Emmy Roundtable: TV's Funny Ladies on Farts, Fame and Twitter Fury
THR: Laura, as co-creator of Enlightened, did you know from the outset that you wanted it on HBO? It's a very dark comedy.
Dern: Yes. I presumed the world was excited to see strong, hilarious women on television. And how exciting a place to work is HBO. Tony Soprano and Larry David can be flawed, and we still love them. But when I started doing press, [the questions were] really eye-opening: "Wow, the character of Amy is really angry." I had never had those conversations about an independent movie I'd been in.
Deschanel: When you did press, had you shot your full season?
Dern: We had.
Deschanel: That's the cool thing about cable because when we were doing press for our show, we'd only shot the pilot. So I'm like, "My character is this and this … actually, I don't know yet!"
Plimpton: Women have the added pressure of representing every woman, no matter what character they're playing.
Deschanel: It's like, is "flawed" unlikable?
Bowen: My therapist and I talk about this all the time. (Laughter.)
Applegate: Angry is hilarious!
Louis-Dreyfus: When I started to do press for Veep, I didn't consider these questions, and that was stupid of me. People started talking about, "Oh a female vice president!" And I'm just trying to make a funny-as-shit show. But I'm being asked questions as if I were running for office.
Deschanel: There is always an angle. For us, it's like,"You're setting feminism back because you like to wear dresses!"
Dern: I met with male journalists ages 30 to 65 from various newspapers who said: "I feel so much like Amy. I totally relate to this character." A majority of the times I had difficult questions like: "Why is she so angry? Do you think people are going to like her?" was with female journalists.
Bowen: I get questions like: "You're a mom on Modern Family; you're a mom at home. Is that exactly the same, or is it different?"
Applegate: I get, "Are you really up all night?" (Laughter.) God bless the people that have asked me that.
Lynch: The beast wants little bites. It really doesn't want the in-depth.
THR: Speaking of which, Christina, you've had run-ins with paparazzi.
Applegate: I get hot when I think about it. We're all subject to this idea that the public has access to us. But when you're dealing with my kid … look at me, I'm sweating right now. I'm shaking.
Bowen: What did they do?
Applegate: I don't want them pointing their energy at her -- period. It became a big fight. It was bad. Children should be off-limits.
Louis-Dreyfus: The paparazzi culture has taken off since I had my kids more than a decade ago. I've had my share of problems, which I won't go into, but I've just kept my kids out of it -- though sometimes you don't have control.
Applegate: I mean, you're coming out of their little class. That's supposed to be a safe environment!
Bowen: I remember when my first son was born. I thought, "I don't want anyone to take his picture." If the world knew what he looked like, some fruity nutburger was going to come steal him. I have never done this, but someone told me you can Google my son and find tons of pictures, and I'm not in them. But I can't make myself crazy over it.
Deschanel: It's so much, you can't even sort through it.
Bowen: Now I have three kids, and I'm just trying to get down Ventura Boulevard to get to my hair cut and there's a bunch of paparazzi because they normally don't give a rat's ass about me and they're hanging out for George Clooney because he lives around the corner.
Lynch: It may be valuable at some point!
Deschanel: They were following me around doing errands one Saturday. I went to the most boring places. It's like, "Guys, what do you want?"
Applegate: "I got my aluminum foil. Now I have to go get that nail clipper."
Bowen: But then, who's buying that magazine? As kids growing up, we'd go to the supermarket, and we were not allowed to touch [the tabloids]. But my mom now buys them! It's become totally acceptable to know who looks good without makeup.
Deschanel: Do you think people like to be in the grocery store looking at people in the grocery in the magazines?
Bowen: It's so weird.