Jason Ritter on Jesse Tyler Ferguson & More 'Class' Co-Stars Who Went Onto Success
A lot of TV cancellations are cause for huge sighs of relief; Dads, Fox's awful, sexist sitcom; Mixology, also awful and sexist; Black Box, that ridiculous, confusing show that, thankfully, only lasted 13 episodes before getting the boot. But then there are shows like The Class , a sweet, funny CBS series that was unjustly cancelled after just one season in 2007. Filled with then-little known actors like Jason Ritter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Lizzy Caplan, The Class has become something of a cult favorite, perhaps due to the future fame of many of its cast members.
"You always want your friends to succeed, but this has been an amazing thing," Ritter tells Bustle. "Lizzy just getting nominated for an Emmy, Jesse... it’s really nice, and on my secret, private, awful level, there’s a part of me that hopes whoever made that decision all those years ago [to cancel the show] goes, oh, maybe that was the wrong decision."
Despite their short time as co-stars, many of The Class' ensemble cast have stayed close friends over the years.
"Anytime any of us see each other, there’s a lot of love, because we protected each other and helped each other through a scary time," Ritter says.
The actor says he sensed from the beginning that his co-stars would go on to major success, particularly Ferguson.
"I mean, Jesse is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met in my entire life," Ritter says. "Not only is he a genius, he’s 100 percent unique. He’s not derivative of some other comedy legend or anything, just completely his own thing. It’s brilliant. But the thing was, when all those people got cast — Lucy Punch, also, she’s just so amazing — for the most part, I think, I just assumed, like, oh my gosh, they got all these incredibly talented, funny, great actors, and somehow I got in here. They’re gonna find me out."
Ritter certainly wasn't alone in his nerves. When he shared his feeling with his castmates, though, he found that the others had similar experiences.
"For a lot of us, I think for almost everyone except for Andrea Anders, that was the first multi-camera show that anyone had worked on, so we were all very kind of new and we were all sort of terrified," says Ritter. "But we knew there was a lot there."
The pressure, he says, actually helped.
"One of the great things about the show was that we all really respected each other and were intimidated by each other in a good way," he says. "Like, if they’re all doing it at this level, there’s no way I can just sort of walk through this. I better try to give it my all, because otherwise it’ll be real embarrassing."
Despite their efforts, though, the show was still cancelled, a fact that seems to infuriate Ritter even all these years later.
"The thing that I think was frustrating for everyone," he says, "was that towards the end of the season, everyone kind of found their thing, and to me it felt like we left it going, all right, here’s what the show is, second season is going to be 20 times better... so it was surprising to not get that chance."
And although it's certainly a consolation that The Class' ensemble ended up doing alright for themselves, Ritter still wishes he could understand the show's cancellation.
"Look, these decisons get made. But if I had to run a TV network, it would probably be bankrupt," he laughs. "I’d have great shows on it, but they’d all be cancelled."
Images: CBS (2)