The latest comedy series from ABC Family is Baby Daddy, a show that chronicles Bachelor Ben’s adventures and misadventures in parenting his baby girl, Emma, when his ex-girlfriend leaves her outside of his apartment door. When he decides to keep Emma and raise her himself, he knows that he won’t be alone – he’s got the help of his best friend, his brother, an old family friend and his mother at his side.
With a charming and talented cast including Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Tahj Mowry, Derek Theler, Chelsea Kane and Melissa Peterman and a pilot that brings just the right balance of funny and heartfelt moments, this is definitely a new series that you are going to want to keep your eye on when it premieres Wednesday, June 20 at 8:30 PM on ABC Family.
I had the chance to catch up with Melissa Peterman and Jean-Luc Bilodeau who play mother, Bonnie, and son, Ben, on the show where we got to chat about everything Baby Daddy! Check out what they had to share below!
The big premiere day is almost here! How are you both feeling as Wednesday gets closer and closer?
Jean-Luc: Stoked, very stoked!
Melissa: Really just excited! I want everyone else to like it as much as we do and you want people to watch it, so there’s sort of a nervous excitement. Also, I feel very proud. I’m proud of it and ready for everyone to take a look.
Jean-Luc: We’re very, very – we worked hard, you know, 10 episodes and I think the product that we have is really good. I think people are going to like it and I’m excited to see it grow, you know?
Definitely! I’ve seen the pilot and something I really think is great about the show is that there is a realness to the characters in that they aren’t these perfect people, they have some good and bad qualities to them, which really help round them out. So, what would you say are Ben and Bonnie’s best and worst characteristics, you know, the most endearing and the most troublesome?
Melissa: For Bonnie, I think the most troublesome is that she doesn’t have an editor, so she doesn’t put things the way she would have if she thought about them before they came out of her mouth. I think the good thing is at the end of the day, she absolutely loves her sons and she would die for them and kill for them. So, [laughs] she says these things out of love!
Jean-Luc: And Ben, I mean, Ben is still on the dating scene, even though he has a baby, and he gets into trouble sometimes with the girls. He’s trying to change as much as he can for the baby, but he still has to be a young guy and he’s still going out there and dating, which can be a tough characteristic sometimes, but he’s always trying to solve the problem, which is one of his best characteristics, for sure.
Well, good, both of those sound like they’re going to make for some good storylines at least!
Now, in the premiere, Ben finds out about how his mom feels about him raising Emma and then he decides to keep the baby anyway. How are we going to get to see that mother-son relationship change and grow now that Emma is going to stay around?
Melissa: Well the second episode, which I was really happy [with] how it turned out, because that is a big question! And certainly when your own mom is saying “there’s no way you can do this,” that’s not the biggest vote of confidence. But she’s doing this out of her own experience, going “you don’t know how hard it is.” But as the season evolves, she does witness her son growing up and taking steps to figure out what it takes to be a dad.
There’s a great scene in that second episode that I really am happy with how it turned out because I am a mom and the writers were really great about making sure we said these things. She does come to a beginning of understanding and support in that second episode, but I think they’ve played it out really well which is realistic. Like, my own parents… I’m a mom and they still tell me things and have input. They’re still your mom! They will always be your mom.
Jean-Luc: That’s exactly right! Ben’s kind of showing a new side. He’s growing up, I think he’s becoming more of a man, a stand-up guy. You know, he’s taking care of a baby and he’s only in his early 20’s. You know, you mature and I think your relationship with your parents gets even better as you grow older. You’re not getting in trouble as much, you’re getting more advice, you know?
Melissa: I think the problem was I liked having a job. [to Jean-Luc] My job was worrying about you. And when I don’t have that job, I feel like my character is at a loss and that’s when she starts to probably talk too much. [laughs]
Did you two have to do anything to help develop that mother-son relationship off-screen?
Melissa: It was pretty organic!
Jean-Luc: Yeah! I mean, the scripts every week help it out because we’re together, you know, 5 days a week.
Melissa: I mean, sometimes I like to drive him around and put him in the back seat and yell at him. I think that helps. [laughs]
Melissa: No, I think in general, all five of us, this entire cast, there was a really easy and organic natural chemistry. They all made me laugh from day one and that’s how you get to my heart, so I sort of fell in love with everyone relatively quickly.
Wonderful! And I have to ask because sometimes parents and their children’s love lives are the best scenarios to see play out. The whole Ben-Riley-Danny thing is great right from the pilot. Are we going to see Bonnie get into that at all? Meddle a little there?
Melissa: We haven’t seen in this first season meddling with that love triangle, I don’t even think she knows about it! She’s pretty oblivious, even though I should know! It’s pretty obvious Riley’s in love with you!
Melissa: No, Bonnie’s sort of out of that loop and I love the idea – I love seeing where that goes because, you know, Bonnie and Riley have this relationship where, at the end of the day, I really think my character would be thrilled –
Jean-Luc: Oh, of course!
Melissa: – because I think Riley is just as tough as Bonnie, but I don’t know about it yet! I’d say that Bonnie’s too selfish! She’s trying to date. [laughs]
Baby Daddy is a comedy, but I think the situation could pretty much serve for the premise of a drama series, too. And the show has a really wonderful balance of the funny, the serious and the combination of the two. I know we talked about the evolution of your characters’ relationship, but is there an aspect of your character or topic of the show that you’re especially looking forward to the viewers seeing or you were especially excited to tackle?
Jean-Luc: I’m excited to see where it goes! I mean, she’s a baby still, she’s so young, and I’m so excited to see how she grows up, you know what I mean? I don’t know! I’m not a parent and I don’t know what comes next and I’m really excited to see that happen. It’s Ben’s first child and I think there’s something really sweet about that. So I’m definitely excited just to see her grow up and following in those footsteps for sure.
Melissa: And I think exactly what you said is the secret formula. It is a comedy, so it has to be funny, it does absolutely have to be funny, but if you don’t have a heart to it, you don’t earn the laugh. And I’m very proud that they’re telling this story in a very real way, keeping the humor, but, you know, you earn those laughs when you have real moments of heart. And I think you will see that. It does continue through this whole first season. So, I think you’re going to like it!! [laughs]
Absolutely! Well, just to wrap things up, Ben and Bonnie and the whole crew have a lot of challenges ahead of them. If you could give a piece of advice to your characters, what would it be?
Jean-Luc: My advice to Ben would be as she grows up, as she starts walking and talking and stuff, I’d say let her make little mistakes and let her learn from them. That’s how my parents raised me and I think I’m going to carry that on to my kids, so definitely from Ben to Emma, let her grow up herself, but help her obviously along the way and pick her up when she falls.
Melissa: My advice to Bonnie would be you need to let go a little bit, let it go! And hydrate!
New Episodes of Baby Daddy air every Wednesday at 8:30 PM on ABC Family
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF ABC FAMILY