Peter Gallagher: He Sings, He Golfs, He’s Still America’s Favorite Dad

July 16, 2020
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Peter Gallagher slipped effortlessly into the role of Sandy Cohen in The OC in 2003. From that moment on he became one of the great TV dads. He is currently in the new Andy Samberg romantic comedy with an out-there twist, Palm Springs. It can be seen on Hulu.

And yes, Peter plays the dad of a bride! In some ways he didn’t care what role he was, he just wanted to be in this movie. Peter said, “As soon as I read it, I thought, Oh my gosh, this is so weird. I don't have any idea how it's going to work but I want to be a part of it."

Palm Springs stars Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live fame and Cristin Milioti from the final season of How I Met Your Mother and Fargo. The starring characters find themselves in a time loop where the day repeats itself over and over. Peter described the movie saying, “It's like a Groundhog Day genre movie, but it takes it somewhere else. And what I love is it has such heart, like you're moved by it and you laugh at it and Andy Samberg is amazing. And Cristin Milioti is amazing. Everybody's amazing. I just love the movie and I love that it's out now.”

Peter plays a dad again in the NBC musical sit-com, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. The first season of this show can be seen on Hulu too. In the first episode, there is an emotionally uplifting father-daughter moment which is underlined by the music and Peter’s solo performance. I told Peter how magic that scene was when he sang Cyndi Lauper’s "True Colors." He replied, “I'm really glad you feel that way…… We had all hits, which is another reason why the show is so powerful. Because all these songs already are living within us. And already attached to memories and feelings and who we are. And by calling them up in these compelling circumstances, it just gives the audience permission to come along with us.”

With today’s teenagers churning through old shows on streaming services, many have found the 2003 to 2007 Fox TV hit, The OC. This continual viewing only perpetuates the myth of Peter’s character, Sandy Cohen as one of America’s favorite TV dads. Peter said, “I still get notes and tweets from kids having a final that they've got to do, or advice on this.”

Peter continued when speaking about his character Sandy Cohen, “he doesn't lose his sense of humor. And he doesn't get afraid of other people. He opens his arms and he doesn't abandon himself in spite of his surroundings. And that to me was really American.”

I proudly tell Peter that I had a 15-second acting role in episode six of Season 1 of The OC. The star Mischa Barton pushes me out of the way at a cocktail party and I give a disgusted look. Peter quickly replies with a dad-like pun to make me feel good, “Which is pretty much why we got season two. Let's be honest.”

Palm Springs and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 1 can be seen on Hulu.