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'Resident Alien' star Meredith Garretson on the awkwardly hilarious dinner scene with Sheriff Mike in Episode 14
"Filming with Corey [Reynolds] is a riot every time."
"Nothing says 'successful town' like a good rat infestation," Sheriff Mike Thompson (Corey Reynolds) declares in this week's episode of Resident Alien. It's one of several ill-advised arguments made to try and convince Kate Hawthorne (Meredith Garretson) that building a resort in Patience is actually a good idea.
Despite initial support for the plan concocted by her husband, Ben (Levi Fiehler), Kate has since reversed her stance on the matter after learning how much the town means to lifelong residents like Asta (Sara Tomko), D'Arcy (Alice Wetterlund), Liv (Elizabeth Bowen), and Kayla (Sarah Podemski).
"This situation with the resort is her first chance to really flex that JD-PhD, to really get to be a part of herself that she hasn't been able to be since she moved here and get to be more and the mayor's wife and to really have friends of her own and relationships of her own and motivation of her own," Garretson tells SYFY WIRE. "That's a big part of the arc and that brings her into more conflict with Ben, but I think they move through that in a very different way than they did in Season 1, which is an evolution of their marriage."
Calling on her dormant skills as a lawyer, Kate teams up with Kayla to convince a judge to grant a restraining order against construction. The conflicting positions results in a schism between Kate and Ben, forcing them to establish their home as neutral ground, where resort talk is strictly prohibited. Since Mike doesn't live there, he exploits a loophole, inviting himself over for dinner and broaching the subject, albeit in a rather unwieldy fashion that results in one of Episode 14's funniest moments.
"Filming with Corey is a riot every time," Garretson says. "What he does with the text, the way he chooses to speak the words on the page, is always so unique to him. It's always gut-wrenchingly funny. He just he brings such a fullness as an actor and he's a great improviser. Things sometimes come out of his mouth at the end of a take, or sometimes in a take, where I've got to hold on [to my laughter]. It was a riot filming that scene, [especially] the part where he's [explaining what a sex worker is] to Max. He had me in stitches. That shot where you look up and his eyes are wide open [and] he's like, ‘You guys changed gears way too fast,’ he doesn't have to do anything to delight me ... I just rewatched the episode and was in stitches. He just always knows exactly what to bring to the moment. Everyone's funny and everyone's full of heart and warmth at the same time. It's so rare."
That geniality certainly comes through on the screen and in fact, Den of Geek recently dubbed the show "One of TV's Most Wholesome Comedies." While "ball gags and ice dildos" are also on the docket, Garretson says (referring to Ben and Kate's wild sex life at the start of Season 2), the real draw can be found in a slew of relatable human stories. "At the end of the day, all those people with all of those problems, we get to see their humanity. That's really rare for everyone and everyone on the cast is capable of keeping the bar that high — of being both flawed or dirty or stubborn, and then having this incredible beating heart that makes you care about what happens to them."
A genuine fondness and respect exists among the cast members, regardless of age. Back in July, for instance, Judah Prehn (who plays Ben and Kate's young son, Max) completely held his own against the adult co-stars during the official Resident Alien panel at San Diego Comic-Con.
"He really does feel like my kid," Garretson says. "At first, he called me ‘Mom 3’ because I guess like Kristen Bell had been his mom at one point, so she was ‘Mom 2.’ And then I became ‘Mom 2’ and then I became ‘Mom 1.9’ I know I will never be 'Mom' 1 because he is raised by an amazing woman. It's such a joy to work with him. He's a curious actor. He's an exuberant, energy-filled, joy-filled human being. He sucks up information, he rises to the scene, he takes direction, he's playful, he's kind, he's a great scene partner. I'm so lucky, there's no acting needed to care about this person or to admonish him when he's being too much ... You didn’t have to make him bang on those drums [in Episode 11], he’s just banging away. So yeah, he's a bonafide grown-up as far as his work ethic and his talent."
The penultimate episode of Resident Alien's second season airs next Wednesday (Sep. 21) at 10 p.m. Eastern. The finale is scheduled to drop Wednesday, Sep. 28.
"The audience has so many surprises to look forward to," Garretson teases of the final episodes. "As person inside the show, I’m so jazzed up about some of [the storylines]. I watched the episodes myself after participating in them and was just like, ‘Oh my God!’ So I just think every single person in the cast has is going crazy places and I'm just really excited for everybody to see it."