Interview: Firefly Lane star Brandon Jay McLaren on Travis and Kate and karaoke blues

Firefly Lane star Brandon Jay McLaren, photo credit: The Riker Brothers
Firefly Lane star Brandon Jay McLaren, photo credit: The Riker Brothers /

It’s no secret, Firefly Lane on Netflix is a hit! From the storytelling to its characters, it’s a comedy-drama that quickly became the most-watched series on the streaming network. One of the characters I found the most compelling is Travis, portrayed by Brandon Jay McLaren.

In the series Firefly Lane, McLaren takes on the role of Travis, a widowed father who is friends with Kate (Sarah Chalke), and whose daughter is best friends with Kate’s daughter, Marah.

What makes the character of Travis so interesting, is that audiences seem to have a rollercoaster of feelings towards him. Sometimes we love him, but other times, not so much. Let’s be honest, initially, we were all about Kate and Johnny (Ben Lawson).

However, as the series goes on, we begin to wonder if Johnny even deserves Kate. We love how carefree Kate is around Travis. He truly brings out the best in her. We would be lying if we didn’t agree that Kate is her happiest when she’s with Travis.

Netflix Life recently caught up with the actor to chat about filming Firefly Lane, why it’s such a captivating and binge-worthy series, and, of course, that incredibly fun karaoke scene!

Firefly Lane star Brandon Jay McLaren, photo credit: The Riker Brothers
Firefly Lane star Brandon Jay McLaren, photo credit: The Riker Brothers /

Don’t expect to see Brandon Jay McLaren doing karaoke anytime soon

Netflix Life: I love how Travis brings out the best in Kate. The karaoke scene, in particular, is so much fun to watch! Kate is so genuinely happy when she’s around you.

Brandon Jay McLaren: Funny story about that! Both Sarah and I HATE karaoke. And when I say ‘hate,’ I mean all caps! I remember being told that Maggie [series creator Maggie Friedman] was picking karaoke songs and I said, ‘karaoke songs for what?’ I was like, ‘are you kidding me?’ And I had a mini panic attack on the inside.

I was like, ‘Sarah, I hate, hate karaoke.’ And she’s like, ‘oh my god, me too!’ So we kind of leaned on one another in that scene because we were both dreading shooting that. Needless to say, I haven’t done karaoke since, and I don’t plan to ever again.

NL: I couldn’t even tell! You guys did amazing!

McLaren: Thank you, I appreciate it! It’s like jumping into a cold pool, you just have to go in.

Firefly Lane: Travis and Kate

NL: What do you think it is about Travis that makes Kate so genuinely happy?

McLaren: My hope in playing Travis is that she [Kate] can sense that he truly cares about her and her wellbeing. There’s no selfishness, no other motives…he wants the best for Kate. So much so, that, I kind of believe that if the best thing for Kate is them not being together, he would be okay with that. Do you know what I mean?

NL: If Johnny does survive the blast, what do you think it’ll mean for Kate and Travis?

McLaren: I mean, I hope so… things are so complicated! Their children are best friends, which obviously complicates things. And then there’s Johnny. I hope that they’ll be able to sort of work out a way to be together.

NL: What I also love about Travis, is that in any other show, fans worry about characters and their feelings, but Travis is a little different. I see him as very independent. I feel like if he doesn’t end up with Kate, he’s going to be just fine. He seems very, very strong.

McLaren: Yeah, I think if he doesn’t end up with Kate romantically, I still feel like he’ll understand the situation is complicated and they’ll be friends.

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Why is Firefly Lane so binge-worthy?

NL: This show came out during a time where everyone is binge-watching something, especially on Netflix, there are so many shows to choose from. What do you think makes Firefly Lane stand out from the rest?

McLaren: I think Katherine and Sarah are brilliant! You know right away when you start the show the level of talent that’s ahead. Second, I think it’s sort of like the right show for the right time. The world has been going through a lot of crazy stuff and I think you can sit down and watch this show and it makes you feel good about friendships in a time of isolation.

It [Firefly Lane] takes place in the past so it allows us to kind of go back to maybe when times were simpler. I really believe it’s the right show for the right time, I think that’s why it had such a huge release. I’m so grateful for those who have been watching.

What’s next for Brandon Jay McLaren?

McLaren: I’m shooting a show right now. I’m doing the reboot of Turner & Hooch on Disney Plus. I started that in late August and we’re shooting through the end of April.

NL: Oh wow, that’s exciting!

McLaren: Yeah, this show is going to be a blast! I’m starting opposite Josh Peck and a Bordeaux Mastiff! We have the same dog from the original.

NL: That’s awesome, we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for that!

Firefly Lane season 1 is streaming on Netflix.

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