ABC Family’s new comedy series STATE OF GEORGIA takes viewers into the wacky world of Georgia and Jo, two best friends who have moved to New York City to pursue their dreams. Sharing in their zany adventures is Aunt Honey, who keeps a curious eye on her young tenants to see if she can share and offer advice to the young women embarking on their lives in the big city.
Majandra Delfino and Raven Symone
What can you say about your characters?
Majandra: I play Jo, and she’s an aspiring physicist who moves in with her best friend Georgia.
Raven: I play Georgia and I want to be an actress, and we move into my Aunt Honey’s apartment in New York — played by Loretta Devine — and I just want to be the most amazing actress in the world. So it’s a lovely little accident that happens. I honestly think that Georgia is in love with the thought of fame. But when she acts, it is just not quite there. So I think she is in love with that — which is definitely in touch with Generation X, since right now it is all about creating your own personal five minutes of fame. So living with her best friend and her aunt, it kind of shows what she goes through trying to make it out in the world.
Does the comedy derive from the scene choices?
Raven: There will be. Right now, we’re just getting up to speed since it is the beginning of the season. We’re solidifying the characters a lot more. Most of the time we’re trying to find an understanding between her, Jo and Honey and their different worlds.
Majandra: We’ll get into [Jo’s science world].
What kind of research did you need to do to portray a science geek?
Majandra: Well, there’s only so much research one can do. Some of the science is really confusing. I really didn’t research too much. I mean, right now she’s at a basic physics level. She just started her program, so it’s not too crazy.
So it has a BIG BANG THEORY-type humor to it?
Majandra: Definitely. In Jo’s world.
Do you feel more comfortable with drama or comedy?
Majandra: Well, I’ve worked on a lot of comedy. It feels like a very natural thing for me.
What do you love best about your character?
Raven: I love that she always brings her best. She isn’t tough. It’s about love. It’s not about trying to control the situation. She wants to get what she wants — out of love — but she doesn’t want to get there by herself. Like for Georgia, she’s like, ‘I want you to come with me. I want you to reach your goal. But mine’s first.’
Majandra: It’s very sweet. I like the dynamic between them. I just love their friendship. It’s my favorite part.
Because your characters are from Georgia, will they have southern accents?
Raven: I tried it in the pilot, but they didn’t want that. So, no. But in this part, it doesn’t need it.
Do you think multi-cam sitcoms are making a comeback?
Raven: I think maybe they are.
Majandra: I see a difference in the pilots right now. People want to have the sort of old school sitcom feeling that brings. So I really think it is coming back. They want to have that nostalgic feeling.
Raven: Disney really kept the multi-camera alive and that’s where I come from.
What is the message that you would want your fans to get out of the show?
Raven: Have fun. Follow your dreams and know that your friends and family are there for you.
What is it like working with Loretta Devine?
Raven: Heaven. She always sings!
Raven: She hums.
Majandra: She has such a pretty voice. . . She is so good. She is one of those people who crosses genres.
Would you want to sing with Loretta on the show?
Majandra: Can you talk to the writers and make that happen please?!
What can you share about your character, Aunt Honey?
Loretta: Honey is the landlord for the girls, Georgia and Jo, and it’s a little over the top. She is not sure what is going on upstairs. She comes down and treats Georgia like a daughter. She’s never had a daughter so she’s a little bit eccentric.
Are you having fun playing such a big comedic role?
Loretta: Yeah. It’s not what I’m usually called to do and I’m challenged because of that stuff. I’m also excited by it. And to work with Raven Symone.. I’ve seen her since she was a baby, and she was as wonderful as I thought she would be. And Majandra, she’s great. They’re both very talented. We’re able to use a physical comedy aspect as well. Some of the expressions they make are just unforgettable. So I love working with the both of them.
Does ABC like to keep you in the family, you were on ELI STONE and you have a recurring role on GREY’s ANATOMY?
Loretta: I don’t know if they are keeping me in the family or what because every job is so different. . . . This is so different than STONE or GREY’S. Comedy is a little harder, especially to play for the laughs. This show plays for a live audience, so I had to learn to make them laugh. So that’s a challenge.
Do you prefer drama or comedy?
Loretta: Both. I just like to work! You’re dealing with emotions, like whether their friendship is going to last and those kinds of things that young girls think about — so I think the show asks those specific kinds of questions. . . . In the pilot, Aunt Honey wants Georgia to keep her confidence up. She gives a long speech about how she can’t listen to anyone who tells her that she’s not good enough to do something and that gives Georgia the confidence to do the audition and she gets the part, so I think the show is a good show for young girls.
Do you every have trouble with any of the lines?
Loretta: If that happens — the writers are on set — so if something is not working, they will change it. But both girls are quick studies. If we are in the process of shooting, they change it up and go for it.
What is your character’s relation ship to Raven and Majandra’s characters?
Loretta: Raven plays my sister’s baby. I live in the apartment upstairs and she lives in the apartment downstairs. The downstairs apartment used to be my first husband’s and he used to be in there until he passed away. The second apartment that I live in upstairs is from my second husband got if for me when my first husband died. I keep my eye on all the apartments. She is that kind of character.
Are there moments of inadvertent comedy on the show?
Loretta: Yeah, that happens a lot. Some of the physical stuff that Raven does and some of the faces she makes some of the stuff that makes her scenes so funny, and when you don’t have an audience, you’re not sure how that works. But then as soon as the lights go on, boom! Everything is twice as good.
Do you get to sing on the show?
Loretta: So far, no. But I would love to!
Do you do a lot of physical comedy?
Loretta: The girls do, but so far I haven’t had a lot of physical comedy. They’ve been writing some great dialogue for me. Real funny dialogue.
How is it working with actors so much younger?
Loretta: You kind of mother hen a little bit. (laughs)
Be sure to tune in for the premiere of STATE OF GEORGIA and find out what the girls and Aunt Honey are really up to on Wednesday, June 29th at 8:30 p.m. on ABC Family Channel.
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