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Rachael Harris on Notes from the Underbelly

Published April 12, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of ABC.
Notes from the Underbelly Notes from the Underbelly
Every domestic comedy has to have the sarcastic friend making comments about how miserably the day to day responsibilities are. Few could do it better than Rachael Harris, who made a mini-career out of snarky comments on the VH1 I Love the '80s/90s recap shows. On Notes from the Underbelly, she plays Cooper, humorously supportive friend of newly pregnant mom to be Lauren (Jennifer Westfeldt).

Rachael Harris on Notes from the Underbelly


"I try to have all of my characters, they don’t think they’re bad people," explained Harris. "They’re just doing what they have to do to get along. My character in particular is a divorce attorney and she’s seen so many divorces that she really believes it’s horrible. People live in loveless marriages and I really think you guys are lucky but it will end soon. She’s really just being honest and she’s a bit jaded because she’s seen it all."

In real life, Harris is a bit more optimistic than Cooper. "This show actually is very good because my husband and I are completely in a position where we can have children. My mother, being from Ohio is breathing down our necks to have children and we really are seriously considering it because it’s the ultimate risk and it’s the ultimate commitment and we love our life. We love our life and we love our friends and we love to eat, just running out to the alcove, I live in Los Feliz."

An expert at improv from The Groundlings and Christopher Guest movies, sticking to the script is no problem for Harris either. "It’s sort of comparing apples and oranges. Improv is one thing where you get to just being the moment and say whatever comes out and that’s great, but there’s a lot of pressure. You go home feeling like, ‘Ugh, I should have said this or I should have said that.’ What’s great about this show is that it’s so well written and Barry [Sonenfeld]’s such a great director that he allows us to do a little bit of both. Like we’ll do everything word for word, and then Barry will say, ‘Rachel, just go for it and have fun and make it your own.’ So it’s tough. I like them both. I really honestly would have to say I like them equally. It’s just if I’ve done a lot of scripted stuff, then I start yearning for improv and if I’ve done a ton of improve, then I want to do more scripted."



Of course, it helps when you don't HAVE to change the script. "The script was very real and funny, dialogue wasn’t stilted. I could relate to it because many of my friends have babies and children and I just liked that these were real people."

Her connection with Sonenfeld helped seal the deal for Notes. "The first time I met him, I went to visit my friend Cheryl Hines working on RV. But I think he thought I was like the nanny with her because I just was carrying her child and hanging out and we didn’t talk about myself. So when I went in to audition for him, he said, ‘Oh, that’s right, you’re Cheryl’s friend.’ And I said yeah and he said, ‘That’s right, you have that weird voice.’ And I knew instantly, I was like, ‘Oh, I love him’ because he’s so direct and so honest and I knew I have a weird voice. I have an interesting voice and I just loved how candid and honest and open he is so that was super fun for me."

Notes from the Underbelly premieres on ABC Thursday, April 12th.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of ABC.
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