Charlotte Nicdao On Poppy, The Apple TV+ Show’s Third Season & The Importance Of Relationships [Interview]
Dec 13, 2022
It might not have achieved the same level of buzz as its counterparts such as comedies like “Ted Lasso,” but “Mythic Quest” remains in its third season one of the funniest comedies currently airing. Created by Rob McElhenney (who also stars) along with Charlie Day and Megan Ganz, the Apple TV+ series centers on the day-to-day office work of a team responsible for one of the biggest multiplayer video games of all time. Season Three of the series follows characters Ian (McElhenney) and Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) as they’re branched out to create a new company in order to produce the latter’s game. It deserves as big an audience as possible. While it’s set in the gaming and tech world, it’s hardly what takes prominence in the show’s storylines, as it’s instead interested in fleshing out the sometimes bizarre dynamics these characters have between one another.
Poppy remains perhaps the biggest highlight of the series, with Nicdao giving the character a frenzied but sincere energy that allows the character to be big and broad while remaining grounded and human. We got to speak to Nicdao about her favorite relationship on the show, the lovable messiness of Poppy, and the upcoming Christmas episode.
I have to start off by saying that I don’t think there’s another character on television right now who makes me laugh as hard as Poppy does. I assume there are a lot of things you love about playing this character but if you had to boil it down and pick one aspect of her that you love inhabiting the most, what would it be?
I really love the fact that she’s so out of control of her emotions. It sounds almost like a lady cliche or something, but I think the way that it manifests in Poppy is quite violent. She cannot keep everything that she feels and wants and is trying to go for inside of her body. It means that she’s flailing all over the place and I think as someone, and I think a lot of people can relate to this, who is constantly trying to curate and perfect the way that I’m moving through the world, to get to step into the shoes of this woman who is so un-self-aware that she wouldn’t even begin to think that is possible is very freeing and fun.
Poppy is often as messy, cruel, and calculating as characters like Ian (Rob McElhenney) or Brad (Danny Pudi). Is there something refreshing about playing a character like that, especially a female character in the specific industry depicted on the show?
Absolutely, and I think it’s kind of subversive that “Mythic Quest” has created this character in Poppy who we’re introduced to in season one as an underdog and someone we can easily root for. Because she’s clearly brilliant and she’s clearly not getting the respect that she deserves. The problem is that once she does start to get the respect she deserves you can start to see the cracks in who she is as a person and the truth is I think of her as being just as narcissistic and just as much as an egomaniac as Ian. She just doesn’t know how to wield her own power yet. I think that the day that she figures out how to do that is a very scary day.
Yet she still remains the heart of the show in a lot of ways. Do you think it’s important how in Season Three they’re still showing her having moments of self-doubt and insecurity? Do you enjoy playing both facets of the character?
I think that if Poppy could allow herself to be vulnerable a little bit more she’d probably be a really fun person to be around. I think that she’s silly and kind of childlike in a lot of ways and really cares about the things that she spends her time doing. I think at the heart of it she cares about the people around her and especially about Ian, [but] she just doesn’t have the toolkit to express a lot of that. I really think that if I met Poppy as she is in real life I’d stay far, far away from her, but if I met Poppy after she, you know, did a little self-exploration I’d be like yes, let’s get brunch.
Which your character does in this season. Was it nice getting the chance to work with the other actresses more one on one and exploring those other relationships on the show?
It was so much fun and the other actresses and I are all friends in real life and very close so it was really great to get to play with some of those dynamics on screen. There is a scene where a few of us go to brunch and it really felt like the exact same table we’d usually be sitting around and having brunch at. It was really fun to get to that in the show. Also, I kind of love that the show again isn’t trying to preach or teach any lessons about how the female characters interact. It presents these relationships as just as complicated as the men’s relationships or the relationships between Ian and Poppy. This season Ian and Poppy branch out, they build their own studio to build Poppy’s game, and their only employee is Dana (Imani Hakim). We get to see the mentorship between Poppy and Dana evolve into something a little bit more complicated and more fun.
It’s one of the more interesting relationships in the season. Is there a particular relationship that you think is the most fun to explore or is it the moments where the whole cast gets to work together that are the most fun?
I love when we all get to be together. I want to say that it doesn’t happen enough but I actually think it happens just the right amount for it to be really fun when it does. I always love exploring the relationship between Poppy and Ian. I really think there isn’t anything else like it on TV at the moment which is a big call but I don’t know, maybe I’m biased. I really love getting to explore that relationship because it keeps getting more and more complicated each season and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.
And then the new relationship between Poppy and Dana also brings about all these fun new scenarios that I hadn’t really considered Poppy in before. It was such a dream.
I’d agree that there aren’t many relationships on television like Poppy and Ian’s, especially platonic ones these days.
Yeah, exactly, and I love that the show holds that relationship up as being just as important as a romantic relationship. Just because we’re not rooting for them romantically – although I know some people are – I’m not and I still see that they’re probably the most central figures in each other’s lives and always will be and I think that is worth looking at.
Is there an episode this season or element that you’re most excited for viewers to see?
We really get to do a lot of fun stuff this season. It’s kind of hard to pick one. As usual, I’m going to say that I’m really excited for people to see our standalone episode. I wasn’t super involved in it but maybe that’s the reason why it excites me so much and why I love it so much. I’m also really excited for people to see the Christmas episode. I think it’s going to be really sweet.
Season Three of “Mythic Quest” premieres on Apple TV+ today.
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