The first season of the TBS cop comedy “Angie Tribeca” made a big splash in January with a 25-hour marathon.
And tonight, just a few months later, the series debuts its second season.
The show, created by Nancy and Steve Carell and starring Rashida Jones in the title role, is in the vein of absurdist police shows like “The Naked Gun” and “Sledge Hammer!” — characters with silly names like Jay Geils, DJ Tanner and Dr. Monica Scholls tackle oddball crimes.
amNewYork spoke with Andrée Vermeulen, who plays Scholls, the team’s medical examiner, about the show.
How has the response been to the first season?
It’s been really wonderful, and the measure for me personally is people within the comedy community have really been championing it, which is amazing. I think we all are supportive of each other. But there are just so many shows and there’s just no way to watch all the shows all of your friends are on. I’ve been really, really impressed and touched by the amount of people in the comedy community who are watching it and verbally expressing how wonderful they think it is, so that is kind of nuts and really great.
Are they all trying to get guest spots?
Oh, my friends? Yeah, they’re like, “Get me on!” Yeah, after Bill Murray.
What’s coming up for Dr. Scholls this season?
Oh boy, she really has an interesting season. We get to see more of the domestic life of Scholls, the love life of Scholls. We get to see her house, which is so cool and strange. But basically, what would it be like if a robot fell in love, and I promise you, it’s bizarre.
You guys are saying such absurd stuff. Is it hard to not break out in laughter?
It’s pretty hard. I think I have a little bit easier of a time because in order to do that Scholls character, I really have to slip into it. I feel like I’m putting a wet suit on. And then I’m just securely inside of it and I don’t break until we call cut. Sometimes it’s impossible. There have been times, for sure, in season two where I just lose it. That’s the worst. Once you start laughing, it’s very hard to get it back. I flip it like a light switch. She’s very different from me. In life I’m very bubbly and animated and very smiley. Scholls is so cold and robotic and monotone.
Did you find inspiration from any cop shows?
I didn’t pull from any specific shows because I think most of us have grown up watching all of the cop dramas, whether you watch an episode here or there or you religiously watch it. When there’s a “Law & Order” marathon on, it’s very hard not to watch. I’ve watched those things growing up, but I didn’t pull from any specific character and I actually approached her like a sketch comedy character. I’ve come up through improv and then sketch comedy, and when I originally read the script and the character and the breakdown, I thought I was wrong for the role because I am very bubbly and animated. ... So I just approached her as a sketch character. I created a wardrobe, I put the glasses on, I put my hair up, I wore all black and white, which is so funny — that’s how she dresses now. It’s pretty cool — I created that look for her and the producers were on board with continuing that look. That was really great for me. I felt like I really had a hand in creating this monster. Otherwise, acting wise, I treated her like a sketch character. The most interesting thing for me has been continuing to play this character. Normally when you do a sketch, it lasts 3 minutes and then you don’t do that character again for a long time, maybe never again. ... So the challenge for me was continuing to play this character and grounding her and fleshing her out.
You share a lot of scenes with Alfred Molina, who plays scientist Dr. Edelweiss. How is it working with him?
He’s so wonderful. He’s such a class act. He’s so kind and funny and warm on set, just as a person. So in that respect, he’s just really pleasant to be around. I think we’ve been pretty lucky with this show. We don’t have any divas or monsters on set. Everybody’s so nice and always in a good mood.
She’s great. She’s the captain of the ship, so she’s got to keep the whole thing running. I don’t know how she does it sometimes. She’s in almost every scene, she puts in the longest hours, she has the most lines. She shows up on set pleasant. She’s also helping in casting. She has writing jobs on the side — she was writing “Toy Story 4.” I just don’t know how she does it. I kind of feel like she must have that hourglass time splitting that Hermione had in “Harry Potter.” ... I’m pretty convinced that Rashida must have that because she’s 100% there when she’s there. I would be so scattered. She’s such a professional and just so wonderful to be around. Just a cool person.
How do you pronounce your name, and what is the funniest way people have butchered it?
An-dray Ver-mew-lan. I just think it’s funny that a lot of people think that I’m not allowed to have my name. Most people call me Dre, and that has come out of frustration with my first name. Yes, it’s a cool nickname. So if I say, “Hi, I’m Andrée,” they’ll say, “Andrea?” As if I don’t know what my name is! It’s so weird. “Oh yes, I’m sorry, I mess up my own name all the time!” It’s so strange. People can’t accept it. And then if they do accept that it’s Andrée, they have to tell me how that’s a boy’s name. As if I’m not allowed to exist in the world as I am. And then I just kind of laugh, or I tell them it’s a French name, it can be male or female, you add an “e” to it to make it feminine. It’s like Rene or Renée. And then they’re like, “Ohhh, yeah.” But it’s just so silly to me. ... And then my last name, forget it.
Did you ever consider changing it?
I thought about changing my name early on, when I was in college, and the tricky thing is if I add an American name, I sound like I’m in the NBA or the WNBA. No, but it sounds like a male’s name. Andrée Brown, point guard for the Lakers. It doesn’t sound right. ... If I tried to do a French last name, it sounded more foreign than my name. So if I was Andrée Bardot, it sounds like, “Oh, you don’t speak English.” So I just kept my name and decided, let’s educate people. I don’t know if it’s working.