Courtney Thorne-Smith is no stranger to comedy. While she may have had her big break starring as Allison Parker on nighttime soap “Melrose Place,” she really honed her acting chops on shows like “Ally McBeal” and “According to Jim.” For the past few years, she’s co-starred on the CBS hit comedy “Two and a Half Men,” playing Jon Cryer’s on-again, off-again girlfriend, Lyndsey Mackelroy. I spoke with Courtney recently about being on a headline-making sitcom, and how the cast and crew are leading up to the show’s ninth season finale on May 14.
Celebrity Extra: You’ve been working pretty much nonstop in Hollywood since 1986, and when “According to Jim” ended after eight seasons, I thought you would take a little breather from series television. What made you decide to jump back in with “Two and a Half Men”?
Courtney Thorne-Smith: It wasn’t really jumping back in — it was sort of like I put my little tiny toe in. The first season I was on, I did only two episodes, and then I did about 10 last year and about 10 this year, so it’s nice. When [my son] Jack complains about me working I say: “Sweetie, I work 10 weeks a year and most of those are half-days. So you really don’t get to complain.” This schedule is ideal for being a mom. I get to go to work and be this absolutely insane character and do these crazy things that I’ve never gotten the chance to do before, and then I come home and make Play-Doh and cookies.
CE: Tell me about your character, Lyndsey, and her relationship with Alan, played by Jon Cryer.
CTS: I said to somebody the other day who was asking me about Alan and Lyndsey, “I love their relationship so much because of their honesty.” They are two people who look at each other and say, “Seriously, we’re just not going to do any better.” They’re settling, and I just love the honesty. They’ve said it to each other several times: “Really? Do we have options? We’ll just stay together. Why not?” That just makes me laugh.
I also love the scene earlier in the season when Lyndsey is dating a younger man but decides she wants to be with Alan. She tells him: “I want to be with you because you’ll never leave me for a younger woman because you can’t get one.” But it was said with this joy and this love. How great is it? We don’t have any options, so let’s just be together.
CE: How did you feel about coming onto this established hit sitcom? Were you anxious, excited, scared?
CTS: Oh, terrified. When I signed on, it was only for two episodes. But I’ve known Jon for a long time, and I’ve been a fan of his too — he’s just the greatest guy. I thought, worst-case scenario, I get to watch Jon do his magic for a few weeks and then go on with my life. But I’m still on — and I’m lucky because I get to go in and work, and then I get to come home and be a mom. It’s been the most surprisingly wonderful career opportunity I’ve ever had.
CE: How was the transition from Charlie Sheen to Ashton Kutcher?
CTS: It was surprisingly smooth. Everybody wondered, “What’s going to happen?” The writers wrote a really good character for Ashton that he just stepped right into. The cast, crew and writers are all so solid that all they had to do was add another character to the mix. People miss Charlie as a person because he’s wonderful and funny and smart and sweet, but they got Ashton, so it’s a win/win. All the people here are such extraordinary pros that it was pretty seamless.