Fowl Play: Tate (Jamie Martin Mann) interrupts Holly’s (Ashley Puzemis) holiday plans.

What starts out as a dismal Thanksgiving for Holly takes a bright turn when Johnny realizes his stepsister is alone for the holiday and cancels his plans with Chanel to stay home and have dinner with her.

“Holly doesn’t want to show it, but she’s over the moon with excitement that Johnny is choosing to stay with her on Thanksgiving rather than [be with] Chanel,” says her portrayer, Ashley Puzemis. “She doesn’t feel guilty. Holly doesn’t realize that Johnny is just being a good person by comforting her, since their family lost the baby. She just takes it as an opportunity to get closer to him. She’s definitely feeling hopeful, because this a chance for her to get what she wants [and] be with Johnny. Any and all things Johnny.”

The pair has a fabulous time together. “It’s a perfect Thanksgiving,” continues Puzemis.  “In the scene we’re eating dinner, and Holly is trying what Johnny likes to call ‘Thanksgiving on a bun’. But it turns out to be rather messy. There’s a lot of laughing and even though this is a lighthearted moment on the surface, the bonding definitely has a deeper meaning to Holly.”

The scenes were a lot of fun to film, too. “We had these massive sandwiches that consisted of ham and stuffing and cranberry sauce,” recounts Puzemis. “I believe the first take, we had technical mishaps, so we had to film again. It was just so much fun stuffing our faces and goofing around with Carson [Boatman, Johnny]. So the laughing and enjoyment were very authentic.”

The fun comes to a halt when Tate interrupts. “I’d say Holly’s pretty pissed, since the moments they had been sharing were so perfect to her,” says Puzemis. “On the inside Holly is so frustrated, angry and mostly annoyed.”

Especially because now that Holly has Tate for company, Johnny takes the opportunity to leave and join Chanel. Holly conceals how upset she is. “Holly’s smart, so she knows she can’t blow her cover,” Puzemis points out. “She lets Johnny leave effortlessly. Holly also knows if she chose to act desperate in that moment and not let him go, Johnny would’ve totally caught on to her feelings for him.”

Ultimately, Holly decides to use the situation to her advantage. “Since Tate interrupted a moment where Holly thinks she might [have kissed] Johnny, she takes this as an opportunity for him to repay her,” explains Puzemis. “Right off the bat, when Tate knows he messed up, she guilt-trips him into thinking he owes her. I believe she says something along the lines of, ‘I’ll forgive you for acting like an idiot [for] the last time, but only if you help me break up Johnny and Chanel.’ ”

Johnny balks at the idea, but Holly is undeterred. “He has always liked Holly since the moment he saw her, and she knows this,” notes Puzemis. “So she uses it to her advantage. Holly wants what she can’t have; hence, it’s why she’s goo-goo eyes over Johnny. And she thinks she can manipulate Tate because he’s already shown interest in her.”


Janet Di Lauro

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