By Maureen Lee Lenker
April 24, 2019 at 11:00 AM EDT
Credit: Richard Cartwright/ABC
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When Leighton Meester suggested that her husband, Adam Brody, guest-star on her ABC sitcom, she didn’t envision him as Derek, the long-discussed-but-never-seen father of her character’s son.

“I definitely was like, ‘He could play a potential fun character at any point,’” she tells EW. “I didn’t anticipate him for Angie’s ex.”

But creators J.J. Philbin and Elizabeth Meriwether did. Brody will appear in the season 1 finale of Single Parents on May 8 as a current-day Derek working in food service, as well as in flashbacks to a time when he was a wannabe rock star with Angie as his groupie.

“We filmed on Sunset Boulevard at night, and I was like, ‘Man, we really are this metal couple,’” Meester recalls. “We were all made up, and we had our hair all wild. We actually drove from the first location in bumper-to-bumper rush-hour traffic together, and I was like, ‘I wonder if people see us in our car and are thinking we’re just this actual rocker-like goth couple.”

Up to this point, Derek has been “kind of this mysterious character,” Meester says. “This mystery, this legend, more than a human being,” which makes his current life “a very funny reveal.”

A reveal that is going to drudge up a lot of feelings for Angie, according to Meester. “She is probably more intimidated by him than anything,” she explains. “Obviously, there’s got to be a lot of mixed feelings about the person you once loved. Whether or not they end up doing okay for themselves. There’s a lot of that kind of stuff because she sees a reminder of him every day.”

Credit: Richard Cartwright/ABC

The other titular “single parents,” and even Angie’s own son, Graham (Tyler Wladis), know very little about Derek and what he once meant to Angie. She has been reluctant to even admit the influence Derek had on her life to herself, which will come to the surface in the finale. “Angie’s been in denial about how much her relationship with Graham’s father has affected her,” says Meester. “It’s made her really become shy when it comes to relationships and opening up and trusting people. It’s given her a real fear of abandonment and, in many ways, made her the person she is now.”

But don’t expect Brody to be a permanent addition. “I don’t know that Angie has it in her to want to make it work with him,” Meester admits. “Her child has never met him, and all that she’s had is this sense of rage and resentment toward him.”

Not that life imitated art in any way while filming. “That would be an awesome way to do couples’ therapy,” Meester says with a laugh. “But just being around Adam, and being on set with him, it’s fun. It’s comfortable. He’s really funny, and I enjoy everything I do with him. Working with him is just the icing on the cake.”

Single Parents airs Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.

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