With the television landscape the way it has been for the last several years, actors and actresses have been cast in shows with all sorts of different standards depending on what channel the project they are in will air on. Traditional network TV has gotten a bit darker in recent years with shows like The Following and Hannibal, but creators have even more flexibility with content on cable channels and even more so on premium cable cables. For an actress like Eliza Coupe, who starred on ABC’s Happy Endings from 2011-2013, shifting to the courtroom comedy Benched on USA is a major change of pace. She spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the differences between network and cable TV content and what she likes about physical comedy.
On the differences she has seen from starring in Happy Endings on ABC to starring in Benched on USA, Coupe explains, “We have a lot more freedom. We can say ‘shit’ and we can say ‘fuck,’ and they won’t blur it or keep it out. There’s a lot more freedom. I don’t have to look so polished, which I love. There’s nothing wrong with that on network, but they just have to appeal to a broader audience. Everything looked really perfect on Happy Endings. I’m grateful I don’t have to look so perfect.”
As for the increased amount on physical comedy on Benched over her prior roles, Coupe is happy with it. She reveals, “I love doing physical comedy because I grew up watching Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges and Charlie Chaplin. That’s all my dad and I watched, and I absolutely loved it. People compare me to Lucille Ball just in that aspect, and I’ve never seen an episode of I Love Lucy. The only one I’ve seen is that one that Julia Roberts watches in Pretty Woman. My mother is a little bit like that, so maybe I got it from her. I just love it because I think it’s funny when people are clumsy out of nowhere.”