Paula Pell interview: ‘Girls5eva’

When Paula Pell learned she had to get another knee replacement surgery last summer, she told “Girls5eva” creator Meredith Scardino that she hoped it wouldn’t affect Season 2 too much. It did — but in the best way. “They were like, ‘Oh, my God! That is the most Gloria storyline ever!’” Pells tells Gold Derby (watch the exclusive video interview above). “They were like, ‘Thank you very much. We haven’t really figured that out yet and you handed us a good one.’”

Scardino and the writers wrote in a knee replacement storyline for Gloria into the very first episode of the sophomore installment and the plot point turned out to be a true blessing in disguise. We got to see Gloria high on Percocet and the surgery inspired “Bend, Not Break,” Girls5eva’s comeback single. The song, written by Sara Bareilles‘ character Dawn on the show and by Barellis in real life, is a catchy mid-tempo track about being there for one another and having each other’s backs during tough times.

“I just love that song so much,” Pell gushes. “There are so many songs on the show that are exactly in my favorite wheelhouse of comedy, which is comedy that has moments where you actually choke up and get tearful and genuinely tearful because there’s so much heart to it…. And the message of leaning on each other when you’re falling apart. The connective tissue of this whole show is the friendships that these ladies have — that they always had but they weren’t fully formed people yet back then. They were sort of the creation of others and now they’re creating themselves and they need each other.”

The theme of carrying the weight for one another is especially highlighted in the fifth episode. In the Season 1 finale, Gloria speculates that their former bandmate Ashley (Ashley Park), who died slipping off an infinity pool in 2004, is actually alive. In the fifth episode, Gloria is convinced that a masked pop star, T.K., is Ashley, the “fun one” and confident leader of Girls5eva who always had it together and knew who she was.

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“Without her, we were really flailing and we still are flailing. And to think for a moment in [Gloria’s] murder podcast brain of like, ‘This is it! This is it!’ And putting two and two together to make eight. None of it is true, but I’m trying to make it fit in this puzzle and everyone is rolling their eyes,” Pell says. “It’s so poignant to know that you’re gonna have to figure it out. Sometimes you don’t have your person that helps you figure it out… We each take turns being the Ashley. We take turns being the motivator, the one that tells the other person, ‘Don’t settle for that.’ Just like a good family where everyone’s got their strong day.”

Speaking of strength, Pell’s “titanium” knees were strong enough to take on Drew Scott in a hilarious, extensive fight in the finale. After the Property Brothers inform Girls5eva that they didn’t score the opening act gig for Collab’s tour, Gloria confronts their record label owners while they’re taping a home renovation show. Pell, who was nervous about remembering the choreography, wanted to do as many of the stunts as possible so viewers could see her face instead of a cutaway to a stuntwoman’s back. But once they started going, “it was like a dance.”

“I kick his ass… It was really great because Drew Scott is such a good stuntman. He really is. That’s how they got the idea to do that on the show because he has a reel of stunts that he’s posted before that’s just amazing. I felt so safe because when you’re with a good stuntperson, you just know they’re not gonna nail you. There isn’t that constant like, ‘Oh, god, please.’ Plus, with my knees being fairly new and everything, I was like, ‘Ah!’ and I didn’t feel that at all,” the former “Saturday Night Live” writer recalls. “God, we had fun. We laughed. When Jonathan says, ‘Kill him, do it,’ like whispering, ‘Do it,’ it just said it all. It’s like these guys have been working together every day of their life, they’re twins, it’s like, ‘Just f—in’ kill him. Just kill him.’ They’re such incredible sweethearts. They’re so tall and I came up to their testicles. At one point I actually did suggest a wang punch. I was like, ‘Should I just punch him right in the crotch? It’s right here. We’re all such tall and shorts.’ But I didn’t go for it. I don’t think his groin was a member of SAG.”

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UPLOADED Jun 14, 2022 11:30 am