Raven-Symone stars in the new sitcom “State of Georgia,” which premieres Wednesday night on ABC Family. Despite what the title suggests, the series is set in New York. In the tradition of “That Girl,” Symone plays an aspiring actress, Georgia, who moves to the big city after graduating from college. She is joined by her geeky best friend, Joe (Majandra Delfino), who dreams of getting a PhD in physics. Symone and Delfino discussed their on and off-screen friendship, why there are no bloopers on the show, and “State of Georgia’s” rivalry with “The Voice.”
Preview “State of Georgia”:
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The two of you have such great on-screen chemistry. Were you friends in real life? How did you work on building your rapport?
Delfino: We hadn’t met each other when we [shot the pilot.] We were complete strangers. But we just have, like, a soulmates connection.
How would you describe your characters?
Symone: I would describe Georgia as a fun loving girl who wants to be in entertainment and puts all of her love and trust in her friend, Joe, and her auntie played by Loretta Devine. She is just trying to live a fabulous life with no money.
Delfino: I would describe Joe as a kooky, socially challenged aspiring physicist who is one of the most loyal friends anybody could ask for and who really plays by her own rules in the way she thinks, behaves, and dresses.
When will Georgia get her first acting role? What will it be?
Symone: Then you wouldn’t watch the show. I can’t tell you what the role’s going to be! But she does get a role. It’s not exactly what she thought it was going to be. But it’s definitely worth a viewing of that episode. The first episode that’s airing on Wednesday, there’s something else that’s having a finale, [“The Voice”.] We want to beat them in the ratings.
Why are there so many physicists on TV right now?
Delfino: I have no idea. I guess there’s just a huge world of physicists out there with Nielsen boxes. It seems to be a thing. I was in wardrobe the other day. I find the clothes to be crazy. This little twenty year-old guy goes, “Look at you, all hipped out.” I really think that’s a thing right now, the nerd glasses, all that. I was like, “Are you looking at my socks or something?” Because there is nothing hip about polka dots and stripes.
Have there been any funny bloopers?
Symone: I’ll be honest with you. It’s a lot of work in the beginning of the season because that little cloud of “Are we going to get canceled?” is over our heads. We’re going hard, trying to make this work. The bloopers come, to me, when you feel a little bit more comfortable in the role, and you’ve really solidified what you’re doing. It will come after two seasons, maybe even 100 episodes, syndication.
You have spent the bulk of your life on sitcoms. What is it about the genre that is such a good fit for you?
Symone: I love sitcoms because I go into work every day with the same people and each week I will get a new script and different lines to say. But I’m in a family setting. Growing up in Georgia, it’s all about family and sharing with one another, I just like that. I like growing chemistry. I like being able to say, “I worked five years with these people, every day, and at the end of our time with these people, we still have friendships.” It’s very difficult to keep a friendship in Hollywood because not everyone is for the realistic part of the world. They’re more for the money and the fame and the glamour.
Raven, you just shot a hot photo shoot for Rolling Out magazine. How has your image changed over the years?
Simone: Actually, that was Majandra’s body and they just [photo]shopped my head on it.
Delfino: It’s a clause.
Symone: That’s another reason we’re working together. She does all my photo shoots for me. Sometimes my head will be on her body and sometimes her head will be on my body.