A native of San Diego, it wasn’t much of a move for Marissa Tait to head to Los Angeles when she unexpectedly snagged a role on the popular daytime soap The Bold and the Beautiful.
Now, Marissa heads to primetime in CBS’ Baby Bob, as Bob’s babysitter Teala, who’s in on the 6-month-old’s ability to talk, only no one else knows that she knows.
Marissa is just one cog in an impressive cast that includes Adam Arkin, Joely Fisher, Elliott Gould and Holland Taylor, but we know it’s just a matter of time before her star shines just as brightly as the rest of her showmates.
We talked to Marissa about Baby Bob, what it’s like to work with such a veteran, accomplished cast, and the trials of working on a midseason replacement.
What are your first impressions of Baby Bob?
Marissa Tait: I like it! I saw the first show Monday, with everybody else, and I laughed….I thought it was fun. I think it’s a really nice show; there’s nothing else out there like it.
Is doing the show hard? I mean, you have to act opposite a live baby that can’t talk–they do the magic CGI stuff afterward–yet you still have to react as if the baby can.
Tait: I don’t think so. Sometimes you work with actors who don’t act with you. [Laughs.] It’s interesting. The most interesting experience I had with the baby came my very last day of filming, and for some reason, the poor baby was so tired that she kept falling asleep in my lap.
You use a female baby to play a baby boy?
Tait: Well, we use a few babies. The baby [Bob] is supposed to stay the same age the whole time. So if the show goes five years, we’re always going to have to switch out the baby. But yes, for the last four shows, we’ve used a girl baby to play a boy baby.
Did your work on the daytime soap The Bold and the Beautiful prepare you for work on a primetime sitcom?
Tait: I think it did. I think any bit of experience helps you. And actually, on that show, I played a teenage mom, so I also got to work with babies then. So, yeah, it definitely helps.
Baby Bob has a stellar cast. What’s it like with them on the set?
Tait: I’ve gotten a lot from them [Adam Arkin, Joely Fisher, Elliott Gould, Holland Taylor]. For example, how they think about the show. They don’t just think about the show they’re doing right then and there, but they’re also thinking, “What’s the audience going to think of this?” They’re also thinking, “How are our characters going to be portrayed to them so that they care about us and care about the show?”
To be honest, I’d never thought about that before. I’ll never not think about that now. [Laughs.] And it’s just fun to watch them work because they have so much experience. Sometimes I’ll do something they do, and I’m like, “Oh, I’m on the right track. I do know what I’m doing.” And then other times, it’s “Oh, that’s a better way of doing something. Maybe I should try that.”
Will your character eventually get more screen time with the other characters?
Tait: I will. I am in four of the first six episodes–the way they worked out the contract, I’m considered recurring, but if the show goes longer than six episodes, then I’ll be considered regular, and my part will get a little bit bigger.
CBS has put this show in a wonderful time slot on Mondays. Your lead-ins will be The King of Queens this week, the top-10 Everybody Loves Raymond a couple times and audience darling Yes, Dear a few weeks. What are your odds of succeeding?
Tait: I think it’s a good show. I think people’s initial reaction is that it’s a little odd–a talking baby, woo hoo. But then they see it, and it’s really funny. And they laugh, and everybody misses laughing sometimes. When you can sit down and watch a show that makes you laugh out loud…I think they’re going to come back.
What makes the show so funny?
Tait: I think it’s the writing. Of course, I think it’s [the writers’] amazing talent, and a lot of credit has to go to Michael Salzman, the executive producer. This is his baby. He’s on set every day during filming; if the baby’s crying, he’s trying to cheer it up. He’ll go stand behind the couch and wiggle his glasses so that the baby will look in that direction so that we can get a certain shot. He’s in the editing booth every day, picking the right scenes with the editors to make the baby funny, going through hours and hours of footage for that right, split-second moment.
What’s the mood like on a midseason replacement set, given the general uncertainty over not having yet been picked up for another season, yet given a favorable Monday night time slot?
Tait: We didn’t know our airdate until we filmed the last two episodes, so we didn’t know when we would be on. What we did know was that CBS is really behind the show, and if they are behind the show, then we’ve got a pretty good chance.
What more can we expect from Marissa Tait? I mean, you still have legions of fans from your stint on The Bold and the Beautiful, not to mention the fans you’ll pick up from Baby Bob.
Tait: Actually, The Bold and the Beautiful were very nice. They sent me flowers after the first episode aired.
In general, I have very high aspirations. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be in movies. That’s where I want to go. I have two movies I am potentially going to do. A lot depends, though, on whether Baby Bob gets picked up and when we start filming again. As far as my character on the show, I think you’ll be seeing a lot more of her.
So, now that you’ve been living in L.A. for three years, are you into the whole Hollywood lifestyle?
Tait: No. [Laughs.] I enjoy, of course, going to the premieres and seeing the movies because that’s exciting, that’s fun. But as far as going out to Hollywood clubs and parties, that’s not my scene. I still drive the same car I drove in college, a ’95 Ford Escort. I have no air conditioning, my back defrost doesn’t work. And it’s just ’cause I figure I don’t need a new one.
Baby Bob airs Monday nights at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.