The new Fox comedy Weird Loners, premiering tonight at 9:30/8:30c, follows four strangers in Queens who end up becoming fast friends when they live in the same building. Ugly Betty alum Becki Newton is uptight chef Caryn, Happy Endings star Zachary Knighton is the annoyingly douchey Stosh, Nate Torrence (Super Fun Night) is the lovable big nerd Eric and newcomer Meera Rohit Kumbhani is the free-spirited bisexual named Zara.
In tonight’s pilot, we meet Zara as she’s breaking her boyfriend’s heart. She tries to leave without a real goodbye (saying she’s going to get breakfast) but is caught with her things on her way out the door.
“Zara is a very free-spirited, lives-in-the-moment, painter girl who is very sort of zen and in touch with the universe, and universal energy of the world—except when she goes psychotic at certain moments,” Meera said from the set of Weird Loners. “She’s a lot of fun. She can be a loose cannon and she does what she wants, when she wants. And it’s kind of the most fun character I could possibly play.”
Meera is an artist who meets Eric while selling her art on the street. She follows him home, where he lived with his newly deceased father, and moves in with Caryn, who lives upstairs and hoping to marry the man of her dreams. (She can’t figure out who that is just yet.) And when Stosh gets fired from his job and kicked out of his condo, he goes to visit his cousin, Eric, and “offers” to move in and help through the grieving process.
“It’s a lot of fun because it’s very different per character, with the four of us,” Meera said. “Every single pairing is this weird odd couple that somehow works but actually doesn’t, but does. It’s fun for us to find that as well. Caryn and Zara just have hilarious relationship because Caryn is a very neurotic girl and I think Zara is very amused by that, and enjoys being amused by that, except when it gets too much and Zara needs to remove herself from it. But at other times, she can sort of poke at them a little bit too, to sort of mess with Karen. But it’s also this fun sort of we’re girls and we can talk about things that we wouldn’t want to talk to with boys.”
“I think Caryn’s fascinated with Zara,” Becki Newton said at this winter’s Television Critics Association Fox party. “She’s like ‘You’re so comfortable with yourself and so free and you know who you are.’ Like, these are things Caryn cannot relate to, and Zara’s utter lack of need for approval is something Caryn has spent her entire life trying to get people to like her and I think it’s a great combination. It’s a great buddy situation. Zara gave up on true love a long time ago, so I think these two characters are set up in a way they can really learn a lot from each other, and also, three’s a lot of comedy that comes from people with two very different view points being stuck in the same house.”
AfterEllen was on the set of a later episode of the Weird Loners (written by out lesbian Rebecca Drysdale) which takes place in a lesbian bar (more on that before the episode airs) and has Caryn hitting on Katie Aselton. But Caryn isn’t gay, and she just likes the attention. It doesn’t keep her from asking Zara for lesbian sex advice, though.
“She tries to and Zara doesn’t have any of it because Zara’s not so into the whole—if Caryn were actually wanting to explore her sexuality, that would be one thing. But if Caryn were using the idea of exploring sexuality for her own selfish benefits, that is another thing and that is wrong,” Meera said. “Not that Zara’s a saint, by any means, which we will definitely see.”
Meera, who says she’s spent “so much of my adolescence in gay bars,” isn’t like Zara in that she “likes monogamy.”
“I’ve been attracted to several women, but I guess I’ve just been shy to explore that, if we’re being honest,” Meera said, laughing.
But Meera loves playing Zara, as much of a non-believer in romance and love as she is. In the first three episodes, Meera will not be in any kind of romantic relationships, as she’s mostly concerned with how her new friendships are figuring into her life.
“My favorite part of Zara is this warm, fuzzy, unconditional love she has for Eric and it’s just this like, loving playful, brother/sister love that they have for each other and we get to watch that grow and it’s so nice because they’re both just, like, they both completely lack pretense,” Meera said. “They both completely lack social norms and social intelligence, almost. It’s great, we get to just be total weirdos and it’s awesome.”
Weird Loners premieres tonight on Fox. Chelsea Steiner will be recapping the show so check back tomorrow for a recap of the pilot.