Jill Bennett Spills on "Second Shot"
The out actor serves up the deets on her new sitcom.
Fantasizing over our exes—we've all been there, but not everyone gets a second chance to actualize those fantasies. Luckily, for those of us who live vicariously through our lesbian friends, we get to live through Jill Bennett's on-screen tryst with her first love. Bennett, former Curve Cover girl and lezzie favorite in the film And Then Came Lola, is playing Kat McDonald in the upcoming sitcom Second Shot.
Co-created and produced by Bennett and the producer of South of Nowhere, Nancylee Myatt, Second Shot is an ensemble show that kicks off when Bennett's character, Kat, an ex-pro soccer player, reluctantly returns to her hometown after inheriting Dot's Hole, the local gay bar. Second Shot, referred to as the gay Cheers, is made up of a collection of eccentric bar matrons and two love interests vying to tug at Kat's heartstrings, a drop dead gorgeous, yet demanding girlfriend back in Miami and her first love, a blonde beauty with a husband and a whole new life outside of Kat.
Bennett sat down with Second Shot's head writer, Dara Nai, AfterEllen writer and vlogger behind "We're Getting Nowhere," to talk about the show, to explain how small town gay bars are important to our community and to reveal why every episode has at least one sexy scene.
This is going to be different. I can't ask the usual questions about the show because I already know about the show.
I know you do [Laughs].
Let's talk about what happened before I came on board. Where did the idea of Second Shot come from?
Nancylee had the idea floating around in the back of her head for a long time to do a gay version of Cheers. I had a development deal with LOGO that came out of the shenanigans of We're Getting Nowhere. So we came together, hashed out the details and came up with the treatment, and my character, Kat.
How would you describe the show for our listeners at home?
Second Shot is a marriage between the current sitcom style of New Girl and the old-school style of Cheers. Both are from very different eras, with very different tones, but I feel like we successfully married the two together. We ended up with the heart of Cheers and the comedy of New Girl, if that makes any sense.
I'm going to take that as a compliment.
All the characters you and Nancylee created were fun to write for. Jodi, the bartender, is cranky. Luckily, cranky comes easily to me. Martin and Ty are the next gen kids; he's a naïve romantic, and she's basically a baby-Shane, but not very bright. I took cues from Maia Madison for her character, Linda, because Maia is also a writer.
And we never wanted this to be Kat's story. We always saw this as an ensemble show. It's everyone's experience in this tiny gay bar.
The characters in Second Shot are real but also, a little nutso. Are any of them based on actual people from your own hometown gay bar?
Jodi was created specifically for Maile Flanagan. But also, Nancylee had always said, 'When you go to any small town gay bar, there's always that resident dyke that everybody knows. She's a fixture.' That's Jodi. For me, it was very easy to create Kat when I thought about what it's like when I go home to Fort Wayne, Indiana. My friends there think my life in LA is all champagne and limos. They don't know the reality of what it is.
Which is Costco and traffic. When you were a wee lesbian in Indiana, did you go to any dive bars like Dot's Hole?
There was one back home called After Dark, appropriately enough. There wasn't even a sign out front.
Then how do you know it was called After Dark?
You knew. I definitely spent a lot of time there when I would come home from school.
You went to a gay bar after school? Most kids just go to the mall or the library.
College. When I would come home from college.
Oh. Right. What do you like best about small town gay bars?
Everyone knows each other. Hell, everyone's probably dated each other at least once or twice, too. But there's a family feeling, which is why small town gay bars are so important to our community. They're a vital venue for people who aren't in a major metropolitan area to be around other gay people. It's a safe place with a family atmosphere.
Second Shot is one of a handful of sitcoms for, by and about the LGBT community. And, it's a sitcom with sex scenes. We're awesome.
It is awesome! And I hope to have a lot more sex.
In the show?
In the show. It does seem to be an odd combination – comedy and sex scenes – but it's a perfect mix. I think you can have a really funny show, but also show real relationships with sex.
How do actors make out with someone they just met? Weird or normal? Discuss.
It can be a little weird, but it also completely breaks the ice. After you do that scene, everything after is cake. The most awkward part is having the entire crew watching you. After the scene breaks, it almost feels like they are going to hold up scoring cards for us.
I give your Kat-Allison sexy scenes with Amanda Christensen a 10. Is she a good kisser?
Amanda is a 10, no doubt. We had the appropriate amount of 'My, isn't this strange?' but then we got over and dove in. Literally.
In case anyone is getting the idea that this show lacks gravitas, we do have stories that explore LGBT issues!
Yes. And without coming across like an Afterschool Special, we deal with issues like bullying. We wanted to tackle real life subjects, but in a way that's funny and feels approachable and follows the tone of the sitcom.
I wish you had told me all that before I deliver the scripts. Never mind. We're going to premiere episodes one and two at The Dinah's first-ever Film Festival. Very exciting! Who's going, besides us?
Maile, Amanda and Maia will be there. Minni Jo Mazzola, who plays Ty, and Rosa Blasi, my Miami girlfriend Julia will be there. Both my 'girlfriends' are going!
Are we having a Meet and Greet? I'm sorry. I don't read my emails.
We should! Details to follow, as soon as we figure that out.
To learn more about the premiere of Second Shot at The Dinah's Film Festival in Palm Springs, check out Club Skirts' Events page or visit the Second Shot Facebook page. For Second Shot updates visit secondshot.tv, and watch the trailer below.
Watch the Trailer:
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