Jenna Elfman returns to ABC starring in new sitcom 'Imaginary Mary'

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Jenna Elfman makes her ABC comeback Wednesday night in a new sitcom "Imaginary Mary," airing after "The Goldbergs."

Elfman's claim to fame came on ABC two decades ago in the hit sitcom "Dharma & Greg."

"Imaginary Mary" is a character invented by a young girl named Alice to cope with her traumatic childhood.

"Just like, no parents," Elfman said of Alice's childhood. "I had to create an imaginary friend to be my mentor and to guide me through my life."

Due to her troubled family background, Alice resolves to stay single until Ben, played by Stephen Schneider, shows up. And with him, he brings three kids.

"I feel like for (Alice's) character," Schneider said. "She's kind of walking into a tornado, and you can't really prepare for a tornado. And you have to run."

Mary is brought to life using computer animation added to the live-action, frame by frame.

However, working with an animated character poses special challenges.

"We have a puppet, a life size puppet, and we have an amazing puppeteer," Elfman said. "We have an amazing comedic actress on set who does Mary's lines for me, so that I actually have someone who understands comedy to act off of."

The voice the audience hears is supplied by Rachel Dratch. They came together for a press tour, but they don't work together on a regular basis.

"Rachel is in New York," Elfman said. "We don't even get to interact in person."

She says it takes "good writing, good casting, good performances,and good animation," when walking the line between interesting, fascinating, fun and gimmicky.

The series debuts Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m., but it will then appear in its regular slot Tuesday evenings at 9:30 p.m.
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