When I first saw Alison Brie on NBC's comedy pilot Community alongside Joel McHale, I thought, "Good for her!" And then I had a second thought: "But wait . . . what about Trudy?" Brie also plays Trudy Campbell on Mad Men, and I was worried this new role spelled the end for Trudy. Luckily, I caught up with Brie at NBC's TCA day, and she put my fears to rest:
- On balancing Community with Mad Men: " There were lots of phone calls made from one to the other, and luckily people have so much respect for Mad Men — it's like an institution — and for Matt Weiner that it didn't take too many phone calls for them to go ahead and OK me for a good portion of this season. Obviously my stuff on Mad Men this season is a little lighter because my first priority is Community, but because we started shooting that season a couple of months before Community started, I had some good time to get through and now we're still managing the popping back and forth for both."
- On similarities between her characters: "I think their biggest similarity is that they strive for perfection. Trudy really has her ideas about marriage and what it should be and she really wants things to be perfect in that way. And Annie has her ideas about college and studying and what that should be, so in that respect they're the same. Trudy's much more fashionable, and . . . we've had a few seasons to see her grow and develop as a character. With Annie I can't wait to see the depth."
- On whether she prefers drama or comedy: "I've flip-flopped on both throughout my career. When I was in college and growing up I was like, 'It's comedy for me! I'm so funny!' Yikes. Then when I started acting, right away it was drama, and with Mad Men it's my first success in television and obviously it's a heavy drama. What I like about it is, [drama and comedy] both appeal to both sides of me. Obviously to work on a drama you couldn't ask for a better lineup than Mad Men, and that appeals to my artistic side and the depth and there's so much under the surface. And [Community] just appeals to — it's just so much fun. It's like a child goofing off. It's like my class clown days in elementary school coming back."
Unfortunately, I couldn't get Brie to drop any hints about the state of the Campbells' marriage, but for a bit more of what she did have to say, read more.
- On meeting Joel McHale: " I was nervous to meet Joel. I love Joel. I watch The Soup all the time. He's hilarious, and he's also a cutie pie. I got in the van [on set], and Joel got in the van, and I thought 'Ohhhh.' I was nervous. I didn't want to say hi first, and he turned around and was just like, 'Hey, I'm Joel. I'm a big fan of you and the show.' And I was like, 'We're gonna be friends.'
- On traveling between New York and LA to shoot: "On more than one occasion, in the same day, I've gone from a photo shoot with Community to shooting Mad Men to shooting Community to, the night before last, going to the Mad Men premiere — so it's such a funny thing, but there's no way I'm ever going to get [the characters] mixed up because they're so different physically. So it's so funny when I'm leaving one place and going to the other — they're like, 'What? That's not how we know you!'"
- On becoming Trudy vs. becoming Annie: "Mad Men, I'm in the hair and makeup chair for two hours. Here, they use a flat iron for 10 minutes and I'm done."