Shiri Appleby plays ‘Life Unexpected‘s Cate, arguably primetime’s most neurotic character. The radio morning show co-host is still hung up on Baze (Kristoffer Polaha) the guy who knocked her up in high school despite being married to nice guy Ryan (Kerr Smith). She’s clueless about how to raise her long lost daughter. Yet she is likable and real thanks in large part to Appleby’s performance. Appleby shared how getting fired will change Cate, why she lets Lux (Britt Robertson) get away with everything, and why she thinks ‘Life Unexpected’ will be around for a long time.
Cate got fired in the season premiere. What is she going to do now?
It definitely freaks her out. The one thing that she could have counted on was that she would be a working woman. Without that she starts to question who she is. I don’t think she ever imagined herself just being a wife and mother. So she goes out there and looks for work and realizes she might not have as much success when it’s just her by herself.
Is she upset that Ryan did not attempt to help her keep her job and readily agreed to work with Kelly?
I’m so glad that you see her point of view. They were a team and from Cate’s perspective it’s difficult for her that Ryan still has the one thing that she really wants. Obviously, Ryan has his own point of view.
Who is this woman named Julia from Ryan’s past?
I like to call her Julia Goolia. [Cate] doesn’t know yet. But she will definitely find out eventually. Knowing Cate who doesn’t handle anything well, it might not be fun.
How does Cate react when she finds out about that Baze slept with Ryan’s sister, Paige?
I don’t think she or Ryan reacts too well when they find that out.
Why does Baze keep hooking up with women who have a connection to Cate?
Maybe it’s a sign that the universe is sending him that he should really be with Cate.
Was Cate telling the truth in the premiere when she said that it wouldn’t have made a difference if Baze showed up at the church before she married Ryan?
I think she’s really confused. If he had gone to the church earlier, who knows? We’d be telling a totally different story. Now that she’s married, it’s like, how do they move forward? How do they raise a kid together when they basically just admitted to each other that in some way they love each other?
How do you feel about all the new additions to the cast?
I love it. All the actors are really fun. We all get along. It’s great to get some new friends, some new people to hang out with. They’re just really, really good actors that are there to have a good time and make a good show.
What relationship is Emma Caulfield’s character going to have with Cate and Baze?
She definitely is involved in Baze’s life, being somebody he might work with. Given all of our relationships are so intertwined, we all get to know Emma’s character.
In the next episode, Cate is shocked to learn that Lux is on the verge of flunking out. Why is Cate always so unaware of what’s going on in Lux’s life?
Cate was the valedictorian. I don’t think getting good grades was something that ever took a tremendous amount of effort on her behalf. The fact that her daughter, her own flesh and blood, isn’t doing well is surprising to her. Also, Cate is trying to figure out her marriage. She’s a bit of a self-centered character. She imagines her daughter is living the life that she was at sixteen which was quite uneventful and school filled.
Shiri takes you behind the scenes:
Has Cate figured out how to be a mother yet?
She has no clue. She didn’t raise Lux, first of all. She just walked in all of a sudden. Neither does Baze. Baze might be doing a better job at it, but I don’t think either one of them knows what it’s like to be parents. That’s a lot of what this season is about, them really having to grow up and realizing what does it mean to raise a child and be responsible for somebody, shape someone’s life. They suck at it.
Now that Baze is trying to move on, what are the other obstacles in Cate and Ryan’s relationship?
I don’t think they have any idea what each other’s expectations are for their marriage or their life. I don’t think they know simple things like who’s going to pay what bill or what religion they would both want to practice. They literally don’t know anything about each other. Their main connection was that they work really well together and they were physically attracted to each other. They got married to get married and will figure it out later on.
Is everything that she’s going through going to draw Cate closer to Baze?
They start to become [closer] friends because they know there’s nothing they can do about their romantic relationship and they know they have to raise Lux together. They figure out a way to be there for each other in a friendly way.
How is season two of ‘Life Unexpected’ different from season one?
It’s much broader. Last season it was a story about how do all these random people come together to make a family. Now that we’ve established that, we can meet other people and have other relationships and bring a lot of the lessons and the things they are going through back to the homefront. Visually, we keep putting up these really big situations. The fact that we make [an episode of] this show in seven days is hard to believe. We did a ‘One Tree Hill‘ crossover with Sarah McLaughlan and Ben Lee and it was a huge music festival. The show just looks really big but at the same time we’re still keeping the heart. It’s a show about people still caring about each other and not being perfect and learning how to do the right thing.
‘Life Unexpected’ has a passionate fanbase that is very concerned about the show’s future. What sort of feedback have you been getting from the network this season?
The CW has been incredibly supportive and behind the show. They’re thrilled with all the episodes that they’ve seen this year. We don’t feel that we’re questioning whether or not we want to be here for a while. We feel strongly that this is something that is going to continue to grow. It’s like a little baby right now. Hopefully people will keep catching on because it’s not a show that’s glitzy or fashionable. It’s a show about what’s important in life which is family and caring about each other. I feel really strongly that it’s going to be around for a while.
Over the long run, who’s the right man for Cate: Baze or Ryan?
I think a combination of both of them.
So should Cate aim for a ‘Big Love’ type relationship with them?
Yeah. I think a few days of the week she’s with one guy and every other weekend she switches to another.