Love Stories: Hollis of TVLand’s ‘First Love, Second Chance’

When Chris and Hollis were teenagers in love 25 years ago, Chris, a champion skateboarder at the time, was the famous one and it was that fame that led to the demise of the relationship.

Time may not heal old wounds but it certainly does change things. Today, Hollis (Ms. Gillespie to you) has received quite a bit of notoriety of her own as an humorist and author.

Hollis and Chris reunite in the the TVLand series, First Love, Second Chance (FLSC, Wednesdays, 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific) to see if “they are ready to give their love another try.”

You’ve met Chris in a previous post. Now, it’s time to hear from Hollis. (Warning: Be prepared for a lot of belly laughs).

Hollis from “Chris & Hollis” airs Wednesday, March 31 (Sneak Peek, click here)

The Ride:   How frightened were you that your first love would not only not look the same as when you last saw him, but would look far worse than you could ever have imagined?

Hollis: That seriously did not occur to me. Chris was a professional athlete. I knew he’d probably stayed smoking hot his whole life and even his corpse in the damn coffin will probably be sexy. That’s an infuriating fact about men like Chris. Anyway, that said, what I worried about more was that, in the years since I’d seen him last, he might have turned into a big volcanic bastard.

The Ride: What if the latter was true – looked far worse than you ever imagined – what would you have done?

Hollis: In my mind, the only way he could have looked worse than I ever imagined was if something happened to him beyond his control, like if he’d been mauled by a bear or burned horribly by a grease fire. And even that didn’t put me off. It would still have been nice to see his burned up, bear-mauled face.

The Ride: And did you focus on keeping in shape, looking your best, just in case you ran into that first love?

Hollis: Lord, I was convinced I’d aged like a chunk of bad brie. Five years earlier, I’d gone through a divorce that left me ecstatic to be alone, and it had been years since I’d even gone on a date. I had no context with which to compare my attractiveness to other than the photos of myself at 17 that I hadn’t seen in years, and to my eyes the comparison was awful! It did not help that when I asked my best friend Grant his opinion of my appearance, he’d say, “I’d f#ck you!” which was no help because I know Grant would f#ck anything.

The Ride: How did you find out about the show?

Hollis: “FLSC” contacted me to tell me an old boyfriend was interested in reconnecting and (kicker) would I like to do it in front of a TV audience. My initial reaction was HELL to the goddamn NO! But then my friends talked me into it. I think their reasoning went like this: “Bitch, unless you take this chance you will die alone in a bathrobe covered in cat fur.” I think that is a direct quote.

The Ride: What was the selection process like?  I would think the casting people/producers would want to make sure that no one had any stalker tendencies.

Hollis: My third book had just been released, and I was due to be in Los Angeles for the Book Expo, so the production company just piled all my psych evaluations and physicals into that weekend. They actually had the doctors come to my hotel room and administer the tests. I loved it because I got to counter-grill them about their experience in this weird cottage industry where they are dispatched in all directions to clear contestants on the fly. Wow! You should hear the stories. Their screening process is pretty thorough.

The Ride: You are pretty vulnerable on the show. Why were you so willing to let a national television audience see that vulnerability?

Hollis: The only way I do anything – be it write my column, books, make TV appearances, etc. – is if I make myself certain no one will see it. Realistically I knew it wasn’t likely no one would see the show, but if I had spent a second considering the potential audience I would have froze. I would have come across less real than a big walking breast implant.

The Ride: Your friends have a lot to say when they met your first love for the first time. What did they have to say when you told them you were going to be on the show?

Hollis:  I suspect they were so supportive because they knew it would entail adventure on their part, too. My friends (the ones depicted in the episode) are up for anything as long as it’s inappropriate and scandal-worthy. And potential danger provides a huge side perk.

The Ride: What did your family have to say?

Hollis: Lord God! I did not tell my family. Not a word. 
I have two sisters. One is sensible and would have been mortified. The other lives in Nicaragua, thereby easy to avoid. It’s just my luck that the latter was in Ohio visiting the former when promos for this show started airing on television. I’ve told them I have a doppelganger and so far they’re falling for it.

The Ride: So do you believe in love at first sight?

Hollis: Hell no.

The Ride: Did you believe in love at first sight before you met your first love?

Hollis: Of course. I was 17. The world was my personal balloon on a string.

The Ride: “Hopeless romantic” or “Cautious Cynic”?

Hollis: Hopeless romantic badly disguised as cautious cynic. For example, I lied when I said I don’t believe in love at first sight.

The Ride: What do you hope people get from watching the show?

Hollis:  I hope they learn they are worthy of love. I hope they learn to forgive themselves. I hope the world comes together in a big weepy ball of Birkenstocks to realize hope for the future doesn’t have to devolve into a big wad of wasted potential. Barring that, maybe a wistful smile or two would be good, too.

Want to hear more from Hollis?  I know you do. For her website, click here.

And to follow her on Twitter (@HollisGillespie), click here.

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