Mark Leiren-Young / Vancouver Sun
VANCOUVER — For a comic actor, scoring the lead in a sitcom is a dream come true, but when Vancouver’s Randal Edwards landed a role in Package Deal (which debuts Monday, Sept. 30, at 8:30 p.m. on City) the reality became even wilder when the series signed a guest star who had featured in a childhood fantasy or two — Pamela Anderson.
“She’s the girl my generation grew up dreaming about,” Edwards told The Sun. “I was instantly reduced to my fourteen-year-old self anytime I was around her.”
While Anderson launched her career courtesy of Playboy (she was discovered after appearing on the big screen at a BC Lion’s Game) and became iconic as the beach babe on Baywatch, the Ladysmith native is a sitcom veteran. Anderson was “the Tool Time girl” on Home Improvement, and has starred in several comedy series including Stacked and V.I.P. In Package Deal, Anderson plays a therapist treating Edwards’s character, Danny (a defence attorney).
“She was so funny and eager to play with us on set,” said Edwards. “She really wanted to be as funny as she could but also made us as funny as we could be too. And, yeah, she definitely knows how to bat those eyelashes.”
Edwards was also star-struck by another series guest star — American Pie dad Eugene Levy.
“He was much more reserved than I thought he’d be,” says Edwards. “I didn’t really say a whole lot to him the first half day we worked together because inside I was like ‘Holy crap, that’s Eugene Levy.’ But by the end of the week I felt like I’d been given a free education. He was great. So subtle too. He could do more with a look than most could ever do with a teed-up punch line.”
Package Deal tells the story of three brothers whose relationship is a little too tight, and the woman who comes between them. “It’s a hilarious tug of war for my character, Danny’s, attention,” Edwards said.
The 13-episode series created by Emmy-nominated producer Andrew Orenstein (Malcolm in the Middle, 3rd Rock from the Sun) was shot in front of a studio audience in Vancouver, which was a treat for Edwards.
“For me, shooting at home was the best part. I basically had my own section in the audience for friends and family for every live show, it was great … Having my parents and siblings in the audience every week was unreal. Also Subeez, where I used to bartend, became our unofficial post-show drink spot each week, which was awesome.”
His character’s smothering siblings are played by Harland Williams (There’s Something About Mary), Jay Malone (Monk), and his on-screen dream woman is played by Julia Voth (Bitch Slap). After raving about his co-stars, Edwards adds, “Harland Williams is hands down the craziest person I’ve ever been in human contact with.”
And the two extra special guest stars — who each appeared in three episodes?
“Eugene was a lot quieter than I thought he’d be,” says Edwards. “And Pamela was just really down to earth. I think I had her built up to be this big star, which she is, but at the core she’s just a really smart, pretty girl from the island.”