At first glance, You Me Her might seem like a salacious series you’d likely stumble upon while thumbing through the late night TV channels, but, you couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a show that explores the emotional webs we weave while being caught up in an unconventional situation. It not only dives head first into a three-way relationship, but provides realistic insight to those who might be unaware of what it actually means to have feelings for more than one person. A good dose of reality is exactly what DirecTV’s exclusive new show doles out, three heaping helpings, in fact! The out-of-the-box dramedy stars Greg Poehler (Jack), Rachel Blanchard (Emma) and Priscilla Faia (Izzy), and is one of the best new programs to emerge from the television scene in a long while. This show is so much more than boy-meets-girl-meets-girl, and implore you to obliterate those preconceived notions you might be having about some epic orgy void of substance. You Me Her is witty, heartfelt, relatable and should be on all of your ‘must-see’ lists.
Faia, who plays Izzy, the often complicated and commitment-phobe turned escort, was kind enough to have an in-depth chat with me about playing such an interesting role, and about the overall concept of You Me Her. We touched upon Izzy’s very real, and developing feelings for a married couple, troubles settling down with Andy, as well as opening up a healthy dialogue surrounding polyamory in the media.
Let’s get to it!
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Give us a quick run-down of Izzy, the character that you play on You Me Her.
PRISCILLA FAIA: Izzy is a Psychology grad student. She’s coerced into being an escort on the side, so she spends time with men and they help her pay for school. It’s not something that she ever thought she’d get involved with and she ends up meeting Jack, and he does this impulsive thing, and they end up hitting it off and falling for each other. Then he tells his wife, and she has some secrets of her own, and hires Izzy and they end up meeting and falling for each other. It kind of goes on from there, and that’s where this story starts essentially. That’s where we leave off in the pilot.
MM: Do you think that since Izzy is pretty much non-committal, this arrangement between Izzy, Emma and Jack seemed like such an enticing idea to her?
PF: Yeah, of course. I think subconsciously. She’s not a bad person, she’s not somebody who’s intentionally going out to ruin a marriage or do what may be thought as something intentional. She sees this opportunity to try something she had never tried before and I think we’ve all been there. I think we’ve all been in situations where we’re like ‘uh, is this what I really want?’ And here comes this opportunity that gives us what we want without the repercussions of having to commit because they’re already married. I think that that’s really something that selfishly is exciting for her. Because Andy, who’s played by Jarod Joseph, is essentially the ideal partner for her. He wants to be with her, he’s kind, he really cares about her. And it scares her. Because that could be something real, and I’m not saying that it couldn’t be real with a married couple, but there’s some complications there. There has to be some conversation, and I think that that’s what attracted her to it.
MM: Oh, yeah. And in terms of Andy… she keeps kind of bailing on him, and not really following through with what she’s saying to him. Do you think she genuinely cares about him, or that it’s just the idea of him is something that seems like a great idea, but she just can’t seem to commit?
PF: I think it’s a little bit of both. Andy is charming and kind, like I said, you see they have a great connection. I think that she does care about him, but I think her fears overrun her desire. I think that happens a lot, especially when you’re in your early 20’s figuring this all out. It’s really hard for you to be like ‘yes! I commit to you’ in this situation.
MM: Did you anticipate that so many of the viewers would be able to relate to Izzy? Have you been getting any feedback on social media?
PF: The feedback’s been incredible. Obviously as an actor, you always hope that your characters are relatable. But I don’t ever go into my work hoping that someone will be likeable, I mean, I really try to live in the truth of that character. So it’s always really nice to hear that people are like ‘I totally understand what you’re going through.’ I think that anyone who’s lived life has been in relationships, so everyone on this planet, understands what it’s like to want something and desire something and actually take the steps to going forward and doing that. They’re two very different things, we can desire a lot of things in our lives, but our fear sometimes overtakes our abilities to take those steps to actually follow through.
MM: After you signed on to do this project, did you have any reservations about how it would be received by the audience?
PF: To be honest, no. [Laughs] I didn’t have reservations. The only thing that I was worried about was how the women were being portrayed, and that worry was quickly dissipated when I read the whole show. Because when you hear about this show, it’s very easy to think of what it could be. The male gaze, typical threesome thing, and in fact it’s completely the opposite. The way that the story is told is from a unique perspective, I think that’s what really excited me about it. It was told from a more grounded approach where these characters are deeply flawed and they’re really just trying to figure things out. We were also lead by an amazing team, we had John Scott Shepherd, who wrote a grounded, funny, real script. And we also had Nisha Ganatra, who was directing us, who was very aware of what the subject matter was and was constantly trying to take it away from what the cliche could be. So we were lead by amazing people. So, to answer, the short answer would be no, I didn’t have any reservations. [Laughs]
MM: That’s good! And I think that’s why so many people are drawn to it. Coming into it you assume it’s going to be some raunchy show about a three-way, but it’s really not that at all. It has heart, it’s really smart and funny and it’s such an interesting concept. Has being on this show made you think about polyamory in a different way?
PF: Of course. Of course. I mean, to be honest polyamory was a new concept to me when we started this show. I didn’t know much about it, and I think a lot of people think that polyamory is like swinging. But swinging is more sexually oriented, if you read up on it. Whereas polyamory is very specific and it’s about feeling love for more than one person. So really it’s about creating this bond with more than one person while maintaining your primary partner. And that’s really interesting to me. Here’s the thing, we spend a lot of time pointing fingers at people and judging them for their choices and people like to get puffed up about stuff and in my eyes what people choose to do with their lives, in terms of their relationships, is completely their choice. And if they aren’t physically or emotionally hurting anyone they’re free to do whatever the hell makes them happy. You know? And if this type of relationships works for them, then do it. I say do it. As long as there’s respect and honesty in the relationship. I say do what works for you.
MM: That’s such a great thing to put out there. Do you think that You Me Her will help open the line of communication and foster some real conversations about non-traditional relationships?
PF: Absolutely, it already has. One of my favorite things about promoting this show and being out there is the response from people who have been watching it. In Austin, we premiered it at South by Southwest, and we had two people from the audience come up and talk about their experiences with polyamorous relationships and thanking us for putting something out there that was more realistic, as opposed to what people think that it is. It’s been really fun to have these conversations with people about the differences, and what it is to have a polyamorous relationship. And again, where we are, where the people have seen the show up until… we’re not in a box quite yet, in terms of our relationship. We’re still trying to figure that out as human beings, as the characters on the show. As you follow through with that, we’re going to figure it out, and I think that sometimes people are like ‘so what are you guys?’ You know what, we’re not there yet, and I think that’s what I really like about this is you’re really going along with these characters as they’re trying to figure it out within themselves. It’s not like you turn on the television and you’re watching a polyamory TV show. We’re really trying to figure this out together.
MM: At this point, we might be seeing it a little unbalanced, viewers have pointed out that Izzy and Emma have already been intimate and Jack and Izzy haven’t… yet, do you think that says something about the dynamic being a little unbalanced right now, but they’re still trying to work things out?
PF: Of course. I think that’s also a nod to taking away from the male gaze of this. I think that’s what makes this dynamic really interesting is that normally you would think ‘oh, the guy is going to be with two girls’ and it’s quite the opposite. What’s happening is that the girls are kind of leaning into this a little bit more and Jack’s a little bit going ‘okay, what’s happening here?’ I really love the idea that things are being turned on their head.
MM: Right, and I mean from certain people’s perspective it feels as if Izzy and Emma have fallen even more in love with each other than Izzy and Jack. Do you see that? Or do you think that things will unfold as we continue watching the season?
PF: Everyone’s going to see things unfold, like you said. Things take time when you’re building relationships with people. I think that for Izzy specifically, she’s never been with a woman before so this is very new. And I think that new things can be very exciting.
MM: Oh, of course!
PF: Right? I don’t want to give away too much, but, not to take away from her connection with Jack, because she definitely has a connection with Jack, but it’s just very different. And I think that when you watch it, you can really see the difference between the two.
MM: Oh, I totally agree with that. Since it’s a series exclusively on DirecTV, you guys have some freedom to be a little more raunchy and real, if you will. Do you like having that leeway?
PF: Oh, yeah. It’s so fun. It’s so fun to have room to explore. DirecTV, AT&T have been really incredible with us. Just the whole process of shooting the show was really intimate and I think that moving into where we’re at, in terms of where we’re at with television, it’s a really exciting time. I think that we’re putting out shows that are really real and uncomfortable to watch. Because we’re watching these really flawed characters being really honest with each other, and it’s just so exciting. I love that we get to be a part of the conversations that no one is supposed to see. With the swearing and all that stuff that nobody really wants to see but loves to see.
MM: Totally! Especially with the current times we’re in, where people are hyped on superhero shows and gore, and action, it’s nice to see something new. Do you think people are scared, or shocked to see something so real, and something that could hit close to home, perhaps, with the material and the people who are watching it?
PF: To be honest, I think that’s what makes it so exciting. I love superhero movies, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s necessary in our industry to have our heroes and those stories, feel good stories. One hundred percent. But I gotta tell ya, when you watch Catastrophe and Togetherness and all the shows that are coming out of all the great platforms like Hulu and Netflix and HBO, when you watch it you can really related to these characters, and I think that as human beings it feels really good to not feel alone in your struggles. Because we all struggle.
MM: I totally agree. Those are great shows, by the way.
PF: Aren’t they?
MM: I’m hooked on Catastrophe, it’s so good!
PF: That’s so funny, my girlfriend and I just binged the second season, and it was just so good.
MM: I’m pretty excited to see the rest of it, I’ve been slowly getting there. Obviously other things have been getting in the way [laughs] but it’s on my list of getting through to watching it.
MM: In terms of other platforms, on the other end, it being exclusive to one company, do you ever feel like it might not be reaching as many people as it potentially can?
PF: Absolutely, and I think that hopefully with time, I don’t know what their plan is, but hopefully with time there will be other outlets that you can watch the show on. I think right now DirecTV is pumping up some really great shows, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Kingdom that’s coming out. It’s incredible. They’re really working on their content so sooner than later, people are already starting to open their eyes and are like ‘wait a second, what about these shows?’ I think pretty soon they’ll be more widely available.
MM: Wonderful! We are looking forward to that, obviously we want more people to see it.
PF: Thank you!
MM: Pretend you were friends with your character, you weren’t in the escort business, but you knew what she was doing– how would you react to this arrangement with a married couple? Would you give her any advice?
PF: That’s a great question. It’s funny because when I walked into this show and playing Izzy, I was completely non-judgemental, obviously, going into my character because that’s what I always do, I never really judge my women. But afterwards when I got to decompress and really think about the things that she goes through, look, like I said, I don’t judge people by their choices, I think that because I’m older and I know what I want out of relationships I would definitely have some choice words for her. About the choices that she’s making [laughs]. I think that I’d be more on Nina’s [Melanie Papalia] side of ‘what are you doing?’ But then again, as you know, and I know, we have to go through things in order to have perspective of the choices that we make. So, we have to be on the other side to have any understanding of what we’ve done. We can’t see it when we’re in it.
You Me Her airs on Tuesdays at 9pm ET/PT on AUDIENCE – only on DIRECTV & UVerse