By Lie Shia Ong
With the premiere of Season 3 of "Good Luck Charlie" just days away, MSN TV spoke with the guys of the show, Eric Allan Kramer (Bob Duncan), Jason Dolley (PJ Duncan) and Bradley Steven Perry (Gabe Duncan), about what's ahead for the Duncan family this season -- especially with a new baby on the way.
MSN TV: The Season 3 premiere of "Good Luck Charlie" happens in a few days. The last time we saw the Duncans there was a sort of surprise announcement that another baby is on the way for the family. What can you tell us about what to expect this season?
Eric Allan Kramer: It's kind of funny: In a way it's sort of a flashback to where this whole series started. Everybody is expecting a new addition to the family and so the family goes through some restructuring. So just like with Charlie now, we need to figure out how to take care of the new baby, where the responsibilities in the house fall, and who needs to do what, and what that means for the future of the house.
Jason Dolley: I think the men in the family are sort of hoping [the baby] will be a boy. PJ is becoming a little bit more independent. He wants to move out into an apartment eventually. It's kind of cool to see him from the beginning of Season 1, for being this guy who was into his music and all about girls, and now he's grown up and more mature. Now he's more conscientious and now he's being a little bit more responsible in moving out. It's kind of cool to see him grow up.
Bradley Steven Perry: Fans can expect a lot. There's going to be a lot of funny bits. There's going to be some moving out. There's going to be some new rooms. There's going to be some new video diaries. It's just going to be a little more crazy than Season 2.
I know when it was announced that the writers were adding another member to the family last year, Eric, you and Leigh-Allyn Baker had said you were a little bit surprised. How do you feel about the story line now?
Eric Allan Kramer: I think, as actors on this show, I think we're as surprised as the audience watching. So when things happen, nine times out of 10, we're finding out at the table reading for the episode that week. I swear it's just like being in a real family. There's that initial shock of having a new one come in, and then suddenly everybody is very comfortable with it and the focus is suddenly "How does this affect the dynamics of the family?" So as far as characters go, I know there's talk of possibly needing some more money in the house. I know Bob may need to look for some other things to do. Amy needs to deal with her issues of going back to work. We've got PJ who's coming out of high school. Teddy is still in high school. And of course there's Charlie -- this is something that the other kids have been through, but this is the first for her dealing with a brand-new life in the family.
Jason and Gabe, are you excited there's another baby on the way? Gabe, you're going to have to get used to being the middle child now.
Jason Dolley: I think what will be cool about it is that everyone in the family has been down this road before. We've dealt with having another baby before. There will be aspects of that that will be familiar, but there's still Charlie. So that will be new for balancing both babies. But introducing a new baby, we've been there before, so I think that will help us out.
Bradley Steven Perry: You know, it didn't really work out when Charlie came along, but I think Gabe will really enjoy this baby. Gabe is actually going to start making video diaries for this baby. Gabe is also going to get a girlfriend sometime. He's just grown up. He's become a full teenager now, and there's just going to be a lot of different stuff going on in his life.
Eric, both you and Leigh-Allyn have said you're proud the show addresses real-life family issues. What do you think about the show highlighting this one of adding another baby to the mix?
Eric Allan Kramer: The thing about the Duncans is they don't have magical powers to fix things, so they have to address real-life problems. From the standpoint of what happens to everyday families in regards to -- is the job providing enough money? Is the job too demanding on time that now suddenly the kids aren't getting enough attention? It could be something as simple as getting breakfast in the morning, making sure that baby formula is ready and making sure that all the kids get the attention they need and nobody gets left out. The house was always crowded, but now it's really full. So there is always something that needs to be done, and invariably there's always something that is overlooked. It creates a really strong dynamic in the house where there's always a sort of energy to it.
Disney Channel had a contest to name the baby. Do you know if the baby will be a boy or a girl yet?
Eric Allan Kramer: Everything will be answered. We have a one-hour special, and everything will be answered there. I will say, [laughs] we as actors on the show are surprised every week by the situations that are created. I think when everybody finds out what the baby is, the baby's name, they'll be as surprised as we were on set.
How do you think Mia is going to react to a baby on set?
Eric Allan Kramer: I will say that Mia loves babies. The one thing this cast has going for it is that we all genuinely love each other. I think if there was any concern about having a baby on set, I think any concerns were dispelled pretty quickly. She loves kids and she's a great kid herself. Everybody together feels like a real family. I've said it before, but I leave my family at home and then go to my family at work.
Jason Dolley: She has fallen in love with the babies we've had on set. She just stares at them and she wants to hold them. She has been really loving towards all the babies. It's interesting to see because to see two small humans, one of them caring for the other, it's kind of a neat thing.
Mia has grown up quite a bit. Is she saying funny things all the time now?
Jason Dolley: She is. She is talking all the time. She'll have a conversation with you. I mean, I was watching some old episodes recently and seeing clips, and it's amazing to see what she was, I mean, even a year ago. Now the amount of words she can handle and how many lines she can say ... Now we have both conversations while shooting scenes and in real life. She's cool.
Bradley Steven Perry: She is hilarious right now. She's at that stage where she'll repeat things and she can talk full sentences on her own. She'll tell us stories. It's so funny because she's just so cute and she's so little, and it's kind of weird having all these big words coming out of this little girl.
Is there one episode you're dying for fans to see this season?
Eric Allan Kramer: We've got a couple of big moves for PJ that are really a lot of fun. The kids really start coming into their own this season. PJ makes some big moves. Gabe needs to take on some more responsibility and, like I say, Bob needs to take a long hard look at what he's been doing all his life and figure out if it's enough for the future.
Jason Dolley: When PJ gets his own apartment, Amy deals with the empty-nest syndrome and he tells his mom up front that he's growing up, and it's kind of a touching moment for them.
Bradley Steven Perry: I'm really excited to see the episode that my TV dad directed. Eric actually directed one, and I'm excited for everyone to see it.
Mother's Day is coming up this month, and Father's Day is coming up next month. Are there any special episodes planned? And anything special you're doing as a TV family for those days?
Eric Allan Kramer: [Laughs] Yeah, as a cast, those days certainly don't get overlooked. Honestly, I wish I could tell you if anything is scripted. Again, I think that stuff is going to be a surprise to us as well. But we certainly, as a cast and as a television family, we're very much aware of Mother's Day and Father's Day and birthdays and everything else.
Jason Dolley: I do now! [Laughs] I'm sure we'll do a little something for them on set or bring them lunch or make them food or something. Something special I did for my mom a few years ago, I gave her -- I know it's going to sound really cheesy, but I gave her a "me" day, which she has yet to cash in, but it's basically a day where she gets to do whatever she wants. I liked that gift.
Bradley Steven Perry: Well, me and Jason might have to come up with something. [Laughs] I'm not the best with coming up with stuff like that, but we'll get back to you on that one. I think one of my favorite things I did was, going to an Angels game in Anaheim on Father's Day.
Eric, I heard we're going to see a much healthier you on the show this season. I was told you changed your diet and your exercising habits?
Eric Allan Kramer: I wound up getting back in the gym. Basically, I had sort of bottomed out a little bit last year. I wound up having some knee issues, so I got back in the gym to work on that and take care of that. One thing leads to another and you lose a couple pounds and you get encouraged by that, and I think it's definitely a new look for Season 3 for me. I think as the shows go by, I think you'll be able to see the change. I think I started wider, but I sort of shrink as the shows go on. ... I used to be an athlete most of my life. I played a lot of football and basketball and that sort of thing, and so I was always very active, and the roles I got when I was younger were athletic and sort of based on my build. Although I realized I would never see that kind of shape again. It's nice to be back to a shape that I remember ... it's been a very positive response from everybody that I've met on the show and on the street. ... I haven't felt this good in the past couple years.
And speaking of athletic roles, I actually saw that you played Thor early on in your acting career.
Eric Allan Kramer: [Laughs] My very first movie of the week when I moved out to Los Angeles was playing Thor in "The Incredible Hulk Returns." That's what I mean. That's sort of where I was back then, and then you know you wind up having kids and a family and other demands, and you stop moving around as much as you were back then. So yeah, I got a little heavier over the years, but we're back and trying to move forward in that direction.
Any message you want to send out to the "Good Luck Charlie" fans out there?
Eric Allan Kramer: I just hope everybody enjoys it as much as we have enjoyed making it. I think there's always a fear that another character will somehow change it or not make it the show people remember, but I think this is the opposite. I really think the Duncans are about family and what that means, and I just think a bigger family just reinforces who the Duncans are.
Jason Dolley: I would say just keep watching because there will be some things that you are expecting that you will get, and there will be some things you're not expecting that hopefully you'll like.
Bradley Steven Perry: I'm just really excited for everyone to see it. We work hard on these episodes and we hope they all turn out to be really funny. ... We hope our fans just enjoy them. Expect a lot of funny.
Season 3 of "Good Luck Charlie" premieres Sunday, May 6, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel.