes she's Lucy, sometimes you are." That is the biggest and most flattering compliment to even be compared to them, because they were genius. They were the first female comedy duo, that were physical and funny.
Reba: I'm Lucy and she's Ethel, until she takes the lead then she's Lucy and I'm Ethel. We have fun together. She's my best friend, I just love her to pieces. We love to play backgammon, and I always beat her. That's mandatory. I don't let her go out on the road with me if she don't let me win. We really have a good time. We love to go on vacations together. The last trip we took together was to Florida for JoAnna's wedding. We had a wonderful time. We're together an awful lot. When she started the TV show, I didn't get to see her, so to finally get to come on the set with her is really nice.
Melissa: My favorite 'Working Class' scenes with Reba would have to be where you meet her, which is obviously fun. It's fun to have us poking at each other, because that's what we did for six years. We have great timing together. We can look at each other and know exactly what to do. But truly, my favorite scene is when I get to wrestle Reba McEntire in a giant pit of balls, like the kind at Chuck E. Cheese. I know I'm living out a lot of people's dreams!
Reba: I felt just as at home as I could be when I walked on set yesterday. It's wholesome, it's real, it's honest. You can believe that this really happened. It did. Jill Cargerman, the Showrunner, this is her story; this did happen. It's just like the 'Reba' show; Alison Gibson wrote the script and that was her life, that's what happened. That's why they're so good, because they're writing real-life stories.
Melissa: Reba gave me advice for six years. On that show, watching her was the biggest advice I could have gotten coming into this project. She's probably sick of my teary phone calls and texts, where I said, "I just have to say, everything I know about making a TV show and making a set feel like a home, I learned from you."
I texted her last night: "I'm so proud to have you here." She just texted back, "I'm just so proud to see you lead the set in such a wonderful way." Everyday, watching how she made the cast and crew feel at 'Reba,' I said, "If I ever get the chance to do this, that's what I want it to be." I want everyone to know that they're appreciated, and we're in this together. We all need to care about it, because if we do, you're going to see it in the product. I'm more proud of what this crew has done and these writers accomplished in such a short amount of time. I'm proud, no matter what happens with this show ... I'm more proud of this than anything.
Catch Reba and Melissa together on 'Working Class' tonight (Friday, February 4) at 8:00 PM ET on CMT.