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Fran Drescher hopes 'Indebted' makes her parents happy

Fran Drescher from Indebted arrives on the red carpet at the NBC Midseason New York Press Junket at the Four Seasons hotel on January 23. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Fran Drescher from "Indebted" arrives on the red carpet at the NBC Midseason New York Press Junket at the Four Seasons hotel on January 23. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The Nanny icon Fran Drescher may be 62, but she still wants to please her mom and dad.

"The last series that I did, my parents kept complaining that their friends couldn't find the channel, and everyone can find NBC," Drescher recently told UPI in New York, comparing her canceled TV Land comedy Happily Divorced to her new NBC sitcom Indebted.

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"My parents -- God bless them -- are still alive and well, and they are so excited that I am going back to television. They tell me, 'Everyone loves you!' They can't go to Publix without someone saying, 'When's your daughter going to be back on TV?' They get very excited, and I want them to have one last zhuzh."

Set to premiere Thursday, Indebted follows cash-strapped boomers Debbie and Stew (Drescher and Steven Weber) as they move in with their millennial son Dave (Adam Pally), his wife, Rebecca (Abby Elliott) and their kids.

"I don't know if it was the premise of the show that was what drew me. They wrote in the script, in every way, as this is a Fran Drescher type, so I started out being flattered. So, that is always a good beginning," Drescher laughed.

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"I was just ready to come back to TV, and I was about to start taking meetings for an idea that I created, which is normally the way in for me, but this was further along. It was at Sony, which is my parent [production] company."

The chemistry between Drescher and her co-stars immediately was evident, another sign that she should take the job.

"It all came together very nicely. I love the people. Honestly, if there was one rotten apple in it, I probably would have quit. It's too late in the game to have any kind of problems," she said.

Although she has been successful for decades, it is still easy for Drescher to remember what it was like to struggle financially like her Indebted character.

"My dad worked two jobs when I was young. You never forget that, and I've been poor, and I've been rich, and I know how to be happy in both worlds," Drescher said.

"If I don't want to work anymore, I would not have any problem with downsizing and living off whatever I've got left to my last breath. I can live small and live well and be happy and grateful. I'm still driving a 2001 car. I don't have to impress anybody."

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Saturday Night Live alum Elliott -- the real-life daughter of Schitt's Creek actor Chris Elliott -- said she was intrigued by the millennials versus boomers dynamic of Indebted.

"There are a lot of things that my parents don't understand and that I don't understand from their generation, so we learn from each other, and this show really highlights all of those differences," the 32-year-old actress said.

The in-laws are invasive -- getting into everyone's business and failing to respect boundaries like a closed bedroom door -- but Rebecca finds a bright side to having her husband's parents move into her house.

"It's frustrating and difficult, the way it should be, but Rebecca kind of likes having them around. They are built-in baby sitters and additional sets of hands," Elliott said, emphasizing it doesn't really matter that it is Rebecca's in-laws as opposed to her own parents who unexpectedly shoehorn themselves into her daily life.

"Dave gets just as annoyed -- sometimes more -- than my character, the daughter-in-law," she said.

Despite the inconvenience that comes with suddenly combining households, all members of the family basically are warm people who love each other and get along, Pally said.

"The question is never about 'When this will end?' They all enjoy it. It's just a lot," said the 37-year-old actor known for his roles in The Mindy Project and Happy Endings.

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"Imagine what it's like having your parents in your space every day. Imagine the little things you are accustomed to that Fran Drescher wouldn't be accustomed to. [Linda and Stew] interfere with only the best intentions. That's what's so nice about the show. It's never cruel."

The show is timely, but not political, he added.

"We want everyone to enjoy it, whether or not we agree with your views. I am a Hollywood, liberal elite, so I, obviously, have my own views," he chuckled. "But I respect everybody's views, and I wanted to do a show that is about everybody's family and not about the division" Americans experience when they discuss politics or culture.

Show creator Dan Levy said Indebted viewers will appreciate how accurately and hilariously the show reflects real-life problems and relationships.

"I think we're in this position because a lot of baby boomers in the 1980s and '90s started making money, and they were living their lives," Levy said.

"They weren't thinking about long-term healthcare, future retirement. I just don't think it was something in their heads, whereas a lot of millennials are thinking about savings and more nervous and more paranoid. My parents lived in the 1980s, raised me in the '80s, bought a bunch of leather jackets and were like, 'We'll figure it out!' And now there is a show about this."

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Indebted airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.

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