Lisa Kudrow’s “Web Therapy” returns to the Showtime lineup July 2 for its second season — with a story arc in which Kip (Victor Garber), the closeted gay Republican husband of Lisa’s self-absorbed therapist character, Fiona, is running for congress. Kip has gone through “reparative” therapy via a consultant — Meryl Streep — brought in by his political handlers. If it all sounds particularly pointed in this election year, well, part of that is a coincidence, according to Lisa.
“We shot this so long ago, we didn’t know when Showtime was going to put it on,” she tells us. “We didn’t know about Michelle Bachmann’s husband when we shot this,” she adds, referring to the congresswoman who formerly had a bid in for the Republican nomination — and whose therapist husband, Marcus, last year denied media reports that his clinic practiced the controversial “reparative” therapy meant to turn gay people straight.
Streep shot her prescient episodes in 2010, in fact. As Lisa acknowledges, “The timing is remarkable.”
This coming season of the decidedly offbeat, mostly improvised show — in which Fiona conducts three-minute therapy sessions online via iChat — also features names including Conan O’Brien, Selma Blair, Minnie Driver, Molly Shannon, Alan Cumming, Lily Tomlin, and Lisa’s former “Friends” cast mate, David Schwimmer
His “Web Therapy” character might stun “Friends” fans, since he is different from the lovable Ross Geller — “very different,” stresses Lisa. “He got so dark. When Schwimmer makes a choice and a commitment, he goes all the way.”
She hopes “we’ll meet Fiona’s father.” That would be the previously mentioned Christopher Walken? Is he going to do that show? “No,” she replies. Then adds, “I’ll ask again. Doing the Meryl Streep [episodes], I said I’d look more like Christopher Walken if he was my father. It just came out.” But her on-camera dad doesn’t have to be Walken. As Lisa points out, “We have a long list of people who want to do the show that would really be fun.”
But first, Lisa is busy prepping the Season 2 episodes — which began life on the web — for their Showtime showing. The first season of “Web Therapy” is just out on DVD.
She has other projects in the works — a possible role in a big screen ensemble comedy, another film she might produce. On the personal side, her son is now getting pretty grown up.
“Yeah, that’s working out well,” she says lightly. “He’s 14 and fantastic.”
Any chance he’ll go into show business?
“There’s a chance, yeah. He does acting and improv and all that stuff. But he might become a filmmaker. He has a weird gift. He knows how to shoot for exactly how he plans to edit.”
THE PLAY’S THE THING: Renowned playwright Josefina Lopez has been fielding inquiries about her Trio Los Machos comedic play with music that’s been winning kudos in its premiere engagement at East L.A.’s Casa 0101 Theater.
“We’re considering making it into a film,” she tells us. Her “Real Women Have Curves” certainly became a success onscreen, and helped launch America Ferrara into stardom.
Trio Los Machos has to do with three old Latino musicians, together for 50-some years, who first came to the U.S. as braceros, then made it big with their hit songs. Lopez tells us she happened to be receiving an award at Los Angeles’ City Hall one day when 100 former braceros were there as part of a class action suit against the U.S. government for promised wages never paid them. Their stories captured her interest, especially since her own father was a bracero – a “guest worker” brought from Mexico to work in the United States during World War II. Though he never spoke of his experience during her youth, when she talked to him about it later, it was heartbreaking “to hear the sadness in his voice as he talked about the humiliation he went through, being taken in the nude to be disinfected, being mistreated.”
Interestingly, Lopez chose to tell that story within the context of a comedy. “I don’t like to write tragic drama,” she explains. “People don’t come.” Amid the humor, she says, she strives “to give characters dignity and show them trying their best.”
Making plans for a “Trio Los Machos’ movie will have to wait. Lopez has actually just started work on another movie – “Detained in the Desert” – that tackles “anti-immigrant laws. Talk about being extremely timely! It’s another project I’m passionate about,” she says. Trio Los Machos runs ‘til July 8.
HELL-O: Just in time for summer travel fun, Fox has decided to foist Gordon Ramsay’s “Hotel Hell” upon viewers with a two-night series premiere Aug. 13 and 14. You may recall Ramsay talking about the disgusting things found in hotels — the icky realities of substances left behind that are revealed in black light searches of honeymoon suites, etc. Here is a man used to the most luxurious of places, showing us bed bugs. Does he feel like a split personality between his five star lifestyle and…this? “Oh, I never get carried away,” he replies. “I’m from a very humble background and a normal upbringing, so I’m very appreciative of everything I’ve worked for.” That, he adds, makes him especially “frustrated to see what hotels charge and what they don’t offer.”