“Home Economics” begins a new season at the Happiest Place on Earth — Disneyland! Season 3 of the ABC comedy kicks things off with the Hayworths at the iconic theme park, joining a long list of shows that have dedicated episodes to Mickey and his friends.
“This is not just a season premiere, it is a dream come true to get paid to go to Disneyland. I can see how hard they had to push you to come out here to interview us today,” “Home Economics” star Topher Grace joked to ET’s Matt Cohen on location in Anaheim, California.
The actor acknowledged that when he shows his two young kids that he shares with his wife, Ashley, the premiere episode, there may be some anger on their part as to why they weren’t able to tag along on set. “I was thinking maybe this would be a good place to bring them, the Happiest Place on Earth. But my wife said because of COVID my kids never come to see me work. My wife said, ‘This can’t be your first day at the office with Dad, right?’” Grace recalled. “It’s Disneyland. They won’t ever think about any other careers so they’re not coming. But they will be mad at me in the future when I show them this episode.”
In the season opener, Tom (Grace) finds out that Connor (Jimmy Tatro) is his new boss, which threatens to ruin Marina’s (Karla Souza) perfectly planned trip to Disneyland.
The 44-year-old actor credited his co-stars, which includes Caitlin McGee and Sasheer Zamata, for creating a familial environment that he believes shows up onscreen.
“It’s luck. It’s akin to dating where you can have your friends say, ‘Oh you and this person would be great together,’ but you don’t know. I certainly was excited about everyone who’s cast on the show but you don’t know until that first first day or two. And I was nervous,” Grace admitted. “I had been with a dream team that I loved before on TV and I was nervous to come back and then within about 48 hours of filming, I was driving home, like, cocky ’cause it’s so much easier when you don’t have to pretend. When you’re actually playing a family feeling with people who feel like family.”
Grace was subtly referring to “That ’70s Show”, the iconic sitcom he led as Eric Forman opposite co-stars Laura Prepon, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Wilmer Valderrama. He’ll be stepping back into that world for Netflix’s updated spinoff, “That ’90s Show”, where he will reprise his beloved character. Grace’s TV parents, Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp, will also return, along with Prepon, Kutcher, Kunis, Valderrama and Tommy Chong.
“If ‘Home Economics’ has a family feeling that was kind of the same but it was a family reunion,” Grace shared. “It was like going home for Christmas to see your whole family. It really was like Christmas. It was a gift. They are all such amazing, amazing people who are so influential in my life and who I became. To be able to go back and not just hang out with them together, which was so much fun, but then to be able to work again with them… it was great. And I can’t wait for people to see it.”
The spinoff series picks up in 1995 when Leia Forman, daughter of Eric (Grace) and Donna (Prepon), is visiting her parents for the summer where she bonds with a new generation of Point Place kids under the watchful eye of Kitty (Rupp) and the stern glare of Red (Smith). Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll never dies, it just changes clothes.
“I only did one episode but I’m in the first episode, so I’m really excited for people to [see it],” Grace hinted.
Back over on “Home Economics”, Grace’s co-stars spoke gleefully about the show’s special Disneyland episode and also looked ahead to the new season.
“It’s great to be here at Disneyland. It feels kind of like a cast field trip, which is nice,” Tatro said. “It’s nice to go on a field trip like this, especially to Disneyland, a place that — I’m not gonna lie — I love very much, more than most of the other cast.”
“I’m still pinching myself, I can’t believe that it’s happening. I think it’s a definite bucket list moment and no one in my family’s going to believe me until they watch the episode. And they’re still going to think it’s all CGI,” Souza said. “My kids do not know that I’m here and please don’t tell them! If I tell them, every day when I say I’m going to work there will be a scream fest and they will want a wand of bubbles at the end of the day, every single night!”
McGee, who is pregnant with her first child, called the experience “a blessing” and that she can tell her baby girl that “in utero she was already at Disneyland, which is very exciting.” “We’re all turning into five year olds, it’s incredibly exciting,” she confessed. “You get to have Disney as your playground. As an actor, it’s a dream come true for all of us.”
Added Zamata, “‘Home Economics’ is a family show. Disney is a family brand and it’s really cool to take our family to a place where we can see our kids enjoy themselves and also the adults get to enjoy themselves too.”
“Home Economics” returns Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.