Matt Shively has been on television since 2008, when he first appeared on Zoey 101 and later in a starring role on True Jackson, VP. And since then, he’s kept himself busy year after year with roles on television and films, as well as voicing animations. His latest role is playing George Lopez’s grandson’s father, Quinten, on the sitcom Lopez vs Lopez, and he recently spoke with Dorkaholics about the experience so far.
Neil Bui: Your character on Lopez vs Lopez really shines a light on a role that I don’t think family sitcoms talk about enough, more or less the son-in-law, which I know your character isn’t quite there yet.
Matt Shively: Yeah, almost!
Neil Bui: How would you describe your character Quentin’s relationship with his pseudo father-in-law George Lopez?
Matt Shively: I think it’s a constant battle. George is kind of going through his own things in life and so Quentin is a very easy punching bag for him. So anytime he feels kind of cornered or like he’s about to get in trouble, it’s always easiest to just throw shade at Quentin and so I think throughout the season we started off having absolutely no relationship and then as we’ve kind of built through and and the last episode the Lopez versus Van Bryan was kind of the first time we really got to see that maybe George actually does kind of like Quentin and knows that Quentin is the best person for his daughter.
Neil Bui: Yeah, I think the most recent episode that I watched was the Los Doyers episode. So it was an interesting dynamic to see them kind of bond over baseball and in a sense.
Matt Shively: Or try to at least!
Neil Bui: Yeah, I really liked the comedy and the writing for that episode just because it was very satirical and a parody of chauvinistic behaviors. But Quentin had to tread that line and not get lost in it. What was your kind of opinion on that type of humor or even the discussion that brings up?
Matt Shively: Well, I, always going into the show, one of the main things I wanted from the character was for him to be the opposite of what majority of television dads that we see now. And so going into this episode, it was, you kind of said it kind of walking the line of what works and what doesn’t. And throughout the week of prepping for it and everything, we kind of had to figure out what worked and what didn’t because there were a lot of lines that originally were in there where it was a little too harsh and a little too mean. And you know, Quentin is just trying to fit in, but Quentin is also very much on the side of Mayan and wants to be with Mayan. And so it was at first a little tough trying to figure out ‘well, how far would Quentin go with trying to fit in with this group of guys?’ But I think we found a good medium of like every time he kind of comes off mean, the audience is going to see him as just being dumb. And I think that that’s kind of a better way to look at it, because the one thing I didn’t want to alienate him and make the audience go ”oh well maybe he’s just as bad as George might be” and stuff like that. So it was trying to keep the thing and the whole episode of being about what is masculinity and what makes a man. But I think Quentin is more about what makes a person and that’s what’s important to him. And so throughout that episode he wants to fit in, but at what cost? How far is he willing to go before it’s too much?
Neil Bui: I love that. It definitely shows that Lopez vs Lopez isn’t just your typical comedic sitcom, but it’s one of those family shows that has a lot of lessons and life values to share with audiences. What are some of the things that you’ve learned by being part of Lopez vs Lopez?
Matt Shively: I’ve learned how to collaborate with people more. Usually when I’m working and I’m on these sets, I’m just really lucky and happy to be there. And so a lot of times I kind of keep my mouth shut, sit in the back, and I say what’s on the paper and then I go home. But this one was so much better because it was like the moment I got there, it was very much a collaborative environment of if you have ideas, if you wanna say things a certain way, please feel free. Which was kind of the opposite of how I learned. So kind of being able to rework that and go into this with a little bit more of a creative mind rather than “I’m just here to act.” I’m also here to kind of give my opinion and give my stories and things that I have gone through. And so it’s just been a lot more of a hands-on job and a lot more of welcoming me into the set and being like you know we know that you’ve worked and we know that you’ve earned it. And so please tell us what you think and that has been the greatest thing I’ve gotten out of this since we started. Just knowing that I’m not just a team member, I am fully a part of the team. We’re all captains in this.
Neil Bui: I’m so happy to hear that you get to collaborate in this way on the show. What has been your favorite part then, of Lopez vs Lopez?
Matt Shively: We preshoot a lot of things and so then when we do it in front of the audience we kind of get to be a little more loose and have a little more fun. And George every time, every scene we do, George has five or six improv lines that he has in his back pocket that he has yet to reveal to everybody. The true testament of trying to stay in character because no matter what, he always hits me with something that I was not expecting. So it’s the constant [feeling of] being on your toes and it feels very much like a stage play because you’re going from top to bottom and just going through. And so I think my favorite thing is definitely what George ends up bringing to the table on taping nights that none of us are expecting, a lot of this stuff that ends up on the show is stuff that he just thought of off the top of his head. And it’s just [that] he’s a legend [and] it’s hilarious every time.
Neil Bui: How has the relationship been between you and your other co-stars outside of George, like Mayan and Bryce and Selenis?
Matt Shively: It’s funny. I’ve had the pleasure of doing multiple shows now where I’m a part of a family. And it’s always funny to kind of see how you slowly, actually do form into this family. And this one, because we’re such a small cast, I think it happened much quicker. Like three weeks in, I was like,“Oh Bryce is my son.” And when we had to take that break, it was two months before we came back for the back nine, it was like leaving all of them was like well, what do I do? What am I supposed to? You guys are my family. I’m supposed to be going on family vacations. Now why aren’t we all doing this together? But the chemistry and everything, especially with COVID. A lot of times you’ll chemistry-read in a room with somebody, but we didn’t have that luxury. So, they kind of just rolled the dice in hopes of once we all came together to do the pilot that we would all click. And it’s always funny when people are like, “oh well I hope they have chemistry.” And I’m always like, “well in my opinion, an actor’s job is to create chemistry with anybody,” but with them it was the easiest thing in the world. It was like, “oh, we’ve already known each other for years” and I think we were all just so excited to get out of the COVID phase of things. And being able to go back to work was like “I don’t care who I’m working with, I love you and I’m gonna love you forever.” And we really rode with that. And we just get stronger and stronger with each episode.
Edited for clarity.
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