To paraphrase the Malachi Brothers, "Set the Christmas movies loose!" One of the first out of the gate this season is the USA Network comedy Three Wise Guys (premiering Dec. 10 at 9 pm/ET), in which casino owner Tom Arnold's gang of goons (Judd Nelson, Nicholas Turturro and Eddie McClintock) stumble across a pregnant beauty named Mary (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) on their way back from a hit, leading to twists of "biblical" proportions. Playing wife to Arnold is fellow sitcom vet Katey Sagal, who was more than jolly when she chatted with TVGuide.com about catching the holiday spirit, Lost opportunities and the surprise twist her career has taken.
TVGuide.com: Three Wise Guys has you playing Shirley, opposite Tom Arnold, whose character sics his flunkies on...
Katey Sagal: ...his accountant, who's been ripping him off. And while they're out finding him, they meet Mary and a love story ensues, hilarity follows. It's actually a very funny movie — the script was very well written, it's kind of a farce. [At the end] Shirley comes in and saves the day, as sort of the woman-behind-the-man. She keeps everybody in line.
TVGuide.com: Is it kind of an actor's "rite of passage" to do a holiday TV-movie at some point in his or her career?
Sagal: Oh, I've done a few! [Laughs] Actually this is my second; I did one last year [When Angels Came to Town] with Peter Falk, where I played an angel. And right after I did this one, I got offered another one, but I thought, "That's enough." [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Does it make you feel good inside when you do one?
Sagal: Yeah, it's really sweet to do these movies because they always have a corny-but-good message, and I like that. The hardest part of doing these Christmas movies, though, is you're doing it in like the middle of summer. There you are in warm clothes with the "snow" coming down, and you're in the middle of a desert.
TVGuide.com: What TV shows are you liking these days?
Sagal: OK, I love Grey's Anatomy. And Lost, of course, because now I've been on Lost — I hadn't watched it last year and now I'm all up to speed.
TVGuide.com: Did you run out and buy the DVD set?
Sagal: No, I watched that [Season 1] recap they played, and have watched it every week since. I thought [the recent episode with Ana Lucia's backstory] was awesome, did you watch it? Michelle Rodriguez was amazing — really, really good.
TVGuide.com: You had to figure they'd give her a good backstory after she killed little Shannon.
Sagal: Oh, I know. I swear, that show's like a roller-coaster ride! Every week I'm like, "Huh?" So I like Lost and Grey's Anatomy.... Oh, and I watch House, I think that's really great, too.
TVGuide.com: How did your Lost opportunity come about?
Sagal: It was really great. They called and asked if I would come in and read for this part [Locke's old flame, Helen]. They actually asked if I would also read for another part, but for that one I'd have to move to Hawaii! [Laughs] I thought, "Oh, geez.... " But I can't do that. So I read for this part and got it.
TVGuide.com: It's always interesting to see who they go with for the flashback roles.
Sagal: Well, I'm definitely an offbeat choice. But I thought that was cool, because most people think of me so much as a comedic actress, which is great, but I can do other stuff, too. So that was a good opportunity for me.
TVGuide.com: Plus, now that we've established Helen, you could pop up again in a different part of Locke's backstory.
Sagal: They have insinuated that. But they have so many people to service on that show.... I don't know how it works.
TVGuide.com: Well, it's not quite as — I can't believe I'm saying this — "sweet." It's a bit harsher at times.
Sagal: Oh, really... it's so interesting, because one of the reasons I thought Married... with Children worked so well is because it really straddled that "nice" thing well.
TVGuide.com: Have you seen your "daughter," Christina Applegate, in Sweet Charity yet?
Sagal: No. I was supposed to go to the opening, and then Three Wise Guys came up. I'm actually going to New York [to see] The Color Purple, so I may try to see Sweet Charity, too, if I have time.
TVGuide.com: Is it true there may be a feature film of Futurama, for which you voice Leela?
Sagal: Oh, I hope so. I love Futurama. Last I heard, they were going to maybe do some more releases on DVD. There are always rumors about a movie, but I haven't gotten a phone call yet.
TVGuide.com: What can you tell me about the indie I'm Reed Fish?
Sagal: I think they just finished putting the movie together, and they'll probably take it to festivals. It was a very low-budget independent, but they got a lot of good people involved because the script was so good. I love that little Jay Baruchel — I think he's a movie star. And Alexis Bledel, D.J. Qualls...
TVGuide.com: D.J., another Lost flashbacker!
Sagal: Yeah! He was there the week after I was.
TVGuide.com: What's your role in I'm Reed Fish?
Sagal: Reed Fish is a radio disc jockey in a very small town, and I play the mayor. It's a very sweet character story.
TVGuide.com: Lastly, as the daughter of TV director Boris Sagal and goddaughter of sitcom king Norman Lear, did you feel pressured to do well in "the family business"?
Sagal: In a weird way it never felt like pressure but more like, "Oh, this is what I'm going to do." My father really wanted me to be an actor, but I was going to be a singer, so I said, "No, I'm not going to be an actor." As it would happen, it worked out more in his favor!