Marisa Coughlan took the role of Jenny McIntyre, the photographer turned ace reporter on Lifetime’s Side Order of Life because she saw so much of herself in the character. “Truly this character is closer to me than any other. She’s an artist and she is taking risks. Growing up a girl from Minnesota and my parents are lawyers so it was not an obvious choice for me to become an actress. She’s nervous at first about her life and relationships, but I could relate.
“I’d come out of a relationship [with actor Kevin Zegers] that I had high hopes for and it ended up not going in the direction that I thought it would. She and I are the same age and we’re both in a process of reevaluating.”
The show has become a hit with Lifetime viewers, who find the mix of comedy and drama realistic and refreshing. Marisa said, “I have a lot of friends who watch the show. Also I think it appeals to a lot of people. It’s about the quarter life crisis.
“But to be honest I’m not surprised that the show has become a fan favorite. I read the script and fell in love instantly. I’m within the core demographic and it really appealed to me in my life. It’s about figuring out who you are. I thought it would find an audience because there’s a yearning and it gives you insights. It does have a ton of heart, but also comedy," she added.
As for working with 90210 alums Jason Priestley, who plays Jenny’s ex fiancé, and Ian Ziering, who’s Jenny’s current love interest in the role of cell phone man, she thinks it’s funny people want there to be this big 90210 reunion. “We had lot of crews to capture. They got a kick out of it. It was a press frenzy. It’s funny how people still love that show. I would love to be a part of something that 10 years from now people still talk about.”
As for how the show will air or what will happen to Jenny next season, well, to Marisa, that’s all up in the air. “We just wrapped on Thursday night and it’s all a blur to me.”
She added, “It’ll end with really good old-fashioned twists and turns. We all read it and were like, ‘Ugh this is so good.’ It ends like a romantic comedy movie should end. It all comes together.”
“We don’t know yet what’s going to happen next season, but we have passionate fans who are really behind the show.”
The season finale airs Sunday Oct. 7 on Lifetime.
By Jocelyn Vena