I play Don Fenton on ABC's new comedy Sons & Daughters [premiering Tuesday, March 7, at 9 pm/ET]. Hopefully this blog will be even more exciting, dynamic and handsome than Don Fenton is, if that's possible.
Frankly, I've never heard of a blog being described as "handsome," but that's all changed now: We've entered a new era of blogging. This handsome and charismatic blog might just change the way you look at yourselves, and at television. If I can make a difference in one person's life... just one person's... well, it won't be enough.
Now, about Sons and Daughters. The central figure of the show is Cameron Walker, played by Fred Goss. I play his brother-in-law. Fred is also one of the executive producers, and he directs many of the episodes. He also writes for the show and helps guide the editing. If Monique, the wonderful French woman who is in charge of our craft services would let him, he would also make lunch for the cast and crew every day and do it using a flawless French accent. In other words, Fred does it all. And he does it all without complaining. Maybe he complains to himself, when no one's around. I can't be sure.
Sometimes when I'm getting ready to drive to the set to work, Fred will call and ask what I'm planning to wear. He'll usually talk me out of my first choice, so the green shirt with the stripes that I just ironed goes back in my closet and I put on the blue one. At that point, Fred's creative partner on the show, Nick Holly, will call me on my cell as I'm heading out the door to get in my car: "Lambert, Nick Holly. Hey, just want to get a rough idea of the shirt you're going to be wearing today. I really love that green shirt, the one with the stripes." Now I'm absolutely steaming. This isn't my wardrobe for the show, mind you; it's just the shirt I'm wearing to the studio that day. Some mornings they grill me about what route I'll be driving, or if I've changed my oil lately. It's just unbearable.
So as I was saying, I play Don Fenton, who runs Fenton Auto Parts, also known as "FAP." "What's Fappenin?" became a catchphrase on the set. Personally, I feel America will embrace it like the Macarena and make it their own. On the show, I'm married to Sharon, played by the quirky, talented and adorable Alison Quinn. Cameron is married to Liz (the fabulous Gillian Vigman).
There are a lot of hot women on this show. The men do their best to look good, but for some of us it takes pounds of makeup and hair products every morning. You'd think the men were playing Vulcans on Star Trek, the process takes so long in makeup and hair. I'm kidding. Once they glue my ears on and put a little powder on me, I'm usually good to go.
There are 16 cast members on Sons & Daughters, and frankly, at the beginning, it was hard to keep all the names straight. It was downright confusing learning real names and character names. Not to mention the crew. A lot of mornings were spent saying "Good morning, youuuuuuu!" or "Hiya, Frank!" only to get the sullen reply, "My name is Bob." I felt pretty bad for a few seconds, then reached for a deviled egg and got over it.
One of the reasons I really love our show is the age range of the cast. We have kids, stepsisters, stepparents, grandparents and even a great-aunt or two. Spouses and cousins and boyfriends... the American family is definitely represented. It's an extremely talented cast don't worry, I'm not going to name them all. I just don't feel that I should have to mention Amanda Walsh, Desmond Harrington, Greg Pitts, Eden Sher, Randy Wayne, Trevor Einhorn, Lois Hall, Noah Mathews, Lexi Jourden, Nick Schafer, Fred Goss, Gillian Vigman, Alison Quinn, Dee Wallace or Max Gail. After all, it's my blog.
Each episode was shot over a four-day period. After the writers develop a story outline and some key lines of necessary dialogue, it's up to the actors to improvise much of the scene. We shoot it without a studio audience, and, as you'll see, there isn't a laugh track. As an actor, it doesn't get much better than this it's like walking a tightrope. Even when you didn't know where the other actors were taking you, you just had to trust them.
Writers are always on set, ready to give dialogue to the actors when needed. Or a sandwich. We, in turn, give them massages with warm oil. It all makes for a happy and relaxing place to work.
The first episode is "Anniversary Party," written by Fred and Nick and directed by Fred. (See what I mean?) It's about trying to keep a secret, and failing miserably. I think we've all been there. Cameron throws a 25th-anniversary party for his mother, Colleen (Dee Wallace), and stepfather, Wendal (Max Gail), which threatens to be a disaster when Wendal confides to Cameron that he's thinking of leaving Colleen. Alison tackles me at one point on our front lawn, and it is a thing of beauty. She tackled me like she was channeling Ray Lewis of the Ravens. I was a gazelle and she was a lioness.
The second episode, which immediately follows the pilot, is called "Bowling Night," and just for a change of pace, was written by Fred and Nick, and directed by, um... Fred. In this episode, Colleen learns of Wendal's plan to leave her, and, after discovering that everyone in the family knew but her, confronts them at their traditional bowling night. The Fourth of July cannot match Colleen's fireworks in this episode. In this episode you'll also see Don preparing to take on a new role with his community theater group.
ABC plans to air Sons & Daughters for six weeks, two episodes back-to-back every Tuesday night. Next week, I'll talk about our next two episodes.... Stay tuned!