The sitcom is about a woman who embarks on a unique second act after raising her children, getting divorced and retiring from teaching and pursues her dream of becoming a doctor.
At the age of 50, Carol is a medical intern and she must work alongside her peers who are half her age as she works towards her second act.
Global News spoke to Tisdale about working on the medical comedy, her relationship with Heaton and much more.
Global News: Can you tell me about your character Jenny?
Ashley Tisdale: Jenny is the daughter of Carol, who is played by Patricia Heaton, and I am a pharmaceutical rep in the hospital. I’m always kind of jumping in and out of the hospital. I think that Jenny is very supportive of Carol and her second act. I think it’s really something that is pretty inspiring for her to see her mom doing something that she’s always wanted to do. And she’s just a really fun character to play.
How would you describe the relationship between you and Patricia because you play the mother-daughter duo?
It’s really funny because I feel like in real personal life she is a lot like my mom in many ways. I think she’s just kind of a mom to everybody on set. She’s super fun and she helps everybody with whatever is going on in our life. Our relationship is really easy and I think the chemistry between us was always really naturally there, which has been so cool because it’s not forced at all.
That’s so amazing! Did you have to study any pharmaceutical terms while you were preparing for this role?
I didn’t. For Jenny, I think it was maybe one episode that I actually am talking about medication in specific. So that was just, like, one, but mainly for me on the show, there is a lot going on between me and one of the other interns, Daniel. It’s cool because obviously the show is set in the hospital, but it’s also about our personal relationships with each other.
Do you have any other favourite medical dramas that you watch?
I used to watch Grey’s Anatomy back in the day (laughing). What I think is really fun about the comedy aspect of our show is that obviously hospitals have amazing things that happen, but also really sad things. I think it’s pretty cool because I used to have a fear of going to the hospital because I am a hypochondriac. I just had this fear because it’s like, ‘Oh, gosh, you only go to the hospital when things are going wrong.’ I think that we add a lighter aspect to this show that can deal with heavier content because it’s set in a hospital. But also the tone of the show is comedy, but it has a lot of heart to it. It has made me very much more comfortable because on set we are in hospital rooms at all times. It’s definitely made me more comfortable with that.
It’s so much fun. I mean, me and one of the other castmates, Sabrina [Jalees], became immediate best friends. We just have a lot of fun. It’s like a family and it’s crazy that we call it work because we just have the best job ever, I guess you’d say. We love doing show nights in front of a live audience. Patti [Heaton] just makes it very easy. She’s just so good at what she does. It’s just amazing to see her be the star of the show. She’s always been a supporting character and this is her first lead. It’s just really cool and inspiring to watch.
You and Sabrina have a TikTok account together. How did that come about?
At first, before I did my own personal TikTok, I just didn’t want to jump into it head-on by myself. We just have so much fun together. We are pretty much how we are on TikTok in real life. We were kind of like playing around with them. We always call each other “friend crush” and so we thought, ‘Let’s make it a thing.’ Then we created the friend crush TikTok and it’s just something that we just always have so much fun doing it.
How does this role contrast with your experiences on other shows like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody or High School Musical? In this role, you’re actually playing a character that’s your age and not in high school.
Yeah, I think it’s really great. It’s so much fun, obviously, being able to grow up and play a character that is more my age. It’s more mature and I think that it’s so crazy because obviously I’ve been auditioning for roles that are this age for a while. Now being on TV, it’s just really cool and I love it. It’s just so much fun and I love comedy as well. I just love being able to make people laugh and I’m having a good time.
What would you like most people to know about Carol’s Second Act?
I think that it’s just a really fun TV show. Having Patricia Heaton be the star of it, it’s just like she’s America’s mom. It’s great to have her back on TV and think it’s just something that is such an easy watch and really fun.
(This interview has been edited and condensed.)
Carol’s Second Act airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on Global.