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When Rules of Engagement premiered seven years ago on CBS, two characters played by Bianca Kajlich and Oliver Hudson had just gotten engaged and were moving in together. Now, four in-show years later, their characters Jen and Adam are still engaged, but Kajlich and Hudson have teased wedding bells could be in their future.
Spinoff Online caught up with the two actors during a press day celebrating the syndication of Rules of Engagement (which began this week; check your local listings here). In addition to potential wedding plans, the two talked about their favorite moments in the series, pranking each other in front of a live audience and what their dream plot points would be. Hint: It involves the actual cast traveling to Italy.
Spinoff Online: You two have had a long engagement, so who do you think will be the one to push a wedding?
Bianca Kajlich: That’s a good question.
Oliver Hudson: You know, probably me, because usually you would expect the woman to, but I think in this relationship the roles are a bit reversed. I’m more female. I have more estrogen, she has more testosterone.
Kajlich: You’re also more optimistic and, from what we know a little bit of how it’s going to happen, it sounds like a chain of events happen, we don’t get to do something the way we wanted to, and it makes sense that you would probably be the one to say, “We can still do it.”
Hudson: True. I’m going to say me.
Kajlich: I agree. I take that, too.
Since you’ve had so long to plan, where do you think these two will finally tie the knot?
Hudson: We kind of found out today.
Can you tease a little bit of it? Do you want to?
Kajlich: We can probably say that it’s not in a place where you would expect two people to get married.
Hudson: Very good. It is unconventional.
Do you think that you’ll bring back the subway band to play at the ceremony?
Hudson: That was fun, playing on the drums. [laughs] That was funny. “I’m looking for my guys,” I say to the police officers. That was funny. That was good, that was a good episode.
We’re entering the seventh season, you guys have been syndicated, and it’s been a long fun journey. What have been some of your favorite moments looking back?
Kajlich: Being here. [laughs]
Hudson: Yeah, just working. Consistency. For me, whenever people come up to me and tell me they like the show, they always talk about the cheerleading episode where I reveal to her —
Kajlich: That was like your peak.
Hudson: That was my peak! That was it. That was my peak. Everything else has started sliding downhill. But that was a funny scene that we did in our apartment, when I’ve got the pin and you’re like, “Yeah, are you a football player?” and I’m like, “No.” And I revealed to her that I was a cheerleader. [laughs] And I put on my whole outfit and uniform and spin that girl. That was memorable for me. That was fun.
Kajlich: I also like the episode, because I felt like it hit a little bit close to home —
Hudson: Where we get stoned?
Kajlich: [laughs] I did like that one, although I didn’t think it was possible to not want to eat any more cookies. I thought I was going to be ill, we were stuffing our faces. But no, the one where I’m trying to diet and you bring home your snacks and so you lock them up in the cupboard and he comes home and I’ve taken the doors off of the cupboard and I’m like shoving donuts in my face. I thought that was really funny.
That one strikes home to you?
Kajlich: Yeah, because I had fun. I got to shove doughnuts in my face.
This is a show that’s been shuffled around a lot in CBS’s schedule over the years. What do you think it is that keeps audiences coming back? What do you think they respond most to?
Hudson: The relatability, you know? Everyone’s been through sort of an aspect of a relationship, whether it’s first love, or being newly engaged as we are, or David Spade’s character, who is sort of the consummate single man, or 14 years of marriage. We sort of cover all demographics. There’s something for everyone.
Kajlich: Yeah, and I was saying earlier that it’s just a very familiar formula which I think appeals to people. I think it’s not rocket science. You’re coming in, you get to turn on the TV and enjoy a half hour with some crazy kooky characters. I’ve always said it’s like macaroni and cheese; it’s good comfort food for the soul.
So what are the rules of engagement that we’ve learned about a four year engagement?
Kajlich: That men and women are very different.
Hudson: The rules of engagement in relation to our show is do it fast, get married fast or otherwise you’ll be engaged for seven [seasons].
How have you guys responded to filming in front of a live audience for the past six seasons?
Kajlich: It’s amazing. It’s so fun. It’s such an instant gratification of whether something is working or not. I think we can be as good as we want to be in our rehearsals, but it’s noticeably the game is upped every time we sit down and that’s full of people. It makes you feel like you’re putting on a play every week, and you don’t get that as an actor in a lot of different venues. You don’t get the feel of these people watching you.
Hudson: But the good thing is you can do it again. I like that part. It’s a play that you can do over and over until it’s right.
Kajlich: [laughs] That’s true.
Kajlich: Any time anybody screws up, the audience love it. They love to see you kind of humanized.
Hudson: But we’ve done a few things in the diner where the laughter just continues and continues and continues.
Kajlich: Honestly, oddly enough, it tends to be reactions. I feel like it’s more silence, but two people reacting off each other, someone says a funny thing and then you hold it and the reactions are kind of there.
Hudson: There’s always a few each season where something is said and they laugh for so long that you can’t really continue.
Kajlich: You know what else the audience always loves? When Olly goes out there beforehand, before we even start the show —
Hudson: This was a good joke I did.
Kajlich: — and tells them that they are to sit quietly and politely clap when each of us are introduced but, when Oliver comes out, then there’s an uproarious standing ovation with hoots and hollers.
Hudson: It goes two of them, and then I come out, and then there’s two more, so it’s the middle. So Spade goes out and you barely hear an applause, and then Bianca goes out and maybe an applause, and then I go out and then everyone goes completely apeshit, and then Megyn goes out and it’s just silence again. Everyone sits back down. It was really funny. Megyn kind of got mad.
Kajlich: And it was so strange. I was like, “This is the worst audience we’ve ever had,” and then it all made sense. We tried to get him back.
Hudson: Oh, my God.
Kajlich: It kind of backfired.
Hudson: I bring my kids, and they’ll usually come out with me, run out with me just for fun. And they were planning this moment for me, and it was like, “Oliver Hudson,” whatever, I have Wilder and the whole time [Bianca’s] like, “Wilder, why don’t you come with me,” sort of oddly. I’m like, “No, he’s fine, he’s done this a million times.” I come out and everyone starts booing me and throwing paper, and now Wilder is getting hit with, like, papers.
How old is your son?
Hudson: He was 4.
Kajlich: He did not understand.
Hudson: It sort of backfired.
Kajlich: It did backfire.
Hudson: Therapy bills.
I know that Wendi McLendon-Covey is coming back this season, which is really exciting, but are there any other guest stars who you’ve had before that you’d like to have return in the future for this season?
Hudson: I don’t even know who could come back. I don’t even know. Brian Dennehy was great. He was awesome. I didn’t really get to work with him. He’s just a great actor.
Kajlich: I like the guy who plays the fertility doctor. He was great. I was saying earlier we just really honestly love it when it’s us. It’s great to have these guest stars and certainly people like Wendi and Sarah [Rue] who have been here for the long haul, but it’s really special when it’s just the six of us.
It’s sort of rare to have a show that’s been on for so long but also has the same core cast. Usually you see other people come through, so that must be fun for you guys.
Kajlich: Fun for us but it might be a bad sign for our show. [laughs]
But you guys keep coming back!
Kajlich: I know.
Hudson: A hundred episodes. When you really think about it, that’s pretty crazy. We’ve done a hundred episodes. That’s a lot.
If you guys could pick your dream plot point, what would it be?
Kajlich: I want one where we go somewhere together. All of us together is always the funniest.
Hudson: Dream plot point would be, how about, Jeff wins a trip to … Tahiti? Or we go to Europe?
Kajlich: Europe would be funnier.
Hudson: To Italy. And he decides to bring all of us, and we actually have to go to Italy to shoot the show. That would be the dream plot.
Eight seasons and Italy. We’ll start a hashtag,
Rules of Engagement began airing in syndication this week. You can check here for where it’s airing in your area. The show will also return to CBS in its seventh season later this year.