Just Shoot Me! stars, creator reunite to talk David Spade's casting, hallucinogenics, and lots of laughs
George Segal, Laura San Giacomo, Wendie Malick, Enrico Colantoni, and David Spade, as well as creator Steven Levitan and series director Pamela Fryman, look back on the NBC sitcom, now streaming on Hulu.
After countless photoshoots, articles, models, high jinks, and 148 episodes, NBC's Just Shoot Me! signed off after a seven-season run in 2003. Seventeen years later, stars George Segal, Laura San Giacomo, Wendie Malick, Enrico Colantoni, and David Spade, as well as creator Steven Levitan and series director Pamela Fryman, have reunited to reminisce on their workplace comedy set at the fictional fashion magazine Blush.
"I thought it was an interesting conversation: what role does physical beauty play in our society?" Levitan, who later went on to co-create Modern Family, says of the root of the show, which is now available to stream in full on Hulu. "That was sort of the place where it all started, and then you just gotta dig for, where does the comedy come from?"
And they found it. Debuting in 1997, the sitcom followed magazine owner and publisher Jack Gall0 (Segal), whose journalist daughter Maya (San Giacomo) comes to work at the magazine after being fired from her previous job (she tampered with a news anchor's TelePrompTer copy and made her cry on live TV). Nina Van Horn (Malick) is a former model and the magazine's fashion editor, while Elliot DiMauro (Colantoni) is a photographer who often dates the many models who come through the offices. Jack's assistant is Dennis Finch (Spade), who ends up writing an advice column. Together, they created one of the best ensembles on TV. An ensemble that almost didn't include Spade.
"I joined a little later than these guys," Spade, who was cast for the pilot reshoot (his character was initially much smaller and played by another actor), explains. "It was already funny and [they were these] four seasoned actors that were great and I sort of saw an opportunity to be a part of that. It was fine without me, but if I jumped in then it would be just one more element to goof around.... I was just sort of running in circles in the middle of it all."
"[The show] was not together," Segal chimes in. "That show did not come together until David joined us. That was the spark that brought that show to life."
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Sharing their initial impressions of their characters, the cast also shares lots of laughs as they look back on their favorite episodes, ones including a murder mystery, guest star Cheri Oteri, Finch's sex life, and recreational drugs. In the sixth episode of season 1, titled "Lemon Wacky Hello," Nina, Maya, and Elliot enjoy some candy that Jack brought back from a trip to China. Candy, it turns out, that is actually a hallucinogenic.
"That was a giant swing early on. One might say that's a kind of episode that you earn over time, and we just went, 'Eh, who knows if we'll be back, let's just do it,'" Levitan recalls.
"It was almost a bonding experience, like having taken hallucinogenics together, because the sense memory or imagination from all of us made us feel like we were truly in the middle of some kind of acid trip. And there's a great trust and sort of goofiness that is involved in those, I can tell you from experience," Malick says with a laugh.
To hear more from the cast, Levitan, and Fryman, watch the reunion above.
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