By K.O. Pemberton
Lead Editor, MSN TV
Multitalented actress and singer Brenda Song continues to rake in the laughs on "The Suite Life on Deck." Playing the melodramatic, but likable, hotel heiress London Tipton, Song is one of the reasons why the "Suite Life" franchise remains one of the most successful and highly rated series in the Disney Channel stable. "The Suite Life on Deck" airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel. Brenda Song talked to MSN TV about her role on the show, her good friend Ashley Tisdale and her interest in cooking.
MSN TV: How is it being back for a second season of "The Suite Life on Deck"?
Brenda Song: It's really fun; I get to see everyone. It's great to be back. I see so much of the twins and Phill Lewis during the break, so for them it's like another day at work, but I get to see everyone. And they are like our second family, so it's really nice.
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Are you excited to get back to shooting as well?
I'm so excited. This season we are going to HD, so there is a lot of exciting stuff happening. A lot of relationships are being explored this year, so look out for it.
You are now getting into the rhythm of things with some new characters since "The Suite Life." Does it still feel like filming the same show? Does the synergy still exist?
It feels like the same season because we are filming on the same soundstage, and although we are filming without Ashley Tisdale and Kim Rhodes, we are still a big family, and it's great to have new characters, because it keeps you on your toes and gives you a lot of new opportunities. We have a lot of fun.
Ashley Tisdale, right, guest stars on "The Suite Life on Deck" as Maddie Fitzpatrick.
Ashley Tisdale is coming back as Maddie Fitzpatrick. You two are almost like sisters. Are you pretty excited that she's coming back?
I'm so excited. The episode is called "Maddie on Deck," and it was so nice to be back on the set where we got close. I see her so much off the set as well, so it was just like going back to "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody." It was just like going back to where we were at, and the episode is great. Ashley truly is like my sister, so I miss her.
Can you tell us a little about her story line?
We actually had her come on the S.S. Tipton for her vacation, and we stop in Lichtenstamp. And there she finds a Prince Charming, so to speak. Of course, Zack is not OK with that, so there is a little duel. That's really all I can say. A lot of crazy stuff happens in between.
Ah, the well-known travel destination of Lichtenstamp!
Of course. Everyone has been to Lichtenstamp.
I was wondering, does that country share a border with Genovia, you know, from "The Princess Diaries"?
Haha. I think it's actually a little north of there.
Is everyone else excited to have Ashley back on the set?
It's literally like a huge family reunion. Not only do we love her as a person, but she is also talented and so funny. We got to where we needed to be so quickly because she is on top of everything. She is so good at what she does.
Are there any big changes coming this season that we should be looking out for regarding your character London Tipton?
Well, you know, every episode you're getting to see a different side of London. Every episode she is really coming out as a person. Her dad put her on this boat for a reason, and that was to go to school and be a better person. She can't just jet off to wherever she wants, so every episode you're getting to see a different side of her. It's fun, even for me, to explore because I've always seen London as this crazy character, which she is, but we get to see a more real side of her as well.
You also host the Disney Channel interstitial series "Pass the Plate." Are you a fan of the culinary arts?
When I was first approached for "Pass the Plate," I was thrilled because I love to cook. And I love to cook healthy. The reason I started cooking was because I would go to restaurants and have just amazing food but feel so heavy and gross. I would go home and try to cook the same thing, but a healthy version. I have a little brother who is in one of the episodes as my sous-chef, and we cook all the time. I cook Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I love to cook. I grew up in the kitchen with my family as the gathering place. As I've gotten older, I've really realized how important healthy eating is. What you put in your body is what it exerts.
Not only are we telling kids about the benefits of healthy eating, but we're also showing them all the different kinds of ingredients you can use and how diverse they are. So, I think it's really fun. I have so much fun filming the segments.
You've been acting since you were 6 years old, so what advice do you give all those fans who come up to you saying they want to be in show business?
I was just a little girl watching TV and wanting to be in it. My parents had no idea how to get me there, but here I am as a part of this great cast on the Disney Channel. Truly, if you just want to do this, then you have to commit to it. If it's being an actor or a doctor or an astronaut, you just have to work hard and surround yourself with good people. Anything could happen. Just look at me!
What's the best advice you've been given?
To this day, just always treat people the way you want to be treated. Whether it's family or friends or co-workers, I think it's the most important thing. Whether you have success or don't have it, whether you're a good person is all that matters.
You are an L.A. Lakers fan. What's your prediction for the second half of the season?
Uh, excuse me! We are like 30-6, so I believe we are number one right now! So, I can't really say anything. I think we'll just continue on and think it's definitely our year.
"The Suite Life on Deck" airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel.