EXCLUSIVE: How Andrea Savage Is Redefining the TV Mom Role With 'I'm Sorry'

truTV / Justin Stephens

Andrea Savage is ready to redefine the TV mom role in her new truTV comedy, I’m Sorry, which premieres Wednesday, July 12

“At a certain point you just keep getting offered not very funny mom parts. And I’m going, ‘I don’t understand why this has to be the only role that is out there for women over 40,’” Savage tells ET of the personal project that she’s spent years trying to get made. 

Based on the actress’ real-life experiences, the half-hour series follows a comedy writer named Andrea who comically exposes her inner immaturity and over-the-top personality through unexpected situations. Along for the ride are her adoring yet sarcastic husband, Mike (Tom Everett Scott), and their young daughter, Amelia (Olive Petrucci). 

“I’m a mom, and I can tell you we’re not boring, we’re not sexless and always making the right decisions. And so, I just want to show what I’m talking about. I’ve got so many fun stories,” Savage continues. “My character is mostly influenced by me. I tried to keep it real and how I actually acted in situations. It’s pretty close to home.”

In the first episode, Andrea discovers a titillating secret about another mom at her daughter's school that she can't quite get past. Meanwhile, she’s stuck playing phone tag with her doctor's office, causing everyone to speculate about why they'd be calling her on a Saturday to provide her with test results. 

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“The pilot has more of a Curb Your Enthusiasm feel to it, but the rest of the series doesn’t,” Savage says, explaining that each episode is very different, based on real stories and encounters she has experienced offscreen. 

“We really touch upon lots of issues that just everyone in their 30s and 40s deal with,” she continues. The show will deal with friends who are going through divorces; there’s also an episode about friends who are still single. “And it’s like, ‘You better lock something down before you’re just too weird.’“ 

I’m Sorry will also touch on the unexpectedly funny moments around fertility, keeping a marriage alive and parenting. “There’s also stuff about my parents in the show, exploring the period where you’re not taking care of them yet and they are not taking care of you,” Savage says, adding that the show tackles “those things that no one prepares you for.”

One such example is the second episode, which deals with “racism in your child,” Savage says. “It’s something that everyone I know experiences but no one talks about. And as soon as I brought it up, people were like, ‘Oh, my God, my daughter said this and my son said this.’ It didn’t matter what race they were, but there is stuff that comes out of your kid’s mouth and it’s like, ‘Oh, God, how do I navigate this?’”

Savage, who has a young daughter, revealed that navigating the show’s shooting schedule became a bit of challenge when it came to spending quality time with her only child.

“It’s hard. I don’t do more than one thing at a time,” Savage says, revealing that her daughter spent a lot of time on set. “I did not write any exterior night scenes with the exception of two for the entire season, and it was a directive, because I didn’t want to shoot at night. I wasn’t able to bring my daughter to school during those 11 weeks of production, but I would be home every night before she went to bed.”

While she made many sacrifices to produce I’m Sorry, Savage never let her daughter be one of them. “Communication with her was very important. [I] explained that this was only temporary,” she says. “I didn’t go anywhere or do anything throughout that period except go to work and be with my daughter, truly. You get two priorities and that’s it.”

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Savage says one of her biggest rewards is being able to
create a character that she believes is a role model. Andrea is not perfect by
any means, but “she’s a good person who has good relationships with her family
and friends … She’s not trying to be a d**k, and she’s never trying to take
someone down.”

And it’s certainly a far cry from some of Savage’s other
notable onscreen roles, including the ambitious President Laura Montez, frenemy
to Selina Meyer on HBO’s Veep, and
her various housewife parodies on Hulu’s Hotwives

Savage, whose long list of credits also includes Episodes, Sleeping With Other Peopleand The House, says this milestone is more gratifying than any she's
experienced in the past.

“I’ve done this for so long. I’ve had so many small
victories. There are a lot of things that you do behind the scenes that no one
really knows about,” she reveals. “The business is a little bit of a young
person’s game. In terms of making big leaps in your career, often it’s much
harder for a woman to make big leaps in her career after 40, and because of
that I feel like I’m taking a lot of moments of reflection and just going,
‘I’ve worked so hard for this and I’m going to appreciate it.’ I think it’s a
little sweeter after 40.”

I'm Sorryairs Wednesdays at 10/9c on truTV.