In just two seasons Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has won the praise of critics and fans alike. With sharp writing, great songs and appealing characters, this gem on The CW has given audiences a reason to stay home and watch television on Friday night. One of these appealing characters is Darryl Weatherfeather, the head of the law firm in which Rebecca Bunch works. In Season One Darryl, played by Pete Gardner, discovered that he was bisexual. But instead of keeping it a secret and hiding in the shadows, Darryl embraced this new founded discovery about himself. And even began a relationship.
I recently spoke with the actor behind Darryl, Pete Gardner. And I must say, like Darryl he is a delight. We talked about the show and the character of Darryl. Read on to learn more.
How was the character of Darryl first described to you?
“How was the character of Darryl first described to me? Well, the basic thing about Darryl that I remember, that I was first told is that Darryl is Rebecca’s boss. It’s a small time law firm. This high powered lawyer comes in and he’s so thankful she’s there. That was basically all that was described. It really didn’t go into too much detail. Then when I finally got the job, then they went into more detail about him being part Chippewa in the breakdown. It was just kinda those basic things. Then when I got the job, they were showing me the wall and my arc for the first season. Then in Episode 11, your character is going to be bisexual and I was like really. I was so excited because to me because so many times the boss can just be the silly boss. To find out that I was going to get a love interest or whatever was fantastic. Even when he gets things wrong or says things backwards, he always comes from a good place. He means the best. It’s such a fun office. From an actor’s point of view, there are so many talented people in our group. It’s just so much fun hanging around the set.”
Are there any changes you’ve made to the character from the way he was written?
“It’s so hard to say. I think that they really write to my strengths and so I feel like they hear me say stuff in the makeup trailer because Rachel is always sitting right there with us. She hears us talking and laughing and I think that she is consciously or subconsciously taking notes and that the fun things that we say in our real lives, she weaves that in the scripts. So I feel like Darryl and I…we may have started really far apart, but we’re getting closer and closer together (laughs). Like even simple things I normally do like when Darryl goes from person to person without getting any work done. Because I always want to talk with everybody and hang out with everybody so it really feels like they really do write to me, they’ve made it so similar. It has so much to do with casting, getting the right people. I’ve always felt that when people are auditioning for television shows things have to line up just right because you’re going to be doing it for years and years because if it’s too far of a stretch, you’re not going to be able to do that character for years and years.”
Would you like to see more of Darryl’s backstory explored?
“You know, it’s so not up to me and just really love whatever they send me. Darryl is so diverse in all the things that happen to him. Of course I like to go backwards and see where he came from. But they let me go so far and I get so many opportunities to do crazy things that I don’t feel that I need to go to the director. I’m like ‘bring it on’. Darryl did amphetamines, he’s bisexual, he was a pie judge. I just love it. They just throw whatever they can at me and I just run with it. If they go backwards, if they go forward, I’m totally fine with it. I love their creative lines. They use a little of my personality and just sprinkle it on whatever sort of scenario they need to help with the plot. I just love it.”
Darryl coming out as a bi-sexual man was unexpected to many fans I’ve spoken with. What response have you received from the LGBT Community regarding your portrayal?
“I haven’t really heard any negative feedback, but what I have heard back is that it wasn’t a one episode joke. They did it for five episodes and they did it little by little just like real relationships. It was really beautiful. It was a love story. It was just this great little love story of somebody caring for somebody who doesn’t seem to have anybody else. Rebecca was his friend. Paula was his friend. And he didn’t even realize that he could be in love with a man. The other thing that I thought was really great that I heard from a friend of mine who is bisexual is that they saw it coming and they were worried that it was going to be made into a joke because Darryl is really funny but that his sexuality was never a joke. It was never the punchline of an episode. Darryl is funny because Darryl is awkward. People were just so thankful that it was a genuine relationship. When Darryl comes out to his colleagues at work they all take it in stride. It’s not a big deal. Nobody judges him. He’s nervous but they just take it in stride and it’s beautiful. It’s really well done.”
What would you think of a story line where Whitefeather and Associates faced discrimination as a law firm because of Darryl’s sexuality?
“I don’t know. The thing is, even though it’s a hypothetical, given the talent of the people who are writing the show, I would love it. It would obviously be dealing with the issue. However they deal with the issue, it would be funny, it would be interesting, it would be awesome. Whatever our writers put out, I would embrace. For example, we did something to be considered for an Emmy nomination and we did the ‘Sexy Getting Ready’ song. I did it with Donna Lynne and Rachel. We were in our underwear in front of about five hundred people (laughs). When I first heard about the idea, I was like, really? But then we all did it and it was so much fun. It was a great time. It was the perfect thing to do and it showed how fun and crazy and how out there this show is. It just takes a little extra courage. It takes courage to do what Rachel and the writers do. So wherever the writers go, I wouldn’t have a problem.”
Are there any characters on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend you wish Darryl had more interaction with?
“You know, I think that the one character I would want to have more interaction with (because they don’t travel in the same circles) is Heather. Darryl has rarely interacted with Heather. I think he hung out with the guys because we had the show about having a few people come over, getting the party ready. So I hung out with all the guys. But I don’t think that I interacted with Heather all that much. It’s rare that Darryl goes over to home base so it would be fun to explore that. They may do that, who knows. I think we’ll be seeing more of Heather. Vella is such a great actress. Heather is such a funny character. I would love to play off that character.”
What do you like best about playing Darryl?
“I wanted to play a character like this forever: someone who strives to do things right but always comes up short (laughs). I love that because I believe everybody does this. We all strive for the best and come up a little bit short. I love that he embraces whatever he’s doing, like when he wears a funny outfit. We might think it’s funny (like when he wore that Christmas outfit), but it’s him going full out with his Christmas sweater. He comes up short, but that’s what’s great about him. I love that part of him. I love that he aims high but comes up short. It’s so much fun to play. Darryl over thinks things. And he under thinks things. He’s impulsive.”
Are there any other projects outside the show that you’re working on that you can share with our readers?
“Not at this time because it’s very difficult to do other work while we’re doing this so that will start up when the season is done. While the show is going on, it’s difficult to get other things done because people realize that you’re committed to the show.”
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is lucky to have the character of Darryl and to have found the perfect actor to play him in Pete Gardner!
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