There are not a lot of fires in Tacoma, so the 5 members of the Tacoma Fire Department have plenty of time to devote to other important matters like ridiculously “manly” competitions such as the “Frost Bite Challenge,” “Jaws of Life Jenga,” or seeing who can pee the most. However, when Chief Terry McConky’s (played by Kevin Heffernan of Super Troopers) daughter, Lucy O’Malley (played by Hassie Harrison of Southbound, A-X-L, Hart of Dixie), joins the team as the first female firefighter, things change. But not in any way that you might be thinking.
Yes, sensitivity training is involved, pin-up calendars get taken down, and the magazines in the bathroom have to go, but somehow, the atmosphere at the station gets even raunchier. After Lucy promises that she is not going to break up the sausage party, the stage is set for one of the most hilarious, laugh-out-loud comedies currently on TV.
Tacoma FD was co-created by and stars Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme (Super Troopers). The program airs Thursday nights at 10:30/9:30c on TruTV. Hassie Harrison is the actor with incredible range and a powerful presence who plays Lucy. Hassie has appeared on television in shows such as Hart of Dixie (The CW), The Astronaut Wives Club (ABC), and Chunk & Bean (ABC). Her film credits include Southbound, Dementia, Fat Camp, and A-X-L. Coming up, she plays Mazie Wells in The Iron Orchard, based on the novel which tells the story of a wildcatter in the West Texas oil fields of 1939. Additionally, Hassie just wrapped the lead female role in a science-fiction adventure comedy called Max Reload and the Nether Blasters where she played opposite Kevin Smith.
Recently, Entertaining Options had a chance to ask Hassie a few questions about her career, comedy, Tacoma FD, and more.
Lucy is impressively tough. She can easily hold her own in the Tacoma FD. Is it possible for a person to be strong, but still have parts that are vulnerable? Or, does society make you choose one or the other?
Oh man, I think you have to be both. That duality is one of the most beautiful aspects of being alive, for men and women. And I think we’re in a fascinating time… pushing boundaries and people are being invited to expand who they are and what is true for them. As for my character, Lucy, her duality is part of what drew me to her. Of course, she’s a tomboy and super tough in many ways but in other ways, she leans into her femininity.
What are your favorite things to do for fun?
Staying up late and talking about the things that really matter with people I love and find interesting. My relationships are the most important thing to me. So spending time with my loved ones is always high on my list. But otherwise, I really enjoy travel – it’s certainly one of my biggest indulgences. I love clean beauty and wellness. I became a certified health coach a couple years back out of personal interest and a love of helping people.
Your bio notes that you are a music enthusiast. What is your relationship with music?
I’m super emotionally connected to music. I make playlists to curate every facet of my life, especially in my work. I am always making playlists for my characters, which is a big part of my preparation as an actor. Nothing can help me tap into different parts of myself faster than music.
What is the last series you binged?
The last series I binged was The Wire because it’s arguably one of the best television shows ever made. And if I’m being honest, it did take me four or five episodes to get into it because there’s so much context and jargon to pick up on – but then I was completely hooked!! I think David Simon is a total genius.
What makes you laugh?
I’d have to say animals, and more specifically, dogs bring me the most laughter and joy. I also just love the way people match their pets and interact with them – their special voices they have, it’s so endearing. I love following animal accounts on Instagram too, @animalsdoingthings is a great account.
Are comedic roles something you seek out or is it just the way your career has happened to go so far?
It’s been such a privilege to have the opportunity to do comedy. I think that if you can do comedy, you can do any other type of genre.
Your comedic delivery is flawless. Was it hard to learn the timing and rhythm of comedy?
I’m a total goon in real life – I’ve always loved making people laugh and I guess the timing and rhythm of comedy have always come naturally to me.
Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme from the Super Trooper movies are the co-creators and stars of Tacoma FD. What was it like working with them? Did you learn anything about comedy?
Steve and Kevin are total legends! Their minds are so quick and when we’re on set, I am just absorbing everything they do like a sponge. They both directed a couple of the episodes in season one, so they’ve offered plenty of technical and specific notes, but I think more than anything, they’ve taught me about having fun in your work and how much that shows, allowing yourself to go for it. The most comforting thing is what Steve often said to me, which is “We will protect you in the editing room.” And knowing that there might be multiple great takes, but they can only ever use one. That really allows me to be more free in my work.
Are auditions nerve-racking for you?
Auditions can be nerve-racking… but it often depends on the context. So much of that depends on the room and casting director. There are some really genuine, world-class casting directors out there who make the whole process so enjoyable – those are the people I really look forward to bringing my work to, they are the ones who are really fostering artists, in my opinion.
What is the most exhilarating thing you have ever done?
The most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done and will always continue to do is to be brave with my heart and love people fiercely. It takes a lot of vulnerability and sometimes it really f*cking hurts, but it’s the only thing that really matters, so there you have it.
Why should we watch Tacoma FD?
With so much to be cynical about these days, who doesn’t need more laughter in their lives?! I hope Tacoma FD can bring people just even a smidgen of the joy it has brought me
Episode 4 of Tacoma FD is called “Training Day” and it airs Thursday, April 18 at 10:30/9:30c on TruTV.