“Old Christine” Creator Kari Lizer on the Sitcom and Its Same-Sex Wedding


Kari Lizer, left, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Although it has no LGBT characters, CBS’s The New Adventures of Old Christine is one that queer audiences should be checking out — for several reasons.

This sharply written sitcom about a divorced mother (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who lives with her brother, recently married her female best friend and is oftentimes too closely involved in her ex-husband’s life (whose new girlfriend is also named Christine, hence the show’s title), kicked off its fourth season last fall.

Speaking by phone from Los Angeles, series creator Kari Lizer recently talked to us about how Christine came to be, and the surprising lack of controvery the show’s same-sex wedding generated.

After having a semi-successful acting career up until she turned 30, Lizer turned to writing with the intent she’d write acting parts for herself. Instead of acting gigs, however, her comedic writing got her noticed and a career was born when she was hired to write for USA Network’s Weird Science.

She eventually landed a job as a writer/producer on the uber-gay Will & Grace, where Lizer stayed for four years before she ventured into the treacherous world of television development with a project starring Anne Heche that never went beyond the pilot stage.

“[After that project] it was really trying to find something for me that felt authentic," said Lizer, "and obviously going to the well of my own circumstances. There’s a lot to draw from there.”

Enter The New Adventures of Old Christine, a sitcom about the world of divorced mother Christine Campbell (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), which draws on Lizer’s experience as a divorced mother of three.

Christine would garner strong ratings soon after its 2006 premiere by not only squashing talk of the “Seinfeld Curse” (where any subsequent project by Seinfeld cast members was doomed to fail) but by seeing Louis-Dreyfus go home with the Best Actress Emmy for her role.

Going into its fourth season last fall, two big weddings were a part of the landscape — the long-awaited nuptials between Christine’s ex, Richard (Clark Gregg) and “new” Christine (Emily Rutherfurd), which is set to air this spring, and the wedding in the season premiere between Christine and her best friend and business partner, Barb (Wanda Sykes), just prior to the passage of Proposition 8 in California.

Barb (Sykes) and Christine (Louis-Dreyfus) get married

Barb isn’t gay, but she married Christine in order to stay in the country (her character is a resident of the Bahamas).

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