By Liam Dacko
The Summit staff got a taste of Hollywood Oct. 15 when singer/actor Joey McIntyre came to speak to reporters at a collegiate press conference.
The event, held at Northeastern University’s suburban campus in Dedham, Massachusetts, was hosted by the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA). The organization held the event to give student reporters the opportunity to gain experience covering a press conference.
The evening began with a screening of the upcoming CBS sitcom, “The McCarthys.” The show is about a sports-obsessed family from Boston. McIntyre, who is a member of the band ‘New Kids on the Block,’ stars as Gerard, one of the McCarthy sons. Also featured on the show are “Rescue Me” star Jack McGee, “Roseanne” actress Laurie Metcalfe, and New England comedian Jimmy Dunn.
Following the screening of the show’s first episode, which drew big laughs from the crowd, McIntyre arrived for a question and answer session. The college reporters were initially hesitant about asking McIntyre questions. After a NENPA staff member asked the first question, everybody else became more comfortable with talking to the celebrity.
McIntyre discussed the Bostonian influences featured in the show. Not all of the actors on the show tried to put on accents, he said.
“Nobody is trying to push anything. In Boston, fakers stick out like a sore thumb.”
McIntyre had nothing but praise for his fellow cast members. He said it is great to get to work with an actress like Laurie Metcalfe, who plays his character’s mother.
“Her work speaks for itself.”
He is also impressed with his co-star Tyler Ritter, son of “Three’s Company” actor John Ritter. On “The McCarthys,” Ritter plays the main character and gay son Ronny. McIntyre said Ritter has not been featured in many projects.
“This is his coming out party. No pun intended.”
Later this season, viewers should expect celebrities with Boston connections to appear on the show. In addition to a Boston sports figure, whose name McIntyre was not allowed to reveal, actor John Ratzenberger will serve as a guest star. Ratzenberger starred on the hit comedy “Cheers,” which was set in a Boston bar and ran for 11 years.
“To have TV royalty is pretty cool,” McIntyre said.
After the question and answer session, McIntyre granted the Summit staff a personal interview.
He said he is pleased with the way Boston is portrayed on the show.
“[Series creator] Brian Gallivan, who’s from Dedham, Massachusetts, is a Boston guy and has really hit the nail on the head. They’re doing a great job.”
McIntyre, a native of Needham, said there is a possibility the writers may one day draw upon his experiences living in this area.
“If we go longer and we’re lucky enough to keep going and have another couple of seasons, maybe ideas will come in. For right now, they have a great team of writers and they’re just coming up with great stuff. It feels good for us.”
McIntyre hopes the series goes as long as other sitcoms like “Cheers.” He believes the show has all the ingredients that make a sitcom successful, including great writing and chemistry between cast members.
“I’m biased,” he said. “But it’s really good. We’ve done eight episodes and I just think it’s a great combination of traditional family and a progressive dialogue.”
In the pilot episode, the show addresses topics such as homosexuality and single motherhood, adding a dash of humor along the way.
“We talk about current stuff,” McIntyre said. “We talk about what people are dealing with and how an older generation might react to that stuff. I think it’s a good mix that I haven’t seen on television much.”
McIntyre believes reception to the show’s unique brand of humor has been good so far.
“If you come to a live audience [taping], they’re dying,” he said.
The show’s multi-camera style has gone to the wayside in recent years in favor of such single-camera fare as “The Office.” Despite this, McIntyre said he thinks the show can still be successful.
“I still think there are enough shows on TV like “The Big Bang Theory,” like “Two and a Half Men” that have a studio audience.”
McIntyre said he personally favors multi-camera shows like “The McCarthys,” which was originally filmed as a single-camera comedy.
“I get the single-camera stuff and how popular that is, like “The Office.’ That’s not my bag. It’s never been my bag. I never thought that was funny. I think that’s a generational thing. I grew up on the live studio audience shows, like ‘Family Ties,’ ‘Cheers’ and ‘The Cosby Show.’ That might sound corny, but that’s what I like.”
McIntyre is not too worried about the potential criticism that comes with portraying a city like Boston. He recognizes some shows and movies go over the top with stereotypes, but he does not think that is the case with “The McCarthys.”
“To me, I don’t think it’s too heavy on the Boston thing,” he said. “I don’t believe it is. It’s not in an obvious Boston way. I think it really is specific in the way that these guys are very opinionated, have a chip on their shoulder. Especially [the character] Gerard, thinking he knows best and having a very strong opinion. That kind of thing to me is Boston, not the over-the-top stuff.”
“The McCarthys” premieres Oct. 30 at 9:30 p.m. on CBS.