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Jesse McCartney talks 'Young & Hungry' and why he loves comedy

Jesse McCartney is one of the most beautiful souls in Hollywood, and thankfully for all of us, he isn’t leavin‘ any time soon. (Sorry …)

Singer-actor McCartney is now starring as Cooper on ABC Family’s Young & Hungry, where he plays the love interest to Gabi (Emily Osment). McCartney spoke exclusively with the EW Community earlier this week to talk about the upcoming season, his character, and what he likes about doing a comedy.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY COMMUNITY: Season two starts Wednesday. What can you tell us about the premiere and the upcoming season?

JESSE MCCARTNEY: I think the big thing is we left last season with a cliffhanger. The fans see Josh on the balcony, Pretty Woman–style, with a bouquet of roses, ready to confess his love to Gabi. Meanwhile, she and I are about to start this budding relationship, and it’s that quintessential love triangle. I think the fans are in for some good, juicy drama, even in a 30-minute comedy.

The love triangle is the central plot in the story. So why should she pick Cooper?

Why? Because Cooper’s the best. Cooper is a way better choice than Josh, and I think the fans would agree. (Laughing.) No, I think there’s a lot of things to say about Josh, and I think it’s a tough decision for her. I think that’s something a lot of the girls can associate with. Any girl who’s been in a sort of love triangle with two really close friends can know what it’s like. Josh is this big, successful computer programmer and has this huge, successful company, and he’s this really sweet guy. And here’s Cooper, who is this up-and-coming guy who has this big career in front of him. He’s kind of goofy and nerdy and he always puts his foot in his mouth, which is something Gabi can relate to. They get along really well, and there’s something to say for both of us. It’s just one of those really tough decisions she has to make. For each episode, you see these moments she has where you can see the struggle is really hard for her.

You play a lot of the cool-guy characters, but Cooper is really different. What’s it like playing someone so different from what you’re used to?

It’s a lot of fun. In the past I played a lot of those confident, winning roles where the character doesn’t really have to try that much, and in this situation Cooper is always trying to find a way to impress the girl and he doesn’t really have the words. He’s not really good with women. He’s a computer guy, and this is his first possible relationship, so he’s very excited. I haven’t done comedy in a really long time, so for me it’s been quite a challenge and really rewarding—especially with a live audience, getting to hear the laughs when you land a joke. It’s a lot of fun. And playing a character with eyeglasses and the goofy, nerdy kid—I don’t think a lot of people expected that. It’s been a lot of fun for me, especially working with Jonathan (Sadowski) and Emily (Osment), two people I admire very much as actors and as friends. It makes it a lot more fun on set, having that rapport.

Do you prefer comedy to drama?

That’s a good question. I’m a drama guy through and through. I’ve always been into the dark dramas. As a kid, my favorite movies were like The Basketball Diaries and Requiem for a Dream, a lot of dark films. Those movies were sort of a blueprint for me in terms of acting, and really what made me want to become an actor. It wasn’t until I became older, maybe in the last four or five years, that I really started having a taste for comedy, and frankly, I didn’t think I was that funny. I didn’t think it was a strength of mine. Then I started doing more of it and I got on set and people said, “Yeah, man, you can do this. You make people laugh.” So now I’m just all about comedy, and I love it. I do think it’s a lot more challenging. I think drama comes a little easier to me than comedy, but I love that. I love the challenge, and I have to say the writers make it really easy because the jokes are there; you just kind of have to deliver them. The writing is great. For an ABC Family show, the heaviness of it and the fact that they push the envelope is a pretty cool thing. When people think ABC Family, they think more lighthearted stuff. It is, but they’ve found a way to really expand the audience and push that envelope. Comedy is something that I’m all about right now.

So you said you’re close with your castmates. What’s it like on set?

You have such an hysterical cast. Kym Whitley is just constantly on, always cracking jokes on set. Jonathan and I are like brothers in real life. He’s literally my next-door neighbor, and we’ve been friends in real life for a really long time—since Chernobyl Diaries a few years ago. And Emily I worked with when she was like 12, back in the Hannah Montana days. We all have a sort of history together. And I think it really comes across on screen. On set, there’s always some sort of prank happening. Josh came up and pantsed me one time on set in the middle of rehearsal. We were all in pajamas that morning. It was really early. It’s just a really lighthearted, fun set. Everyone gets along, and it really makes for having a good time at work.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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