There's no way to get around it.
I've been a fan of Ron Livingston's since his early movie career. Swingers and Office Space set a tone for which he has become very well known, and his role as Sam Loudermilk allows him to play directly to his strengths.
Loudermilk Season 2 premiered on October 16, and we had a chance to talk with Livingston about what to expect from the season going forward and what it's been like standing in his shoes that have been carrying him around a very successful 2018 television season.
Enjoy excerpts from our interview below, which has been slightly modified for content.
You're having a pretty good year, aren't you?
Yeah, it's been a road wave of TD gigs, it seems.
Oh, and movies, too.
Yeah, I don't know what it is. I think sometimes you have busy years and you have lean years. And this one, it's probably as busy as I've been maybe ever.
Yeah, it's pretty impressive. Go you.
Thank you. I'll take it.
And you know, we have Loudermilk, we have A Million Little Things, and then we have an episode of The Romanoff's coming up.
Yup, that's right.
Loudermilk is back, and I'm really excited about it. It's probably one of my favorite roles that I've ever had the opportunity to play. It's just a blast to sort of be in that guy's skin.
You know, but at a certain point, you want to share it with everybody else. And I don't wanna be the only one talking about it. It's nice when other people can have their opinions and talk about it and, you know, tell you whether it worked or not.
It's kind of a bummer that it's not more widely seen.
You know, I don't worry about that stuff, to be honest.
Well, it keeps people from talking about it.
Well, you know, my experience of how I came up, you know, all of my biggest breaks, in the beginning, were things that nobody ever saw at the time that they came out.
Like sort of built and blossomed over time. Swingers, nobody saw Swingers when it came out. Nobody saw Office Space when it came out.
I saw Office Space on the very first day it came out. We left work to see it.
How many people were in the theater?
Well, there were at least two of us.
Exactly. You know, so I think one thing I've learned is that if you do your job and you make it good ... we live in an environment now where people are gonna find it. They don't care when you made it.
If they haven't seen it, it's new to them, and there are so many different platforms now that are hungry for content. I feel like things get a second life, a third life, a fourth life, a fifth life, and if they're good, then they're eventually gonna catch on somewhere with somebody.
So I'm okay with it. As long as, I'll tell you what, as long as they want it and Audience keep making it. And that's part of their business model, you know? They're a subscriptions service, so they wanna make it for their subscribers, you know?
And I think their hope is that if you hear about the show, if you check it out, you know, what you can do to have a streaming app is like a seven-day free membership, it's called Direct TV Now. So you can stream the whole first season for free.
And I think their hope is that you're gonna like it enough that you're gonna become a subscriber. So I'm good with that.
Yeah, I promote their shows. I like their content a lot; I think it's great content.
Yeah, Mr. Mercedes is great. You Me Her is great. It's interesting to see now what the shape of the sort of landscape is gonna look like. It's a little bit like the wild west right now; everybody's doing different business models. And nobody's quite sure how it's all gonna shake out.
But I'd say AT&T is a pretty good bet, you know? 'Cause they've got resources and they know how to build things.
And in the second season of Loudermilk, I saw a couple of episodes, and I have to be honest, watching the premiere, I thought missed an episode.
Oh, yeah, yeah.
I was like, what the? Sam, he really isn't all that bad off, is he?
Right. You know, I think we wanted to see a little time has passed because the events were sort of so tumultuous with the road trip and the stuff in New Orleans. You know, his life blew up and I think people go and lick their wounds and hibernate a little bit.
And I think Pete Farrelly just decided that everybody knows what that is, that everybody knows what that feels like. And you know, we don't need to show that and let's start with him maybe starting to maybe come out of the shell a little bit, 'cause that's a lot of what season two is.
Is Loudermilk putting his life back together and turning it into men's critical energy, at least partially on himself? Yeah, I mean the elephant stuff was, in a way, I don't wanna give it away, although people will have probably seen it by the time they read this piece or not, but you know, I think it was Pete feeling all alone.
And it's like no, he doesn't, like, need a girl and then all of a sudden he's a good boyfriend, and it all works out. You know? He's the same guy, and he drops the ball in the same way that he's dropped the ball a hundred times in the past.
And you know, and he's got to take a look at why that's happening and see if he wants to change it or not. I don't know, it's interesting.
Ben is obviously gonna come back into Loudermilk's life. So how is Sam gonna deal with that?
Well, Will Sasso is too good not to at least find some way to bring him back to the show.
Yeah, he's excellent.
You know, the way that Ben's relationship with Loudermilk's ex-wife was set up, it didn't really seem like it was a total recipe for success.
Yeah, it didn't have legs, did it?
You know what I mean? It didn't seem like it has legs. So, to me, it doesn't feel like too much of a cheat to see Ben come sniffing back around saying, "Okay, can I have a do-over?" But, what I think would be selling out is for Loudermilk to right away be like, "Okay sure, you can move back in and have your room."
And so now it's fun, we get to see Loudermilk and Ben on the outs, you know? Where they're, for the most part, not speaking to each other, you know? It's like they had a divorce, oddly enough.
It's like Ben and Loudermilk had the divorce, and they're sort of bitter exes that have to work it out together.
And instead of Ben always kind of holding that, "Oh look at me, I'm better than you because I'm not drinking," even though he's got his bottle stashed in the toilet, he is now going to be on the opposite end of ... you know, "Oh, excuse me, I didn't just run off with your ex-wife."
Yeah. They're gonna find stuff to bicker about. But I think the thing like Ben was still kind of, last season, just kind of faking it. And I think this season Ben's gonna try to really tackle it.
He's gonna have to atone.
Get it under control.
And yeah, the way it develops is a lot of fun. We get to go to a lot of fun places with it. And in the meantime, I love the relationship that Loudermilk has with Claire, played by Anja Savcic.
And I was gonna ask, is Claire going to to take his place, you know, a little bit? Take Ben's place?
She's gonna take his room. I don't know; it's pretty hard to take Ben's place. You know? But she's now Loudermilk's new roommate and with all of that entails. And that's a very different dynamic. But it's one of my favorite relationships on the show because it starts so ... they just start off being so mean to each other.
And over the course of this thing, they're still mean to each other, but you can tell that there's, you know, there's a fondness there in a really weird way that I don't think Loudermilk's ever really felt like fatherly or responsible for anybody ever before.
I think those feelings are new to him, he doesn't want anything to do with them, but he kind of can't shake it. And that's fun to play too.
It'll help him grow.
I think so, I hope so. Well, a part of the fun of Loudermilk is he gets opportunities to grow and nine times out of ten he tries, but he can't quite stretch it. He really embraces his shortcomings. And that's a little bit of the fun of this character; he's not trying to be more noble, more acceptable to the world, he's just 100% through and through who he is.
You know, and the group sessions are always a lot of fun.
Phhh, those are a blast.
And you have Brian Regan in there.
Oh, I mean, yeah. We have some great [guys]. Ricky Blitt.
Do you guys just get to riff in there or is it totally scripted? How do those work?
It starts totally scripted and then, every once in a while, people may drop in a riff. The writing's so crisp on the show; you know what I mean? Like Bobby Mort wrote for Stephen Colbert and Pete Farrelly, you know, he knows a thing or two about comedy.
So you got to feel pretty strongly about a riff to try to replace those guy's words with words that you're just coming up with on the spot.
That said, every once in a while, like glorious mistakes will happen that make it on to the show because there's something unplanned and spontaneous about it. But, you know, we stick to the script for the most part 'cause the script is good, and we want the transfer right on time.
And is there anything that you would tell A Million Little Things fans to watch Loudermilk?
Boy, they're two extraordinarily different shows.
Exactly. One's on a major network right now. So you get to speak right to them.
They're built with different bones. The thing that I think connects them that I find compelling about both of them, and I would throw Office Space in it too, is they're both stories about a person who wakes up miserable and then has to have some sort of, "So what am I gonna do about it?"
You know, Peter Gibbons was able by the end of that movie to find a way just to allow himself to be happy. Even though nothing really happened, that would, from the outside, look like it should make him happy. He just gave himself permission to do it.
Loudermilk can't do that. He keeps trying, but he can't seem to do it. And yet, every day, he gets up and tries again, you know? He's like Sisyphus rolling that boulder up the hill. And as long as he can go to bed without taking a drink, on some level, he's won for that day.
And then to bring it back around A Million Little Things, Jon Dixon is somebody who not only did we not know how he was feeling because he wasn't comfortable sharing it, but at some point he kind of let it go, you know? He decided that it was too much to even carry on.
And so to me, they're all sort of I'm coming at the elephant from three different directions. And that's a fun place to be when you're exploring a theme.
This is what I would tell A Million Little Things fans: if you get to a point where you just can't cry anymore, and you're sick of crying, put on Loudermilk. I guarantee you it will make you laugh.
And it does.
Yeah, it's pretty good.
It does, all the little like vignettes at the very beginning, like where Loudermilk's walking down the street or something and see's people and just says something, oh, my God. You're delivery of those lines just kills me every time. "Are you guys in a band? No, like what are you? A lumberjack?"
"Are you lumberjacks? No, we're in a band."
Those are fun to do, yeah.
They crack me up.
Yeah, 'cause they’re little set piece things about nothing. They're invariably things that he has no business being that aggravated by them. And even if he is, he has no business like trying to lay that at the feet of whoever the other people are. But he just can't help it, you know?
But sometimes you're having that bad day and feel like him. You're looking at somebody, and you just think, "I just wanna walk over to them and say this." And he just does it.
Yeah, he just does it. He's not gonna leave it unsaid; he feels like it's his responsibility.
I love it; I love it. Your delivery of everything throughout your entire career has been...
Well, thank you.
I’ve quoted you my entire life.
Thank you so much.
Yeah, it's fun. This one is particularly fun because I get to do like a lot of what I think of as my sort of signature stuff.
But, it's also because of just the way it's built and the Farrelly brothers, we get to do broad comedy, we get to do dark comedy, we get to do goofy stuff. And so we got a lot of colors that we can paint with. And that makes it interesting; I think keep sit really fresh.
Are there any surprise situations coming up that are gonna be fun to play off of?
Oh, definitely. Oh, absolutely. I mean, yeah. I wouldn't even know where to begin to tell you without giving them away. But, you know, there's a moment with Loudermilk has some Stanley reenter his life. He's got to sort through that. His dad shows up again in season two.
Some of my favorite stuff from season one. So the fact that we get to go back and sort of continue that story is terrific. We get to see a lot more from the guys in the group because the first season you spend kind of getting to know everybody.
And now, in season two, we know everybody so we can give them storylines. And so every week these guys are just hitting it out of the park, stealing scenes left and right. And it's great to see because that kind of widens the scope of our show.
You know? And it makes my job easier because it just makes it less likely that people are gonna get sick of the Loudermilk thing.
Oh, geez. Yeah, like that's gonna happen.
I hope it doesn't happen.
And you don't have to carry the load.
Yeah, I mean, again, it feels a little selfish when you've got that much talent in the cast to have all the scenes be about one guy, even if the show is named after that one guy.
So we're in a place where we're really kind of ... and the group themselves, the fact that this is our second year, we actually really know each other now, it's a lot looser; it's a lot more dynamic. And everybody's rooting for each other; everybody's pulling for each other in this group.
Well, I can't wait to see the rest of it.
Yeah, it's gonna be good. You know, you've probably seen more of it than I have, right now. But Pete gave me sort of a sly wink and said, "You're gonna love season two. Season two is even better than season one." So I'm looking forward to seeing it myself.
Loudermilk airs on Audience Network available on DirecTV, DirecTV Now, and AT&T Uverse Tuesdays at 10/9c and On Demand.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.