A Little Too Cozy: Off-camera with Don L. Fonzo & Despina Cairan Ryan (Don L. Fonzo), Pascale Spinney (Dora) in AtG's A Little Too Cozy. Photo: Don Lee, The Banff Centre.

A Little Too Cozy: Off-camera with Don L. Fonzo & Despina

Jenna Simeonov

Readers, you’ve met the contestants for A Little Too Cozy, and now it’s time to meet the masterminds behind your favourite love-at-first-text dating game show. We chat with the show’s host, Don L. Fonzo and talent relations expert, Despina; read on to get the insider’s scoop on what to expect from the season finale, and the curious working relationship between Despina (sung by Caitlin Wood) and Fonzo (Cairan Ryan).

The show is only two days away! Follow our box office links below for details and to snag your seat.

What are your thoughts on this group of Cozy contestants? 

Don L. Fonzo: These final four are definitely the most…eclectic…of any of the finalists we’ve had on the show. Dora’s a real firecracker; Felicity seems to be in it to win it; I’m quite sure Fernando writes poetry in his spare time (how great is that?); and Elmo, well…he’ll let his popped collar do the talking for him. 

Despina: As with all of our contestants, each finalist brings certain…assets to the competition. Obviously they are all gorgeous, and since I don’t mind looking at them all day, I am sure our TV audience will tune in to get a look at these attractive specimens.

(l-r): Shantelle Przybylo, Aaron Sheppard, Caitlin Wood, Brent Calis and Pascale Spinney Pascale Spinney in Against the Grain Theatre’s A Little Too Cozy. Photo: Don Lee, The Banff Centre.

Are they in this for the right reasons?

Don L. Fonzo: Only time will tell, Jenna! Only time will tell.

Despina: If the “right reasons” are to make great and entertaining television, then yes they are all here for the right reasons. What other reason would there be? Oh right the “love” part…sure they are…

What’s your working relationship like with Despina?

Don L. Fonzo: We’ve had our ups and downs. When she started here I’d already been on the show for 4 years, and my last floor manager had just been fired for forgetting to turn the lights off after the final taping of season 4 (we got an electricity bill for $475,838). Season 5 was almost cancelled.

When Despina signed on, I know I wouldn’t have to worry about lights being left on ever again. What a taskmaster, what a breath of fresh air, what a woman! There have been rumours abound about us, I know, but we keep our relationship strictly professional.

Despina: Donald and I have been working together for many years on this show and have produced some of the most exciting TV ever seen. Although I am very persuasive, I can only handle so many contestants at a time. That is why it’s great that Donald is of the same mindset, and can talk to the men while I influence the ladies. 

Of course, there are also perks and downsides to working with someone for that amount of time…and some excitement behind the scenes…(some very short lived excitement behind the scenes, if you catch my drift.)

(l-r): Shantelle Przybylo, Pascale Spinney, Brent Calis, Aaron Sheppard and Cairan Ryan in Against the Grain Theatre’s A Little Too Cozy. Photo: Don Lee, The Banff Centre.

How would you describe your “talent relations” title?

Despina: Between you and me, I am one of the main reasons this TV program works and is such a hit. I spend my days making sure all the contestants’ needs are met, whether they realize what they need or not. Pouring another glass of wine to calm nerves—or, let’s be honest, to make someone a little more entertaining—is part of the job description. Or stocking a certain contestant’s dressing room with his favourite lip balm (for someone who hasn’t been kissing anybody for the last eight weeks, he sure goes through a lot of it.)

For some of our male contestants, it can be difficult to go without any female contact for such an extended period of time. I just make sure that they are happy and relaxed when the film starts to roll. And I try to give contestants advice about getting the most out of this opportunity — and I don’t mean finding “true love”; I mean creating a brand or future career opportunities. The fact is: the more famous they are, the more famous our show is…and that’s good for business.

What will audiences love most about the final episode of A Little Too Cozy?

Don L. Fonzo: You’re witnessing history. This is the best final 4 we’ve ever had on the show, and there are going to be a few surprises. You don’t want to miss it. Also, follow my moustache on Twitter: @DonaldsStache.

(l-r): Caitlin Wood, Pascale Spinney and Shantelle Przybylo in Against the Grain Theatre’s A Little Too Cozy. Photo: Don Lee,The Banff Centre.

Do you believe you can fall in love with someone before meeting them?

Don L. Fonzo: I think that’s a question I can only answer until after you’ve seen the thrilling conclusion to this season.

And as we know, there’s always…a catch. ;) 

Despina: Of course not!!! Can you even fall in love with someone once you’ve met them?! I personally don’t understand this whole “falling in love” craze that everyone is so obsessed about. I guess it makes for good TV, and that is all that matters. There are so many attractive people in this world – why not try them all on for size, if you know what I mean.

Like you, for instance…you’re rather cute. I think we should wrap this interview up so we can continue this conversation in a less public setting…

Video by Andrew Martin-Smith (@halfinchdfilms).

A Little Too Cozy runs May 12-21 at CBC Toronto’s Studio 42. For details and tickets, follow the box office links below.

Related Content



Unlike other sites, we're keeping Schmopera ad-free. We want to keep our site clean and our opinions our own. Support us for as little as $1.00 per month.