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December 31, 2013

New made-in-Vancouver sitcom launches January 6


Sabrina Furminger – WE Vancouver

For Ellie Harvie, there’s something cozy and familiar about her role on YTV’s new kid-centric Some Assembly Required, even though it’s her first time on a sitcom.

“I really think, as an actor, I’m designed for sitcoms,” the Vancouver-based actress says.

It’s a bold statement, but Harvie has the experience to back it up. She cut her teeth as part of the trailblazing Vancouver TheatreSports League, and boasts a lengthy list of theatre, film, and television credits, including a high-profile stint as Morticia Addams on The New Addams Family.

Now, as the conniving Candace Wheeler on Some Assembly Required, she’s performing in that happy place where comedy, live performance, and television intersect.

“Every genre I’ve done has required a different muscle group, but in Some Assembly Required, I get to use a lot of muscle groups,” she says. In particular, her theatre chops are getting a workout. “In theatre and in sitcoms, you’ve got to stay in the moment, even when you’re not talking, and you have to be present and engaged.”

Some Assembly Required follows the adventures of 14-year-old Jarvis Raines (portrayed by YouTube sensation Kolton Stewart) and his ragtag teen employees as they run a toy company called Knickknack Toys.

As Knickknack’s former owner, Harvie’s Candace is the meanie in the mix. “It’s really fun playing someone who is completely self-absorbed,” laughs Harvie. “There’s something really funny about just the one-note of, ‘I want what I want.’ I get to do some pretty fun stuff that women don’t really get to do.”

Harvie is the lone adult in a sea of teenagers. Such a position took some getting used to. “I have a six-year-old, so teens are kind of new to me. I keep thinking they’re just grown-ups, and then I have to stop myself from saying off-colour jokes,” she says.

Despite this restraint, she’s in awe of her young colleagues. “They are remarkable,” she raves. “I can’t imagine having had the confidence that they have at that age. I certainly didn’t.”

Filmed in front of a live studio audience in Burnaby, Some Assembly Required is the latest in a string of sitcoms to film in the Lower Mainland. The list also includes Citytv’s Package Deal and YTV’s recently wrapped Mr. Young, which was produced by the same team behind Some Assembly Required. “Sitcoms are new for Vancouver, and it’s so exciting that they have added to what we do in this city,” says Harvie.

Some Assembly Required premieres on YTV at 6:30pm on January 6. To reserve a spot in the live studio audience, email someassemblylive@gmail.com.