You loved her as Mrs. Landingham (so much so that you mourned her First Secretary's sudden death), and adored her as Old Lady God on Joan of Arcadia. These days, Kathryn Joosten is hanging with the Desperate Housewives (Sundays at 9 pm on ABC), even grabbing some gold for her portrayal of the sometimes-cranky, other times gossipy Karen McCluskey. TVGuide.com chatted with the Emmy-caliber character actress about what's ahead for Wisteria Lane, and how much she misses the Oval Office.
TVGuide.com: I was thinking recently how cool it was to see
Mrs. McCluskey hanging out on the porch, shooting the breeze with the other Housewives....
Kathryn Joosten: Yes, wasn't that fun?! Dishing the dirt a little bit.... [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Did you have any faith, back when you made your first appearance in February 2005, that she might be a keeper?
Joosten: No. It wasn’t until my second episode, I think, that it began to occur to me that this lady had some legs. And I was delighted, of course! What a fun character.
TVGuide.com: And I'm sure the Emmy win was a pleasant surprise, too.
Joosten: Oh, wasn't that a sweet deal.
TVGuide.com: Did you and Felicity Huffman go out to lunch at The Ivy afterward, to celebrate your wins that year?
Joosten: You know, I didn't even know about The Ivy until this year. As a matter of fact, it was some friends of mine coming in from Chicago who said, "Let's go to lunch at The Ivy!" And I said, "OK, what is it?" Subsequently, I pulled a "Hollywood," and I took my agent to lunch there. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: I understand that in this week's Housewives, Mrs. McCluskey uncovers some dirt about one of the neighbors?
Joosten: I don't uncover it so much as "spread the news." Yeah, I'm helpful in alerting the community.
TVGuide.com: Does this have to do with the new guy and what Lynette saw in his basement?
Joosten: Very possibly, yeah!
TVGuide.com: Is this the sort of tattling that might ultimately find her pushing up daisies?
Joosten: [Gasps] Who, Mrs. McCluskey? No! I got a promise from [series creator] Marc [Cherry] that he wouldn't kill me off.
TVGuide.com: Well that's nice. Did you get it in writing?
Joosten: No. [Laughs] Dumb!
TVGuide.com: Which of the Housewives do you think Mrs. McCluskey was like, back in her heyday?
Joosten: Oh, she was probably closer to Lynette than any of them. Lynette's a very practical kind of gal, and I think Karen was, too. She's not so much a nasty lady as somebody who really operates aggressively out of loneliness.
TVGuide.com: And it's not that she hates kids....
Joosten: No, she likes kids. She just doesn't think that anybody else is raising them right! I can attest to that. Ask my own kids how I feel about how they're raising my grandkids. [Laughs] I offer them lots of suggestions.
TVGuide.com: Which of Wisteria Lane's resident hunks do you think Mrs. McCluskey would most like to "borrow a cup of sugar" from?
Joosten: Oh, Carlos! He's the dangerous one, c'mon!
TVGuide.com: Might we ever see her with a gentleman caller — preferably one who hasn't killed a few wives in the past?
Joosten: I don't know that that's going to happen. Strange as it may seem, they don't ask me what I think — though I'm ready to offer all sorts of opinions!
TVGuide.com: Yeah, I guess on Joan you really only got to work with...
Joosten: Amber [Tamblyn, Joan]. She is a charming, delightful gal, but she's a youngster. On West Wing they were more [like] contemporaries.
TVGuide.com: What was your all-time least-enjoyable acting gig?
Joosten: Oh, golly... there was one, I can't remember the name of it, and I'm not going to name names, but it was with a stand-up comedian who, uh, had a different work ethic than I had. It drove me crazy. I almost took up smoking again on that one!
TVGuide.com: How bad was your habit back in the day?
Joosten: I have to tell you, this is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and I am a lung-cancer survivor of five years! Nothing like a little cancer to get you off the weed.
TVGuide.com: Congratulations on that! Do you have anything else coming up, acting-wise?
Joosten: I'm shooting a commercial for V8....
TVGuide.com: Is it still, "I coulda had a V8"?
Joosten: I think it's now, "You should have had a V8." And I'm going to be guest-starring on [the ABC mid-season comedy] In Case of Emergency, playing a former school-cafeteria lady. I have a friend, Wendy Worthington, who's played about six of them. [Laughs] I'll have to tell her that I get to be one now.
TVGuide.com: You should ask her for tips on how to cinch the hairnet and everything.
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