Charlie Weber no longer ‘Underemployed’

By Trevor Ballanger

Young adults graduating from college often have big dreams and glittering expectations for their futures, although working at an entry-level job is a more realistic picture. This rings true for the characters of MTV’s latest scripted series, “Underemployed,” which premiered Oct. 16.

Actor Charlie Weber plays Todd, a Chicago businessman who becomes a love interest of Daphne, an unpaid intern played by Sarah Habel.

While his character may have a decent job, Weber has had his own real life struggles as a formerly underemployed actor. More recently, he has worked on the WB series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the Twilight spoof “Vampires Suck.”

Weber chatted with The Chronicle about his experience working in Chicago, the chemistry between characters on the show and finding success as an actor.

The Chronicle: How did you and the cast celebrate the show’s recent premiere?

Charlie Weber: MTV was kind enough to have a party for everyone at a really nice venue in West Hollywood. It was just a really cool, casual thing where everyone got together and watched the East Coast premier from L.A. [because] it was earlier in the evening. It was fun. A few people were out of town, but several people were there. It was definitely good to see everybody.

Knowing MTV, it’s assumed the show would be raunchy, so it’s surprising to see it has heart.

I was thrilled about that. When I read the material before my audition, I remember thinking the same thing. It had a lot of heart, it was funny [and] it was charming. I really loved it. MTV has not done things like that lately, but it’s really moving in that direction.

Do you feel this story relates to Chicago?

I really do. It’s interesting that it was [set] in Chicago. First off, it’s a beautiful city—really vibrant with a lot of energy. It’s just a good backdrop for the story. Chicago has a nice charm to it. The people are really cool. I love that it’s in the Midwest, but it’s a metropolis. It was very suitable for what we were doing.

How do you feel Chicago differs from New York or L.A.?

I lived in New York for a couple years and really enjoyed the energy of the city, but it’s a lot more hostile. In Chicago, despite moving fast, you get a lot more interaction just walking down the street. People nod to each other. Not always, but it’s got a homier feel to it.

What else makes “Underemployed” different from other MTV shows?

[Some students are] too young to remember “My So-Called Life.” It was a little more dramatic, but it was a really brilliant show. I think our show is comedic but moves in the direction of having real life situations. MTV is trying to mix it up and keep their straight comedies and let our show stay in drama. In the next couple of years, who knows what we’ll do?

Are you able to relate to the characters of the show and their struggle to succeed?

I’ve had my ups and downs with what I chose to do with my life. No matter what you choose, there’s going to be trial and error, good times and bad. I can look back when I was at the age of those characters and think about how [being unemployed] affected me, how I got through [that] and how it all ended up.

What is it like working with Sarah Hable as your love interest in the show?

We’ve shared the fact that we’re very warm, open people, so it was sort of effortless. She’s a wonderful person, and we got along great. It was very nice to have that chemistry with her, and I think that’s why that story line worked well. As it unfolds, I think people will enjoy that story line.

When you’re acting as a love interest, is it hard not to have feelings for the person you’re working with?

You are in an emotional situation with a person, but at the end of the day, you look back and realize the things you’re saying to each other and the way you’re feeling is a fictitious thing. That chemistry started out great and built throughout the season. You never quite give in to it. It’s always a fine line because you want that reality to be there while you’re working, but at the same time not let it interfere.