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Ellen Gray: Jordana Spiro & 'Boys' are back

MY BOYS. 9:30 p.m. tomorrow, TBS. TBS' "MY Boys" is one of those shows you might not realize you were missing until it comes back.

MY BOYS. 9:30 p.m. tomorrow, TBS.

TBS' "MY Boys" is one of those shows you might not realize you were missing until it comes back.

Thanks to the vagaries of cable scheduling, the unpretentious, sharply written sitcom starring Jordana Spiro as a Chicago sportswriter whose closest companions tend to be male, has been on - and off - since November 2006, ending its first season on a cliffhanger last summer.

Its first season?

"I know, it's going to be on for 20 years and be like, 'The fourth season of "My Boys"! PJ gets her catheter removed!' " joked Spiro, who plays her, in a recent phone interview.

Whatever. Tomorrow night, it's back.

But if you've really been waiting nearly a year to find out which gorgeous guy PJ decided to invite along on a romantic trip to Italy, you may have wandered into the wrong sitcom.

Because as much as PJ's one female friend, Stephanie (East Norriton's Kellee Stewart), would like to believe otherwise, "My Boys" is not "Sex and the City," and in a TV universe peopled with Carries, Mirandas, Charlottes and Samanthas, PJ's none of the above.

Let other women chase change - from shoes and work and love and, of course, sex - PJ's looking for her life to stay the same, from poker with the guys (Kyle Howard, Reid Scott, Michael Bunin, Jamie Kaler and Jim Gaffigan, as PJ's brother Andy) to, well, poker with the guys.

In fact, don't expect to see PJ at the ballpark at all this season.

"The show is about the poker table, and it just so happens that she works in the press box," Spiro said. "It isn't about a girl who works in the press box and just so happens to play poker with her friends, you know what I mean? So anytime you have a storyline that revolves around her work, you take her away from where the heart of the show lies, which is with her friends.

"What I love about her and what makes her real to me is that she's seemingly incredibly confident, and aggressive with what she wants," Spiro said. "But she's actually not, I think. She backs out of things really quickly, in order to not get hurt. And I think that that actually makes her very male in that sense."

One problem PJ will encounter this season is that people can't be counted on not to change.

"She holds fast to her traditions, and she has a group and a family that's she's sort of created and drawn towards her. So I think that any time that that boat gets rocked a little bit, she gets frustrated," Spiro said.

The actress, though, seems confident that "My Boys" creator Betsy Thomas won't let the character sink.

"I know one of the hopes . . . Betsy Thomas [has] for PJ is that she will be able to create a sort of evolution for PJ, that she's kind of growing into her womanhood," Spiro said. "And though she's had a bit of an extended adolescence, we've watched this progression into being a little more of a capable woman, being able to balance things. I think for [Thomas], in her mind, that's what she wants to see overall."

In the meantime, Spiro's embracing her own inner guy.

"For better or worse, [PJ] brushes things off very quickly. And she really tries to not stay in a heavy place. And she doesn't want to internalize a lot of things. She wants to put them out there, get some advice and then do something and then move on. I think that's a pretty positive influence in a lot of ways, you know?" she said.

"There's only so much griping about things you can do." *

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