Move over, Chip and Joanna Gaines — here come the “Flipped” team of Cricket and Jann Melfi.
Kaitlin Olson (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) and Will Forte (“Saturday Night Live”) co-star as a deranged husband-and-wife duo who get into the house-flipping world on the new Quibi comedy series (she plays Cricket, he’s Jann).
“I was excited about the idea of helping launch a new platform,” says Olson, 44, on the phone from her LA where she lives with her kids and husband Rob McElhenney (her “Sunny” co-star and that show’s creator).
Mobile platform Quibi, which launched Monday, releases bite-sized episodes daily (the average episode of “Flipped” is seven minutes long). Although it’s easy to assume that “Flipped” is a satire of HGTV icons the Gaines’, launching their own digital network (Magnolia), Olson says that’s not the case.
“Chip and Joanna [Gaines] seem like normal nice people,” she says. “Cricket and Jann are ridiculous. It’s funny, I keep getting asked [if Cricket is based on Joanna Gaines]. And secretly I feel guilty, like ‘Oh God, I didn’t do any homework!’ It just made so much sense to me as I was reading the script. I love the fact that [Cricket] was ridiculously optimistic with no basis for being so confident. That’s just a funny quality to me — someone who just has unwavering faith in their taste, even though there’s no feedback to support that.”
In fact, Olson says she doesn’t watch house-flipping shows in her spare time.
“Not because I don’t like them — mostly because I’m so busy, and if the TV is on, it’s a kids’ show in the background,” she says. “Or Rob and I are watching some kind of crime documentary at night.”
At the beginning of “Flipped,” Jann is a failed small-time theater director while Cricket works in a box store. When they see a commercial searching for a dynamic duo to be home-renovation superstars, they quit their jobs to follow their dreams. Comedic hijinks ensue when they find cash in the walls of a house during one renovation — and soon a cartel is after them.
Although Olson and Forte had crossed paths in the comedy world before, this was their first time working together on a show.
“We had done comedy panels together and things like that, so I knew him,” she says. “He’s such a delightful person. It’s one of those things where it’s like, ‘This guy’s gotta be putting on a show!’ because he’s just too nice. I spent a lot of time with him and he’s legitimately that nice to absolutely everyone. He’s just so funny and it was so easy; sometimes you just click with someone and we’d just fly through our days.”
Aside from “Flipped,” Olson has a longtime gig starring as Deandra “Dee” Reynolds on FX’s “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” in its 14th season (and counting). Because of that, she says she purposefully seeks out characters who are different from the narcissistic Dee during her off-time from that show.
“I was really attracted to [Cricket] because it’s so different from Dee and that’s something I’ve been looking to do for a while … I love Dee so much,” she says. “I get offered that kind of character [Dee] a lot, and it’s tempting because it’s so much fun to play. But that’s a hard act to follow. And while I love yelling at people and berating them all day long, it’s always exciting to find a new kind of character to play.
“I don’t want to get bored of myself or feel like I’m being redundant.”