NBC show pokes fun at parenting, boundaries and the lack thereof
The unmistakable, high-pitched, raspy voice is back. Fran Drescher is taking over NBC with the premiere of Indebted last week.
“I haven’t worked on a series in seven years,” Drescher said. “Now, I’m back in the saddle again and I feel very blessed to be on a major network.”
The Queens native, who was nominated for a pair of Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards, is back in what she describes as the perfect role.
Indebted, NBC’s newest sitcom, prides itself on being comedic gold. The show centers around Drescher, who plays Debbie, and her husband Stew, played by fellow Queens native Steven Weber.
This Jewish family has a rough time after losing their fortune. They end up broke and need somewhere to live. In their early 60s, what will they do?
Their son, Dave (Adam Pally), and his wife, Rebecca (Abby Elliott), have a stunning home, perfect for Dave’s parents to go to, right? Well, not so fast. It takes plenty of convincing within the first episode of Indebted by Debbie and Stew to convince their son and daughter-in-law to allow them to stay.
“I play a mom and grandma,” Drescher said. “I think I’m breaking the stereotype of the typical character. Steven and I play a couple that’s madly in love, very sexy, very sexual, joyful and youthful people, making it a role reversal because our son is more of the parent than we are.
“There are a lot of ladies who are 60 and still feel hot and attractive, and they’re a force to be reckoned with. Even though they’re not children [they’re] older and may have children of their own, they have a lot more going than just that, and I don’t think that’s been represented. I’m excited that, at this age, I’m representing a character in a fresh, new, youthful, joyful, good-spirited way.”
So Drescher, in her first series since Happily Divorced (2011-13), attempts to do exactly that.
Dave is eventually convinced to let his parents live with him, even though he knows it means no more privacy for a couple whose children are just starting school. Unlike shows that portray an older couple intruding on their kin, Indebted is quite different, Drescher explained.
“Not everything is mean-spirited or people being obnoxious, where they’re a pain in the a*s,” she said. “The elders live with the main couple. Take King of Queens, for example. The father was obnoxious and he was just annoying. That’s a typical representation of the elder of the multi-generational family in sitcom. That’s not what we’re doing, and that’s fresh and appealing to me.”
Drescher’s accent often stands out in the show, portraying her just like she was in the The Nanny, a funny, Jewish New Yorker. Her chemistry with the cast is phenomenal, coming together naturally as the first few episodes progress.
And Jessy Hodges, who plays Dave’s sister Joanna, gets involved in the family drama as well.
Debbie and Stew have few boundaries, even though they don’t come across as necessarily annoying parents. At times, they try to be the parents for Dave and Rebecca’s children, making for some incredibly hysterical moments.
Indebted, which was created by Dan Levy and co-executive produced by Doug Robinson, Allison Greenspan and Andy Ackerman, was originally supposed to be called “Uninsured” when it was given the green light to go to pilot a year ago. But how did Drescher, who hasn’t been on a series in years, get involved in this one?
“I actually was about to go out and start pitching an idea of my own, which is normally the way I generate a series when I get excited about an idea,” she said. “Then, this fell in my lap. My manager called and said it’s a project that’s further along, it’s green-lighted to go to pilot, it’s NBC, it’s Sony, which is my parent company for The Nanny, and they said the character in the script can be described as Fran Drescher.”
Debbie did have to change a bit to fit Drescher’s persona, she explained. As the series began to roll out, her role evidently increased. She is seen as something different.
“I hope people fall in love with the family, want to come back and watch the show mature,” Drescher said. “It has all of the earmarks of a show that’s winning, starting with a cast that I think has great chemistry.”
Indebted airs every Thursday at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.