James Van Der Beek Talks 'Friends With Better Lives'

Zoe Lister Jones and James Van Der Beek in 'Friends With Better Lives' Zoe Lister Jones and James Van Der Beek in 'Friends With Better Lives'

James Van Der Beek doesn’t mind looking a little silly to get a laugh, a tactic he’s employing in his opening scene for new CBS comedy, “Friends with Better Lives.”

“If it gets a laugh, I’m not above it,” James told AccessHollywood.com of making his introduction as Will Stokes on the show — in bicycle pants.

“I think it’s in the first two episodes and then we’re done with the bike shorts, I think,” he explained of the tight-fitting look.

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The reason for the shorts? Will is cruising past his estranged wife’s place, hoping to see if she’s home.

“I think it actually does say quite a bit about him,” James said of the look. “There’s not a ton of shame happening with Will, which makes it fun. He’s not quite as shameless as the last character I played, which is the fake, bizarre version of me. But yeah, Will is pretty particular and he definitely has his opinions and there’s this weird romantic streak in him that’s often misguided and misplaced and doesn’t jive all that much with reality.”

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Will is the wounded bird of a group of friends — Bobby (Kevin Connolly), Jules (Brooklyn Decker), Andi (Majandra Delfino), Kate (Zoe Lister Jones) and Lowell (Rick Donald) — who is having trouble romantically, and in life in general.

“He’s blindsided and he’s hurting and he’s scrambling. He’s a man who’s lost and he had taken for granted what his future was gonna be and that just got completely pulled out from under him and there’s a part of him that really wants his wife back and doesn’t understand that it’s over,” James said.

But, with his wife not willing to take him back, James’ character Will makes his entrance into the dating pool.

“He could stand to be a little more picky,” James teased of Will’s openness to the opposite sex in episodes to come.

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“Friends with Better Lives” premieres March 31 at 9/8c, after the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” on CBS.

-- Jolie Lash

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