Jordana Spiro dishes about dating on and off the set of her hit TV show.
What happens when your best friends are guys and you start to fall for one of them?
That tricky little dilemma is playing out this season on My Boys, the TBS comedy series about a female sportswriter with a successful career and a posse of close guy friends. Jordana Spiro plays P.J. Franklin, who has a crush on her poker buddy, Bobby (Kyle Howard), though he remains unaware of it. The second season opener answered the question raised in the Season One cliffhanger: which man did PJ invite on a trip to Rome? But the poor girl's romantic dreams were dashed when Bobby clearly wanted to remain a buddy, and P.J. chickened out on opening up to him.
"She thinks that she's this really aggressive person and that she's not a wallflower. But she'll make that first step and as soon as there's not a sign she's making the right choice she pulls back, as if she didn't care in the first place," Spiro, 31, analyzes her alter ego's behavior. The situation grows more complicated when Bobby, who begins dating the Swedish nanny employed by P.J.'s brother, comes up with a solution to the girl's immigration issues—and it involves the words "I do." Naturally, P.J. takes on the role of wedding planner.
"You know when you have a crush on somebody and just want to be around them? P.J. genuinely believes that she's doing it for him as a friend and she's convincing herself of that. But she just wants to be around him, which is so sweet," says Spiro, who reveals that the so far unlucky in love P.J. will get a new love interest later in the season.
Spiro uses words like endearing, energetic, dorky and real to describe P.J., who's more comfortable drinking beer and playing poker with her guy friends than on a date. She's in a steady relationship now, but finds plenty of familiarity in her character's situation.
"In my early 20s I lived in a house where I was the only girl with seven guys," she relates, noting that she has "adopted more girlfriends as I've gotten older. It is really a different dynamic," she compares male and female friends. "I think you can be as close with guys, but the nature of the relationship is very different." Also like P.J., Spiro has experience with unrequited love.
"I've had where I wanted it to be more," she concedes. And in another scenario, "He wanted it to be more with me and I just wanted to be friends. So he put aside his feelings. And then it reversed. But he had a girlfriend. Timing is everything!" she laughs.
What attracted her to her current boyfriend, who's also in show business?
"It's that indescribable connection—it's undeniable. It's the bond of friendship. And he's got nice eyes," smiles Spiro, whose biggest problem these days is finding time to see him. "I see why people date people in the industry. It's the scheduling," she explains. "You go from unemployed and having nothing to do to being so busy that you literally can't get your laundry and there's no food in the refrigerator. It's hard. I think a lot of people want to understand, and do for maybe six months to a year, but then they don't." She realizes busy lives aren't exclusive to Hollywood, "but it helps that your mate gets what you're doing." She's not sure, however, that she wants to be married.
"I want a partnership," declares Spiro. "And I'm not totally convinced that the term marriage these days symbolizes that partnership. With a 50% divorce rate I don't know how much it counts anymore." She believes many relationships fail because of unrealistic expectations. "I think we collectively feel like being happy means being happy at every given moment, and I don't know that that's what we should be looking for," she muses, offering the idea of contentment as a more attainable goal. "For some reason we have it in our minds that we need exuberant happiness otherwise there's something wrong. I think our expectations are a little high. We should just have a more realistic view of it."
Spiro does "absolutely" want children, but doesn't hear any ticking clocks. "Not yet. But I love kids," says the actress, who grew up with three sisters and a brother in New York City.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and with such previous credits as The Huntress, One World, and JAG on TV and the movie Must Love Dogs, Spiro has two upcoming film comedies to add to her resumé: she'll play Jimmy Fallon's childhood crush in The Year of Getting to Know Us and play Jeremy Piven's love interest—and James Brolin's daughter—in The Goods: The Don Ready Story.
But she's not ready to leave P.J.—or what she calls "the best job ever"—any time soon, and she finds that playing one of the Boys does have its pluses and minuses. Her sports knowledge quotient has gone way up, she reports. But her poker game, she confesses, isn't any better.
"Actually," she laughs, "I think I've gotten worse!"