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Hope springs eternal: Jordana Spiro talks 'My Boys' finale

May 26, 2009 |  1:25 pm

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The Chicago Cubs will play the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight at 7:05 p.m. CDT. Cubs fans, like those who follow the Yankees and the Red Sox, are plentiful around the nation, and Show Tracker has some advice for the well-being of those who bleed Cubbie blue. You may want to skip tonight's game and instead hold out for the season finale of “My Boys” on TBS.

With the Cubs in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, “My Boys” tonight will take fans back to a happier time, when there was no doubt that Lou Piniella’s team would repeat as National League Central champs: spring training.

Now in its third season, “My Boys” has used its Cubs-obsessed Chicago setting to explore the camaraderie and relationships among a group of friends as they transition from budding careers into full-fledged adultdom. Like “How I Met Your Mother,” “My Boys” mines comedy out of small, sometimes silly moments, but ones that at their best reveal the challenges of maintaining long-term relationships.

Past seasons have seen friendships struggle to stay intact when one graduates (is demoted?) from the city to the suburbs. More recently, Jordana Spiro’s P.J. Franklin faced some drama in her revived relationship with fellow sportswriter Bobby Newman (Kyle Howard), much of it inspired by social networking site Facebook. While dealing mostly with issues of jealousy, the plot touched on how one’s virtual life can cause very real strains on a new relationship.

“I thought it was a pretty accurate portrayal of how we navigate social networking waters,” said Spiro last week. “I love the idea of looking at when the line is crossed -- when are you just checking out your significant other’s Facebook page, and when are you snooping, pawing and actively, in a sadomasochistic way, looking for dirt?”

It doesn’t appear any serious damage was inflicted upon P.J.’s and Bobby’s relationship. But there is a major cliff-hanger in tonight’s finale -- one that may prove frustrating to fans if the show isn’t renewed in a couple months -- and Spiro isn’t talking about what to expect.

Although her plans for P.J. if the show gets renewed may offer some hint.

“Bobby and P.J. don’t live together right now, but if they did, I think that would lead to a funny turn of events,” she said. “Bobby comes across as so well-adjusted, it’d be nice to see what his home life is like. Oftentimes those don’t go hand in hand. “

After two seasons of P.J. struggling in her career and relationships, her life has leveled out in Season 3. Her job as a Cubs beat reporter led to a promotion to columnist, and she’s entered into a committed relationship with a veteran friend, one who last season was heading to the altar with someone else.

“For me, it’s nice to have a character who can never find love and have that be the running theme, but I think when you open the door to a story line about relationships, you open the door to another realm of comedy,” Spiro said. "She tried to be a television sports reporter, and she fell on her face. She tried to write a book, and she fell on her face. So let’s give her a column. She’s got to progress.”

Tonight’s episode brings the “My Boys” crew to Mesa, Ariz., and was filmed at the Cubs’ spring-training compound. Infielders Bobby Scales and Mike Fontenot have cameos. “The other Cubs were teasing Fontenot, and calling him Brad Pitt all week, asking him if he’s memorized his lines,” Spiro said.

Though the series features comedy vet Jim Gaffigan in a prime role, in the season finale it’s Spiro who got to try her hand at improvising. The actor’s character is dealing with a bout of writer’s block and takes to interviewing fans -- real ones -- in the stands to solve it.

“I’ve never gotten to be part of such guerrilla filmmaking before,” she said. “We met some interesting characters.”

Such as?

“There was one guy who had this huge camera with this really long lens,” Spiro recalled. “He was from Alaska, and I asked him if he was a sports photographer. He said he was, and he comes here to take pictures of the athletes. He showed us some of his pictures, and two thirds were of pretty girls in the stands. He said, ‘What can I say? They wear a lot of clothes in Alaska.’ It was really cute.”

--Todd Martens

“My Boys” airs Tuesday, May 26, on TBS at 10:30 p.m., EST. Full episodes are available online.

Photo credit: TBS

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