Melissa Joan Hart Interview on the Set of Melissa & Joey #ABCFamilyEvent


Melissa & Joey on ABC Family

Melissa & Joey is a half-hour comedy that follows Mel, the grown-up former wild child of a political family, who is now a local politician herself. When her sister ends up in prison and her brother-in-law flees after a scandal hits, Mel must take responsibility for her teenaged niece, Lennox, and nephew, Ryder. Help comes in the unlikely form of Joe, who moves in and becomes the family’s manny.The series stars Melissa Joan Hart as Mel, Joey Lawrence as Joe, Taylor Spreitler as Lennox and Nick Robinson as Ryder.
melissa joan hart
Photo Credit: ABC Family

About her character, Mel Burke

Mel, a former wild child of a political family, is all grown up and now in city politics herself. When her sister ends up in prison and her brother-in-law flees after a scandal hits his company, Mel must take responsibility for her teenaged niece, Lennox, and her adolescent nephew, Ryder. Spread too thin to manage by herself, help comes in the unlikely form of Joe.


Interview with Melissa Joan Hart on the set of Melissa & Joey

When Melissa first sat down to speak with us, she asked if we’d ever been in the Melissa & Joey audience before. We all said no, but she said it’s like a pizza party.

There’s Disco lights up here that go off and there’s a DJ. Roger [DJ] does Stand up. And it’s a blast. It’s very distracting when you’re trying to do a Live Show. You try to remember lines and they throw Alts [alternate lines] at us so we have to do alternate lines all of the sudden and remember new lines. It’s hard enough to remember the ones we already have. We’ve been shooting double episodes so we shot a different episode yesterday and then now we have to do this one today so it gets a little confusing and complicated but we power through it. I have some Green Tea before the Show and then we go.

We’re having a blast. This is our, well technically, our 6th or 7th Season, but I think we call it 4. We have a really great crew, it’s been a pretty tight crew for all these years and we’ve been able to keep it, between these two sets [kitchen/living room/dining room] and we have a Melissa and Joey Bedroom now that’s a permanent set. Between those 3 sets, that’s our Show lives there and really just me, Joe and Taylor, playing Lennox. Because Nick’s [Robinson] been off doing big movies. He’s a big Movie Star now. We bring in a few Special Guests but this year, we really cut back on the Special Guests so it’s really just the 3 of us and 3 sets. Our Writers have done an amazing job being able to keep it going and keep it running.

Favorite Episode

Our Christmas episode was probably my favorite episode I’ve ever done.

The Period piece was hilarious […], being able to use that old fashioned language with current, more racy humor was really fun and exciting and we just had a blast doing that. We have one other special episode coming up this year although I heard our budget was just cut so I’m not exactly sure how special that will be.

On the Upcoming Special

We’re calling it Melissa and Joey’s Prison but it’s a flash forward thing so that will be a special episode. Luckily Joey and I don’t have to age so we don’t need prosthetics but everyone else will. We’ve been able to keep the show really tight. Keep it really just about smaller stories with just more room for dialogue and character growth and that kind of thing to really focus on the humor and the real life. What really happens when people get married, when you change the dynamics of a relationship or when you have a relationship like we do.

It’s like my husband and I actually, our relationship thrives on sort of bickering — and it’s like a flirting. It’s like a little bit of an off kilter flirting. I have so many people in my life that look at me and my husband and go, I don’t get your marriage. You don’t have to. 12 years later, I think it’s OK.

Interview with Melissa Joan Hart on the set of Melissa & Joey.
Photo Credit: ABC FAMILY/ Eric McCandless

[Tweet “”I get to be this really flawed, fun girl…” – @MelissaJoanHart #ABCFamilyEvent”]

Is it important for you to make Mel & Joey’s marriage real like your marriage, so it’s like a typical TV Marriage?

I think so. In a lot of comedies where it’s a married couple, the female is the one that’s the sort of nagging, bitter. […] In this one, I get to be the fruitcake so I love that. That’s what I wanted. I was so afraid when they were getting these characters together that I’d all of a sudden have to become the strong center pole that you know, funny things happen around me but not to me, which is what happened on Sabrina. I felt like I didn’t like playing that character for that reason. I didn’t feel like I did get a lot of opportunity to be a goofball. But on this one, I get to be a complete lush, completely self centered, for lack of a better word, Bitch.

I get to just be this really flawed, fun girl, and I like that even though the dynamic of the [Melissa & Joey] has changed 3 times now, that I still get to play that character, that I still get to be. Every once in a while, I’m the grounded, centered one but most of the time, I still get to be that kind of crazy, just completely selfish girl.

On her kids being in the entertainment business.

Did you see the Peter Pan Commercials? My family did 5 Wal-mart Peter Pan Commercials. It was such a special opportunity, we couldn’t say no. The script was written so beautifully I thought, and I just thought it was so lovely and we’d have this footage forever for our family. But some casting directors did notice, some crew members here [on Melissa & Joey] got called and were asked to be put in touch with me, and my kids.

It makes me nervous but, they were at the audition and it’s weird. It’s like, you’re competing with these other kids and as Mom sitting there and you want the best for your child but that means that these other children don’t get [the role] — it was just weird. I don’t know. I really don’t want them in this business, but I also don’t want to turn away great opportunities, like this show sounds like a really amazing opportunity. He’s [my son] young and I don’t know that I’m ready for all that for them. I think Ron Howard’s kids did it right. I think Goldie Hawn’s kids did it right. You know, when they’re older and they’re out of High School and they can make a decision that this is what they truly want to do, then I’m not gonna stop them.

And I will allow them to entertain some of these great opportunities, but at the same time, I don’t want my kids growing up on Red Carpets. It’s not how I grew up so I think that I don’t know what the recipe for that is. I grew up in New York shooting my first show in Orlando. I was nowhere near any kind of big Red Carpet Events or Hollywood stuff going on. I don’t feel like I was treated special. I was just working, I was a working girl. And I loved that. If I could give it to my sons in the same way, like let them experience it the same way, that would be great. But I don’t think you can do that these days, so I think it would be tough.

On working on a live show

I’ve never done a live show. My other two shows were in just on film so Clarissa was four camera, Ped cameras like this but we didn’t have the audience so we shot, they were hybrids basically. Those were hybrid shows before the hybrid really existed and Sabrina was really a Single Camera sitcom before Single Camera sitcom existed. We did Sabrina or Clarissa like this but we shot it over in 3 days, we rehearsed for 2. So it’s similar to our schedule here. We shoot live one night. Yesterday, we pre-shot some stuff. Fridays, we pretty much take here so it’s so lovely. I mean with a family, this is the best job there is in show biz, like sitcom is it.

You work fast and furious for a few hours a day, and you’re done. On Episodics and that kind of thing, it’s all day, all night. And that’s what we did on Sabrina. Sabrina we rehearsed really hard Mondays and Tuesdays. And the scripts were broken down in smaller scenes so we had a lot more work to do. Here’s it like 10, 15 scenes at the most usually. On Sabrina, we were doing 30 scenes a week so it was just a lot of little bits which just took a lot of time and there was a lot of rehearsal, a lot of technical stuff. And so on Sabrina, we did two days rehearsal and then we did 3 days of filming.

But those 3 days of filming were 12 to 16 hour days. And we were there all night. And Fridays, we’d just be there until we got done so we’re fighting the sun going home. Um, but we were younger and we had fun, and we were really a really, really tight crew. Um, we all did everything together. It was fun. Our weekends together, we went on vacations together. We took the whole crew to Florida. We took the whole crew to Vegas. I took a lot of them with me to Australia and Rome when we shot our TV Movies and stuff. We were super tight for those years. We were all pretty much Single. Everyone was like just starting to get in relationships. Some were just getting married at the end. There were some people who were having babies but like we were all kind of growing up together.

That was a really hard schedule but it was really fun. But it was a Single Camera sitcom before they really were around because we had 3 cameras but it was film. And it was shot basically like a single camera show because it was so technically and every angle had to be accounted for in a certain way. Here we can kind of go through it. We do each scene two times and we’re done, so this is just such a lovely schedule being a Mom. The only problem is my family is on the East Coast so this makes it, this is a whole other obstacle for me now with my home life and my work life. We live in Connecticut. They’re here right now.

Every since I had my third son, they come with me now. But now, they’re in school here half the year and tomorrow’s their last day of school so we’re doing the teacher’s gifts and all the goodbyes. They wanted to do candy canes for all their friends so we had to hand write every candy cane for every friend. I had to redo all the paperwork and re-enroll them in Connecticut and now we go back to Connecticut the Monday after New Year’s. So, they’ll start there riding the school bus again. Then I’ll be here by myself for 6 weeks. I know, it’s harder on me than– It’s better for them though so…

Intrview with Melissa Joan Hart on the set of Melissa & Joey
Photo Credit: ABC FAMILY/ Eric McCandless

What experience from being a Mom have you brought to your role on this show?

The exact opposite. Everything that I know about being a Mom, I try to do the exact opposite of my instincts for Mel cause she doesn’t know. You know, she didn’t have a baby. It’s so different I think when you have a baby and you raise a baby, and they become these little people, and you know their personalities all throughout. Then all of a sudden, you’re given teenagers, […] they’ve been your niece and nephews and you spoiled them your whole life. I have some examples in my life of people that have come into step children that know how to spoil, but do not know how to raise. That’s the difference and so I try to bring that to Mel, just inappropriate things. Like telling too many stories about sex and alcohol and then realizing oh, I’m not supposed to be saying that to you.

Before letting Melissa go so that we could take selfies, we wanted to know more about her upcoming clothing line for boys. The King of Harts clothing line will be for boys ages 2 – 12 and will be in boutiques starting March 1st.

Interview on the set of Melissa & Joey
Photo Credit: ABC FAMILY/ Eric McCandless

I want to thank both Melissa and Joey for being gracious enough to let us have a few minutes of their time to ask the questions you wanted answered. I’ve already watched the winter premiere that debuts this week, but let me tell you that you’ll see a lot of bedroom action in this episode. Tune in and let me know what you think!

Want to hear what Joey had to say? Check out my full interview with Joey Lawrence on the set of Melissa & Joey.

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Don’t forget to tune in to ABC Family on January 14th at 8/7c for the winter premier of Melissa & Joey.

You can watch full episodes on

ABC Family on Social Media

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

Don’t forget to tune in to ABC Family on January 14th at 8/7c for the winter premier of Melissa & Joey.

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  1. How cool!!! I’ve always wondered what Melissa Joan Hart is like in “real life”. I’ve envisioned her being a down to earth person like us, but you really never know. She sounds fun! 🙂

    1. She really was down to earth, Mandee. She talked about her family and how it’s difficult to be away from them for long periods of time.