Charlie Weber knows the comparisons are going to come. In Underemployed, MTV’s new dramedy that premieres Tuesday night, Weber plays Todd, an advertising exec who is bedding his young intern Daphne ( Sarah Habel).
Todd is a little like Sex and the City’s Mr. Big hits the workplace. His intentions are frustratingly unknown and he’s a little on the sleazy side.
“I like being the elder,” says Weber from Los Angeles. “I’m finally entering that phase in my career and I think Sarah’s character, um, looks up to me a little bit.”
As for the interoffice romance, it could become an issue in future episodes.
“That would be slightly inappropriate, and how she suddenly goes from unpaid intern and gets a paycheck,” acknowledges Weber, 34.
Underemployed is being billed as a kind of modern Friends with shades of 1980s classic St. Elmo’s Fire, following pals post-college in Chicago. Life in the real world is complicated with the recession, lack of good jobs and student loan debt.
“It’s about their trials and tribulations,” explains Weber, whom many Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans may remember as medical intern Ben Wilkinson. “It’s tough out there. You’ve got to pay back $200,000 by working in a doughnut shop. It must be a frightening prospect. This show is definitely topical for these times.”
Underemployed also marks MTV’s move away from reality programming (goodbye Jersey Shore) to scripts. Weber recalls how, back in 1995, the cable network picked up super-popular My So Called Life, giving it a second shot at life.
“I’m thrilled,” says the Missouri native. “MTV has always dabbled in good writing and I think what we have is a really cool show.”
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