Monica Lacy talks about Amazon's The Kicks, authentic modern family portrayals on television, conquering real life issues and so much more!
For anyone that hasn’t seen Amazon's The Kicks or read the book series by Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan that it was based off of, can you give us a bit synopsis on what it’s about?
This is a family-friendly show that centers around 12-year-old Devin and her family when they move from Connecticut to Southern California, and all the challenges she, her 10-year-old brother Bailey, and her parents face as they begin a new phase of life.
Devin is forced to join a terrible soccer team at school, and leaves behind a seriously good one, which threatens to hamper her olympic aspirations. We watch her join an unlikely gang of girls on the team and struggle to get the others focused on soccer. It’s authentic and funny too, focusing on friendship, heart, and following your dreams. Plus, there are really great sports sequences and cliff hangers that will have you on the edge of your seat, I promise.
You play Sharon Burke, one of the very few adult voices on the show and both Bailey and Devon’s mother. Can you tell us a little bit about her?
Sharon is determined to support and “soften the blow” of the cross-country move for her kids and husband, while also struggling with missing her own friends back home and adjusting to life in sunny California. Despite her “put together” and ebullient exterior, Sharon is struggling to launch an event planning business, which turns out to be far more difficult than she had imagined. She also lonely and fails at times to make new friends even as she’s really the backbone of the Burke family. She’s the cheerleader and voice of reason most of the time, often in contrast to her hilarious yet irrational husband, Tom (Tim Martin Gleason).
Was there something in particular that drew you to the show and to Sharon?
I absolutely loved the messages that The Kicks delivers! It’s a show about grit, determination and sacrificing to make your dreams happen. The fact that the lead character is a teen girl and a teen athlete is especially unique on television today. Plus, Devin is not obsessed with her looks, fashion or boys, which I find appealing and the opposite of many family shows available on television today. Devin is a great role model too. The parents are depicted as flawed humans who also struggle with loneliness and fitting in; it’s not exclusively about the foibles and struggles of the teens… this is really a more balanced approach to a family these days. And I really liked that sometimes the kids have a bit of advice for their parents and not just vice versa. The script by David Babcock for the pilot reflected an authentic, modern family that I recognized and liked immediately.
Prior to your work on The Kicks, were you a huge fan of soccer? Did you pick up any soccer skills and/or knowledge from working on the show?
Actually, I played soccer as a girl through high school. That said, Sixx Orange, who plays my daughter Devin, is an elite soccer player and the game has evolved to a point I hardly recognize. Sixx is a serious athlete and she likely could make a career out of it one day. Also, the level of commitment that club soccer and all club sports demands these days is mind blowing. It really does take a commitment from the whole family to support these young athletes and their dream. I can really relate to this life, as I also have 2 kids the same age as Sixx and Gabe (Eggerling), my kids on the show.
With season one finished, what would you say was favorite part of the season for Sharon and for you in general?
My favorite part was developing a real authentic relationship with the kids and my TV family on The Kicks. I think as I grew fond of Sixx, Gabe and Tim, it was evident on the screen as well. It was life imitating art, so to speak. It was really fun to see Sharon get advice from her son when he busts her for trying way too hard to make new friends; I loved that scene. I also loved the sports scenes. Even though I knew it’s not “real”, it’s hard not to get caught up in the competition of a soccer game when you are cheering on the sidelines. It was fun to discover the humor that can only come out when two actors start to know each other and can be free when the cameras are rolling. Sometimes those are the best moment in a show.
What are some things that you’d love to see happen with the Burkes or for Sharon in season two?
I’d love to see her actually get a real event planning gig and watch her be a fish out of water in the celebrity-laden Los Angeles culture. Sharon comes from a more pure and classic place. I was so excited when I finally read the scripts for season one because I couldn’t have imagined how complex and deep the storylines were. I hope that I get to do some “bonding” with my son Bailey over something too. Bailey and Sharon are sort of opposites; he's more rational where she's more impulsively and planned out… it could be funny! Also, what if Bailey, who’s definitely not a ball-throwing person, were to go out for a sport? How would his sister, the star, feel?
Can you think of examples of other shows or movies whose fans will really be into "The Kicks" once they have decided to watch it?
I think fans of any Disney or Nickelodeon show will love The Kicks. It’s got heart, humor but feels more authentic and real, which sets it apart.
Anyone who loves a good sports movie, like “Rudy" or "The Blind Side", will love the classic sports-movie concepts, suspense and themes of overcoming great odds. Boys and girls who love caper movies like "The Parent Trap" or "Adventures in Babysitting" will love all the pranks the girls pull on their crosstown rivals, Pinewood Academy. Parents who are fans of "Gilmore Girls" and “Parenthood" will appreciate the authentic depiction of a real family, warts and all, that could live next door to you.
Watchtivist was created “for the active watchers of entertainment.” I’d love to know what shows/movies you’re currently hooked on. What are YOU binge-ing right now?
Like everyone else I know, I’m obsessed with "Stranger Things". I also just discovered “Fargo”, the series; it’s so good! I love the quirky and unique characters that populate both of those shows. I also binge watched “Love” by Judd Apatow because I would binge watch any Judd Apatow project! It was painful, cringe-inducing and lovely. “Veep" and "Last Man on Earth" were also recent binges, as well as "Game of Thrones". I am huge TV fan!
If you could join the cast of one of the shows you're binge-ing, which would it be? What type of character on that show and why that show/character?
I would love to be on “Veep" and play a Capitol Hill staffer; not only is that a character I’ve never played, but I’d love to play with the speedy comedic delivery that is the style on “Veep” and work with Julia Louis Dreyfus again, I did one episode of “Seinfeld" back in the day. She is my comic hero and inspires me for sure. Over the years she’s had me laughing hysterically on each of her TV shows. She just cracks me up.
And lastly, is there anything else you would like to say to the readers and viewers?
Thank you for voting online when The Kicks was just a pilot on Amazon, and letting them know you loved this show! Your input helped bring it back as a full series. And, if you have yet to watch The Kicks - give it a shot! I think you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised and definitely entertained. Thank you, Watchtivist, for the chance to share my opinions with your readers and viewers. Fellow Watchtivists, keep chasing your dreams and keep after whatever it is you are passionate about. You won’t regret it.. promise!