Fans know the talented and gorgeous Paget Brewster from her role as Emily Prentiss on CBS' Criminal Minds - but what you don't know is that she's one-third of one of the funniest shows on TV. On The Hub's animated comedy Dan Vs., Paget plays Elise, who tries to help her husband Chris keep his perpetually enraged best friend Dan out of trouble - and also happens to be the government's top superspy.
Today marks the third-season premiere of Dan Vs., in which Dan (voiced by Curtis Armstrong) spends each episode trying to get his revenge against something or someone that he believes has done him wrong. Previous targets of his ire have included Chris (voiced by Dave Foley), Elise's parents, traffic, the state of New Mexico, and a dinosaur. Season three begins with Dan being sent to anger management class - something which Paget is looking forward to seeing.
"What I'm excited about is getting to see [the episodes] again. When we record the voices, we don't know everything that the show's going to be until it comes back. We're only doing one part of it," she explained. "Until we see the finished version, we don't really understand the entire show."
The entire show is one of the most unique ideas on television, taking full advantage of the lack of boundaries afforded by animation, whether it's Dan causing an avalanche that buries large parts of Canada or Elise off on one of her many secret missions Chris remains clueless about. One of the series' perpetual questions is why Chris and Elise remain friends with Dan, who's had them arrested, caused Chris severe bodily harm, and loves to mention how much he dislikes Elise.
"I see how they enjoy him even though he's a terror," said Paget. "He can do the right thing sometimes. It's like a guy you're never going to get rid of. He's your brother, you gotta put up with him. I think they genuinely love him and he genuinely loves them, even though he would never admit it. One of the reasons why the show really works is that these people really love each other." (Ironically, she also voices the one thing Dan doesn't hate - his cat, Mr. Mumbles.)
For a show that airs on the same network as My Little Pony and Pound Puppies, Dan Vs. seems to stick out like a delightfully sore thumb. Episodes have included someone getting kidnapped (in 'Dan vs. Baseball'), someone else being knocked unconscious and stuffed in the trunk of a car (in 'Dan vs. Parents'), and lots of property destruction. The contrast is something the cast and creators have long been amused by.
"I don't know if it's supposed to be targeted to a certain age group," said Paget. "It is a little demented. And I think that's Dan and Chris, the real Dan and the real Chris [series creators Dan Mandel and Chris Pearson]. They're kind of goofy, demented boy-men. That's the voice of Dan and Chris.
She added that it's also a little bit of art imitating life: "Chris's real-life wife is named Elise. She's a rocket scientist or something. She is brilliant. Chris is a big tall guy that eats a lot. Dan is this misanthropic, bitter guy. And they are really friends in real life," she said. The difference being that Dan Mandel has never been thrown in jail, impersonated by an impostor, or chained himself to the counter of a fast-food restaurant. Yet, anyway.