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Home » ‘Dave’ Star Taylor Misiak on Ally’s Own ‘Looking For Love Tour’

‘Dave’ Star Taylor Misiak on Ally’s Own ‘Looking For Love Tour’

SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains spoilers from “Wisconsin,” the April 19 episode of FXX’s “Dave,” now streaming on Hulu.

Breaking up is never easy, but on television it’s especially difficult — and moreso if audiences fall in love with both parties involved. In Season 1 of FXX’s “Dave,” the relationship between aspiring rapper Lil Dicky (Dave Burd) and his kindergarten teacher girlfriend Ally (Taylor Misiak) offered an essential window not just into who the series’ title character is, but why viewers should love him despite his often deeply narcissistic worldview. After Dave’s failed overture to reconcile with her in Season 2, Ally joins him in Season 3 to capitalize on his “Looking For Love Tour” by embracing her “single girl era” and finding love for herself — if she’s ready for it.

Ahead of episode four, Ally’s return to the show, Misiak spoke to Variety about the relationship her character has with Dave now that they’re both seeking romances with other people. As she discussed the hook-up that brought her back into Dave’s orbit, she also examined how her character serves as a two-way mirror — not just reflecting on the choices that he makes, but some of Ally’s as well.

Traditionally when two people break up, they go separate ways and they don’t see each other. What were your concerns or your goals when Ally was brought back for Season 3?

I always had this duality, as a person and an actor, of wanting to be in every minute of the show possible because I thank every star every day that I’m even a small part of it. But then also, this other side of me that was like, I hope that we continue to make really smart decisions that really justify why Ally is there and doesn’t feel forced, because I think the show is incredibly honest. And before I knew anything about Season 3, I remember thinking, I hope if we go down this path of Dave really dating other people that it becomes this really interesting choice for Ally and we get to see Ally deal with that. The writers were like, why don’t we see Ally dating? Why don’t we see Ally as this full person realizing her own shit instead of just constantly dealing with Dave’s? So that answered both of my prayers in the best way possible.

There’s much more joy and camaraderie in Season 3 than in Season 2. Is Ally a part of the esprit de corps of the raucousness and fun this time or is she more of an observer as everything unfolds?

There’s many, many moments throughout the season that are just about doing what Dave does best, which is just really great comedy. However, I always get these really nice texts from Dave or from the writers about how much they love that I can act. They’re like, “What a little actor we have!” Because they work with so many artists, musicians and comedians, and they’re like, “Taylor is just an actor.” And there are a couple of scenes this season where they really flexed on that where they’re like, what if everyone is having fun, but Ally is having a mental breakdown? That doesn’t seem like I get to be as much involved in the party, but the drama or tension is coming from the expectations in Ally’s life not going as planned and her grappling with that.

You describe yourself as an actor, but this show is so much of an interrogation of hip-hop, of the hype-beast mentality — a lot of things that are outside of acting. How much has that helped you portray Ally more authentically?

I’ve had to learn some things and unlearn some things. I’ve also brought in a lot of skills from having a background in just straight-up acting. I’ve learned so much from getting to work with people who are coming from the music side — there’s just a fun spark that comes from people who come on our show and play themselves. They’re like, you’re going to do this scene with Kourtney Kardashian.

Given how much of this is driven by the real Dave’s relationships, what conversations did you have about how comfortable Ally and Dave can honestly be with one another as they transition into a friendship?

We’ve always talked about Ally being a vehicle for the audience to have permission to love Dave at some of his most unlovable moments. He’s a deeply flawed character — I think it’s part of what makes the show so interesting. And this real heart that Ally brings, we have to figure out a way to keep it in the universe of the show without always making it this will-they-won’t-they. While I agree with you it’s uncommon that exes have this sort of friendship, Dave has an uncommon life and uncommon relationships and is going to lean into the unexpected. Ally has this undeniable love for him, and he does for her, and I think that they anchor each other in different ways. Ally is one of the only characters that doesn’t benefit directly from Dave’s success, and their relationship should be really complicated. But in a way, it’s sometimes less complicated than his relationship with the rest of the ensemble because she does genuinely want happiness for him.

Is the uncertainty of her current relationship more painful than the seeming certainty of her past relationship with Dave?

I think the whole episode plays with expectations and hopes. We see Ally in Season 2 really sorting out her relationship with Dave, which is this huge category of her life. She still has this career. She is a successful gal. We’re looking at this person who is like, “This is going to be my single girl era, and then I’m going to meet the love of my life.” And in that way, she’s also really similar to Dave — they joke about Dave’s “Looking for Love Tour,” but Ally’s on a looking for love tour. She just doesn’t call it that, and thinks that she’s more grounded and realistic. But in reality, her expectations are just as off as Dave’s. Not only does she deeply not have her shit together, but she’s disappointed that she thought she did.

This whole episode feels like a bit of a dialectic between Dave’s experiences and Ally’s, where he’s not seeking the romantic situation that he ends up in, and she’s actively seeking one and it goes wrong. How was the episode written on the page to indicate that she’s gotten the experience that she said she wants, but realizes that it isn’t?

We played that confrontation scene at the end a handful of ways. And it does come down to the injustice of this moment that there is a complete lack of recognition of her being honest. He is so not getting it. He just sort of exemplifies everything that’s wrong with every guy that she’s dated and that all of her friends are dating — no, actually it’s not about you all the time. Not everybody wants to be your girlfriend all the time, and you’re not listening. I am giving you the gift of being open and honest, and instead, you are going to get defensive? So it got to this place where he became this symbol of her anger at the whole dating process. We talked about her getting a little frustrated and disappointed in herself that she boiled down herself to this, “I’m going to have a hot girl moment. I am going to go out and I’m going to be fuckboy for once,” and realize that’s not the situation she should have put herself in and she needs to be a better friend to herself in those moments. Like, how can you expect this sort of behavior from a person when you’re playing a character?

It also feels like a mirror of the “Harrison Ave” episode, where Dave goes back to this person who was his first true love and it ends up not only blowing up, but also teaching him something about himself.

We’re seeing Dave be like, I know I want a relationship. And then Ally’s like, what I should do right now is get a hook-up — and she can’t even form that sentence grammatically right! She’s disappointed and frustrated in herself that it is not what she wanted, and then that this guy also ends up being just a total douche, which she should have known. It is a lot of that revisiting it going, I’m feeling kind of lost because if the answer is I am not a casual sex girl and I do want intimacy and I’m ready for love as well… and Dave just has this dream girl fall into his lap? Ally just gets her feelings crushed by this douche who’s not as good as her, but she doesn’t know that.

At the end of the episode, GaTa comes in with a bunch of groupies for Dave to choose from. Is Ally still in the midst of her failed hot girl moment? Or when she hears this, is she thinking she’s not quite ready to move on?

My first instinct as Taylor was that it’s kind of wild that Ally goes to visit him on tour and then skips his show. That seems kind of crazy. I’m the girl who will never be late to an event. That seems so rude and Ally’s so nice. And then I was reading it and I’m like, oh, she’s not ready to admit that she might not be in a place to be able to see Dave’s show. This is a girl who is so supportive of him. I think there is so much she is okay with, but I think it leads to her throwing herself into this moment with this guy and not wanting to face that she might not be so ready to see Dave in this light.

So, by the time they have the conversation in the pool… there’s a lot that comes with that Ally’s not ready to deal with, but I know now it’s what I want. I’m talking to this guy who I, in so many ways, am still in love with, and he’s going to go have anonymous sex wearing a Scroguard with some groupie. By that time, I think she’s realized that she’s more sensitive to it than she might have thought. That just speaks to the real love and connection that they do have — that if you’re going to choose to be friends, stuff like that is going to come up.

To be honest with you, it was hard to not laugh at GaTa every time he came in because he said a new line every time — and man, they were so funny every time. I was like, “GaTa, I’m supposed to be sad!”

I think a strength of the show is that it is not judging her choice to be a hot girl. Her own internal journey is not creating a double standard between Dave’s tour life and her life now that she’s on the tour with him.

From the first draft, which was written by Emma Wisdom — she’s so great, probably no one knows our show better — we’ve used Ally as this way a lens for the audience to see his relationship with Ally and have this love with Ally that is so pure and good. We’re now just using her in this different way where we’re seeing that Dave acts like he is not a misogynist, and Dave acts like he puts women on a pedestal, nobody could treat women better, but in reality, there’s a lot of problems with the expectations that he has with women that he’s meeting on tour. The reality of dating for women is so much harsher than he thinks.

We’re not always going to find ways for Ally and Dave to be in the same room together, especially in this time right after their breakup. The dream is that they arrived to this place where maybe they’re back together or maybe they’re not, but we’re in the same room without it always being about the breakup.

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