Imaginary Maryis a new ABC sitcom starring Jenna Elfman as Alice, an independent woman who falls in love with a man with three kids. Suddenly, she finds herself stepping into the unexpected role of stepmother just as her imaginary childhood friend, Mary (voiced by Rachel Dratch), returns to help her deal with the sudden upheaval of her life.
In short, Imaginary Mary features large swaths of Alice talking to a furry creature that helps her figure out whatever crisis is going on at the moment that no one else around her can see. That's crazy, right? Apparently not so much according to the show's executive producers when asked about Alice's mental stability during their panel at the Television Critics Association winter previews on Tuesday.
"Ultimately, it's the metaphor of what's going on that's most important," said executive producer David Guarascio. "She is internally conflicted about being in this very new situation. She's a fish out of water, for lack of being able to put it another way. There's a lot to figure out. The same way that we all have an internal dialogue to try and navigate a situation, that's really what's going on here."
While many people may not be able to relate to Alice's specific predicament, the producers want fans to be able to relate to the idea of arguing with one's inner dialogue. The show doesn't want to forget that it is an ABC sitcom and alienate its audience by going darker than a family comedy normally would. So if Mary becomes too much for Alice to handle, don't expect the latter to be medicating her friend away.
"We want to keep it in a place where at the end of the day, Mary is a helpful presence in Alice's life. It's a good question, but it's not something we're looking to explore," Guarascio said.
Imaginary Mary premieres Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 8:30/7:30c on ABC before moving to its regular Thursday 9:30/8:30c time-slot on Jan. 30.