As an entertainment writer, one of the most disappointing occurrences is when a favorite show is not receiving the recognition it deserves. That is the case with American Auto. The NBC workplace comedy series is laugh for laugh one of the funniest comedies out there – and if you look under the hood you will find plenty of heart too. The series which possesses very a hilarious ensemble, brilliant writing, and is led by a comedy legend really found its groove in season two.
The series, from Superstore creator and The Office writer/producer Justin Spitzer, heads back into the workplace to take a closer look at the auto industry. Instead of taking us to the assembly line, viewers get to be a fly on the wall at corporate headquarters where all the big decisions (or should I say bad decisions) are made. Payne Automobiles’ new CEO, Katherine Hastings (played by Ana Gasteyer) possesses zero car knowledge and leads a corporate team who cannot get out of their own way.
One of those characters, Sadie Ryan, is played by Australian-born actress Harriet Dyer who took some time out of her busy day to speak with me about her work. And busy she is, in addition to her acting on American Auto, she is also the producer, writer, creator and star of a hit series (which will soon be coming to the States) titled, Colin From Accounts. As if she is not juggle enough, the ambitious Dyer, who is now based in Los Angeles, makes it all happen while also carrying the titles of wife and mother. For this interview she took her juggling act outside, conducting it at a local park to avoid waking her infant child.
It is hard not to want to be in awe of someone who produces such fantastic work, while remaining passionate and dedicated about both their family and their craft. Plus, somehow through it all, Dyer, remains incredibly humble and kind. She was absolutely delightful to speak with as we cover topics that American Auto fans will enjoy from Jack (Tye White) and Sadie’s relationship, to this season’s guest stars, and working Ana. We also cover much more, imposter syndrome, her new series, and the support of her father to name a few.
Here are some highlights from the conversation. For the full experience list to the conversation in its entirety (below).
Having the freedom for to be unlikable characters:
“It’s so hard to make people laugh and also no one wants to offend anyone. I’m just so thrilled that this hasn’t been watered down or diluted to make everyone likable. I’m just so glad that we are still kind of (laughs) there’s some very shitty aspects of personalities. I’m really grateful that the network and studio keep allowing us to be a bit unlikable,. Likability sell toothpaste and likability sell Chevrolet’s, you know, and here we are, we’re still being pretty unlikable. There are moments of great connection. And Ana is just so wonderful you can’t help but have empathy for her sometimes. She just bought that. I think all the characters do to an extent, but I’m really glad it hasn’t gotten schmaltzy. It’s a bit a bit here and there to keep people connected. I’m just really glad that these people are still can be very hateful.”
Working with such a talented ensemble:
Chemistry is great. We do love hanging out together. There’s a great love and respect. And we just really care about the work. Hopefully we’ll be getting a season three pickup, because we really care about the jokes. If a table reads doesn’t feel right, we will talk about. No one sitting, sitting back resting on their laurels and just waiting for a check to appear or something. Everyone works really hard. Everyone cares. It’s been really great.
The evolving relationship between Katherine (Ana Gasteyer) and Sadie:
I feel more like she’s accepted me – there’s more of a buddy comedy growing between her and I now – our characters now. Which is awesome because the first season was funny with her not trusting me and me being terrified of her. But, I actually think it’s more fun being on the same team. That’s what we’ve had a lot of the season and we’re personally loving it. She loves that Sadie and Katherine are being friendly with each other. There’s enough of women shooting each other down in real life. It’s nice to show that women can take care of each other. I love that woman. I grew up also watching her. She is just the epitome of being egoless and she is grateful and she doesn’t get into drama. She is a wonderful number one for a TV show like this, because she shows us all that if you show up on time and be nice to people, we’re gonna have a great day. And that’s what she does. Every day. She’s very, very kind. I really enjoyed working with
American Auto airs new episodes every Tuesdays on NBC. You can watch past episodes and season one on Peacock. Watch it!