Taylor Spreitler plays Lennox, Melissa’s rebellious niece on ABC Family’s new hit sitcom ‘Melissa and Joey.’ The sixteen year old Mississippi native is already a television veteran. Soap fans know her as ‘Days of Our Lives‘ teen mother Mia. She seems to be living a charmed life. When her character was written off the show, she promptly landed a starring role on what has turned out to be the summer’s hottest comedy. (Apparently the time was ripe for a ‘Who’s The Boss?’ remake.) Spreitler shared what it’s like being a teen star on a show headlined by two former teen stars, Joey Lawrence and Melissa Joan Hart.
Why is Lennox such a brat?
Lennox is a brat because her mom’s in jail and her dad’s on the run. She got ditched by her family. She’s trying to deal with her party girl aunt and living with a nanny and them all of a sudden being parental figures. She’s always been a rebellious teenager. She’s very smart, and very quick witted. But now it’s showing up more because she’s angry and she doesn’t have anybody to tell her no until Joey comes into the picture. He’s the grown up in the situation.
What’s coming up for Lennox?
In the next episode, she’s dating a bad boy and then Mel tells her she can’t. She finds out that Mel is actually dating a bad boy too. A lot of stuff we do is we catch each other doing stuff but it’s always like, ‘Don’t tell Joe.’ It’s one thing that’s kind of apparent in the situation.
You left ‘Days of Our Lives’ and almost immediately got this role. How did it happen so fast?
I found out I was getting let go from Days. This was the first thing that I auditioned for. I found out ten days after I filmed my last episode so luckily I was only out of work for a week. So that was nice.
When you read the script, did you realize it was going to be a hit?
I kind of thought it was because of everybody who was behind it and who it was going to be starring. But we were all really happy when we found out how big it actually was.
Why do you think the show has struck a chord with audiences?
We deal with pretty serious issues, but somehow we make them funny.
What are Melissa and Joey like behind the scenes?
Kind of like the dynamic of their characters. Melissa will sit there and say something inappropriate sometimes and Joey’s standing right behind her like,’Hey. They’re kids.’ Melissa’s very in touch with her teenage side. It’s a fun group to work with.
Check out Fancast’s interview with Melissa and Joey:
What’s it like taping in front of a live audience?
It’s insane. The adrenaline rush that you get, in a way it’s kind of scary. I had no experience with it whatsoever. But it’s fun. It definitely gets easier as time goes on.
Is it one of those situations where the writers will make up a new joke on the fly if the audience does not laugh?
Our writers are absolutely amazing. Our jokes are usually pretty funny. We have people who laugh. By the third take, they’ve heard it a few times. Then they’ll come in and say, ‘Maybe this is funnier.’ But I don’t think there’s been a time where a big joke’s completely fell flat. Sometimes they’re too controversial and we’ll have ABC Family say, ‘Why don’t we try a toned down version?’… That’s the best feeling, when you’ve said a joke all week and you’ve heard it come out of your mouth so many times, and then the audience finds it funny.
You’re so young. Were you familiar with Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence’s earlier shows like ‘Blossom’ and ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’ before you joined the show?
I actually have ‘Clarissa Explains It All‘ on my Itunes. I watched ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch.’ It’s funny though. Some Wednesday mornings I’ll watch Sabrina because it airs [on ABC Family] and I’ll have the TV on that channel because our show airs Tuesday nights. ‘Blossom‘ I watched a little bit growing up but I was more familiar with Joey’s music. It’s so funny to see them in the 90s versus now. They’re not what you would really expect them to be like.
Melissa became famous at a young age. Do you consider her a role model in terms of having a long term acting career and moving into producing?
Definitely. Honestly, I’ve been very blessed and lucky to have people that I work with that I look up to. [Melissa and Joey] have such longevity. They were child actors. Now they’re back and the show took off. That’s what every actor wants, especially when you start off young.
Do they come to you for information about being a teen today?
We’ve definitely had some talks, especially when [the crew] had to set up something it’s always like, ‘So, what do teenagers your age do?’ Nick Robinson [who plays my brother] is actually a lot like Joey and Melissa and I are have a lot in common.
What do you like doing better, comedy or drama?
I can’t choose. There are parts of drama that I love, getting to do something outside of my comfort zone. I’m not a very dramatic person. I like both. I’m glad I got to experience both at a young age. I didn’t get stuck in one genre. I’ve been working for two years and I’ve already gotten to do the comedy and the drama.
Would you like to guest star in some of the ABC Family dramas like ‘Pretty Little Liars‘ or ‘Make It or Break It‘?
Yeah. I think it would be cool especially because a lot of the people from those shows, we’re really good friends. We all see each other out and now we’re all on the same network. We all got know each other before we were working actors.