Being a business owner requires a lot of hard work, dedication and perseverance. Running your business with your best friend requires an extra dose of courage, and that’s just what besties Jordan and Paige are determined to do in MTV’s new series Mary + Jane. Starring Scout Durwood and Jessica Rothe, the show explores the ups and downs of running a semi-legal weed delivery service in Los Angeles. As you can imagine, things get pretty sticky. Don’t miss the season premiere of Mary + Jane on Monday, September 5th at 10/9c on MTV!
Tell me a little about the premise of the show and your characters.
Scout Durwood: Well it’s about two entrepreneurs trying to make it on the East side of L.A. with their weed prescription delivery service. There’s Jordan…
Jessica Rothe: Played by Scout!
S: And Paige played by Jessica. The show’s definitely relationship-based with an antic included in each episode. When I say relationship-based, I mean grounded in exploring female friendship and the trials and tribulations of owning a business with someone you live with, who also happens to be your best friend. One of things I really love about the show are the Odd Couple meets I Love Lucy meets
Laverne and Shirley vibes. Deb and Harry [the creators] did an amazing job of taking inspiration from all of those classic, wonderful, empowering female duos, and then riffing on it and making something new, fresh, and young. That’s one of the things I loved about filming the show.
What drew you to the project?
S: We both came into it at different times. For me, it was a project I auditioned for. I was coming from the comedy world, pushing to get cast into this blind with Deb and Harry, who I hadn’t worked with before. I think part of what makes the show incredibly rich is that the pressure doesn’t really fall on the shoulders of one person. Both Deb and Harry have very different opinions and that’s all in the show. Jess and I are very different actresses, and that’s definitely in the show.
It wasn’t one of us writing for ourselves, which can be amazing, but Deb and Harry wrote things for each of us that terrified us and that we would have never thought of. The scope of the show became this huge wonderful thing because it wasn’t limited by any one person’s perception of either who we are as people, who the characters are, or what this world that they live is like.
J: I think when you write for yourself you’re always like “But I’m garbage, I’m the worst!” and that element definitely isn’t a part of our characters. We’re both very braggy and happy, and I do think one of the things that they really nailed was these aren’t women who are acting like girls. We’re acting like idiots sure, but I don’t think we need to talk about how badly we want a boyfriend. The comedy comes from us trying to figure stuff, like how to run a business without being in constant freak out mode. My character is very Type A though haha.
How has it been to work with Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont? Can’t Hardly Wait really kicked off the teen flick craze during the late 90s/early 00s, and paved the way for a lot of other movies around similar subject matter.
S: They’re a dream! Even though this is the first season, with two relatively unknown leads they were still able to pull Seth Green because their reputation’s great and the work that they’ve done is great. Show business is a really long road and they’re such temples in it. They had the freedom to be like “We don’t even care, we’re going to do what we want!” with this show! The fact that it ended up being so directly on the pulse of what’s going on is pretty cool.
J: They’re so intelligent. The show is so well rounded—there’s a lot of social commentary, there’s political satire going on. Both Deb and Harry are so smart and have so much heart. They are such incredible writers, so the show functions on these different levels, which makes it so exciting as a performer. When I auditioned for it, the biggest thing for me was the script and how full it was, how much we get to tackle. In each episode they surprised me, surprised us, I would say, both in what we got to do, but also in all the crazy kooky things that would happen to us in the episode.
Have you learned anything from your character’s mistakes that you would apply to real life scenarios?
J: Yes, 100%! As we were shooting, some story lines started getting closer and closer to things that were happening in our personal lives. Not all of them, but a lot of them, to the point where we’d read it and be like “Oh my god this is funny, this is really, really … oh god I have to say … so close to home.” I think it taught me to remember that you should always laugh at yourself. I think a lot of the time, the moral for Paige is that she shouldn’t take herself so seriously.
I really love what we explore about relationships—asking for a relationship in which you’re valued and not settling for something. I love the things we say about female friendship. The stuff we say about being competitive, because I think this business is such a competitive one and even someone who’s your close close friend, you can be happy for them and still have conflicting feelings. So how do you deal with that in a graceful way?
How will the show differ from other stoner driven comedies that are currently on the air (Broad City, High Maintenance)? What do you think is it about pot culture that resonates with viewers today?
S: We get the Broad City comparison a lot and I think they’re genius, brilliant, wonderful funny women—I’m totally obsessed. But I will say this, I think one of the major differences is that we’re just shooting at a different target. It’s not a show written by stoners, it’s not a show you have to be high to watch. The presence of marijuana just gives us permission to be weird.
J: To me the main similarities between our show and Broad City, is that these are shows that feature two women figuring out their lives, living in a city. But New York and Los Angeles are completely different cities. I also think the fact that we aren’t writing for ourselves changes the tone quite a bit. I think that one of the things they do so beautifully on Broad City is writing for themselves, but I think that in our show we’re really playing characters. We’re not playing versions of ourselves, which is a huge difference.
S: I also think the community of people that it took to build the show makes it unique. Everyone on set loved everybody else!
J: It was a really unique community of awesome hybrid people. Not just comedians, or just actors—everybody was this beautiful hybrid of both. I think that our show is so heightened by the fact that we really were challenged by the script, our directors, and ourselves to find the truth and get grounded in our characters. Even when a bathroom is flooding, or we’re dealing with time travel, or a 90s throwback party, or a heist—all of these things happen and feel real, and you believe these girls are there. It’s not just happening because people are stoned, if that makes sense.