“It Just Feels Right”: Lyndie Greenwood on Starring in ‘Shelved’ and Returning To Toronto

The Toronto native talks about getting a chance to work in comedy and returning to her roots.

Most TV fans may recognize actress Lyndie Greenwood from high-concept genre shows like The Expanse or Sleepy Hollow. However, Shelved sees the Toronto native in an earnest workplace comedy, flexing comedic muscles we’ve never seen before. Turns out we’ve been sleeping on a comic delight. Check our video interview above!

Channeling popular female sitcom leads like Leslie Knope and Janine Teagues, Greenwood stars as Wendy Yarmouth, the branch manager for Parkdale’s underfunded Jameson Public Library. Unendingly kind but also a bit naive, she attempts to keep the library running smoothly despite the antics of her co-workers and patrons.

Greenwood is effortlessly likable as Wendy, too pure for this world but slowly growing a backbone for causes she cares about. In combination with showrunner Anthony Q. Farrell and the show’s talented writers room, Greenwood charms viewers with her love for macrame vests, The Muppets, and welcoming patrons of all kinds into her home away from home.

That Shelf’s TV Editor Larry Fried got a chance to sit down with Greenwood to discuss how she became involved in the show, the books she used to love reading as a kid, and how surreal it was to return to her roots. You can watch the video interview above, or read the full transcription below.

You can keep up with Shelved on social media using #Shelved or by following CTV on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. New episodes of Shelved premiere Monday nights at 9:30 p.m. on CTV as well as online at CTV.ca and on the CTV app.

Lyndie, welcome to That Shelf. It’s a pleasure to get to be talking with you today. How are you?

I’m great, Larry. Thank you! It’s nice to be here.

I got to watch the first two episodes of this show yesterday, and they were wonderful. I had such a fun time with them.

Oh, thank you.

I’m really excited for the rest of the season. I think we should just start at the obvious place. How did this role come to you, and what attracted you about this character?

Sure, yeah. Well, it actually came to me in the classic way. I got asked to do an audition for it, and when the material came through, I was so excited because I absolutely adored it. I mean, it’s hilarious. I’ve always wanted to do comedy, and this is the type of comedy that I enjoy so much. And it was so authentic to my experience as a Torontonian. I lived and worked in Parkdale for many years.


Yeah. I went to the library all my life. So, it just was like, “What? Get out of my head, Anthony!” Or don’t. Please just give me the role. And he did!

“Please, just stay.” [both laugh] 

So, yeah. I was absolutely thrilled that it was getting made at all and then just so ecstatic to be a part of it.

That’s actually something I wanted to talk a little bit about. I think a lot of people associate you with the very intense dramas you’ve done, some of the more high-concept genre shows, like The Expanse. But we’re seeing a whole new side of you, I feel, through this show, which is super exciting. It’s fun to see you shine in this very earnest, very lovely setting. I’m wondering what it’s been like for you as a performer to get to explore that side of yourself?

Oh, Larry, that’s such a good question. Yeah, it’s been an absolute dream. I’ve always wanted to do comedy. And I would get really close to booking comedies, and then they’d hire someone from SNL or something. [both laugh] It’s like, well, that makes sense.

Ah, the struggle.

It’s so satisfying to play Wendy. She’s an aspect––a few aspects of myself that I access and I amp up. I’m not really having to put anything on so much as emphasize. And I just really adore living in that space. She’s so wonderful and earnest, as you said, and there’s a lot of focus that needs to happen to play her. I need to be very present in every moment for that earnestness to come through. It’s meditative, in a way, and it’s really fun.

Let’s talk a little bit about libraries because I feel like that’s a very important part of this show. I just spoke with Anthony not too long before this and he spoke a lot about his experiences at his local libraries. So, I’m curious, do you have good experiences from your time in libraries, maybe from your youth or maybe beyond your youth, that helped inform some of your performance in this show?

I think anyone who was born and raised, or just raised, downtown where I was—I was raised at Beverley and Baldwin, really close to Chinatown, and worked at Kensington Market and was always around that area. But Lillian Smith at College [St.] and Spadina [Ave.] was my library, and I was there all the time as a kid, my brother and I. It’s such a lovely space. Also, I went to University of Toronto, so I was at Robarts a lot to study. But I missed the library. It was such a huge part of my existence growing up and then it just kind of wasn’t. And I didn’t really even think about it being absent until I booked this show and thought, “Oh my gosh. What a lovely resource that was.” So, when I was back in Toronto shooting Shelved, I went back to my library and got a library card and started hanging out there again.

Oh, I love that.

It was just wonderful.

Do you have some fun memories of the role that libraries played in your childhood?

It’s funny. I can’t think of anything specific, but I do remember being able to peruse there after school. We had story circle, but it was more at my school, Orde Street Public School. Veronica Sullivan, I believe, was our teacher’s name. She was the best story time leader ever. And she would teach us all about Anansi the spider. It was so wonderful to be a kid and be totally immersed in these fantastical words. You can really get in them in your head when you’re a kid, and you’re not bogged down by adulthood.

Was there a genre, maybe, as a young reader that particularly piqued your interest?

When I was a kid, I really liked The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.

Love it.

Yeah. Those were my jam. And then as I got older, I started really loving speculative fiction, like sci fi and fantasy.

Very cool. When are we seeing Lyndie Greenwood in a murder mystery?

Oh, hey, good question. [laughs]

They’re all the rage nowadays, as you may know.

That’s true, that’s true. I’ll let you know as soon as that happens.

Look, when Knives Out 3 starts casting, we’ll just shove [you] a little envelope. I don’t do as much reading of books anymore. It’s mostly a lot of journals and critics’ works and stuff


But you’ve got to keep the reading up. You’ve got to keep the fiction up.

Yeah. I do love to read. I still do. I’m usually reading a nonfiction book and a fiction book at the same time.

That’s good.

I’ll read the fiction as I fall asleep and then the nonfiction throughout the day type of thing.

Set your dreams away with a fiction read.

Yeah, exactly.

I love that. Lyndie, we have to talk about a very serious subject…

Uh oh.

…which is the research you probably had to do to properly embody a Muppets fan. 


As a Muppets fan myself, this is the representation we have so desperately needed on television, period, but let alone Canadian television. Are you a Muppets fan? Was there any process in going in? It does feel like a really fun trait to this character that feels unique to this show especially.

Well, I can tell you that I remember that my very first ringtone, when you could actually choose a ringtone, was the Muppets theme.

Thank God for that.

Gosh, that must’ve been, what? 100 years ago now? Something like that. 


But yeah, I love the Muppets. That was an interesting synchronicity. There have been so many on this show, so that was just another one of them.

Get out of her head, Anthony! 


Or stay forever. I want to go back to this character a little bit, Wendy especially, because she does definitely feel like in the same conversation as a Leslie Knope or a Janine Teagues from Abbott Elementary. These characters that are hardworking, optimistic, they’re the de facto leader of the team. Especially when we’re talking about the bureaucracy of government, that especially ties in with Leslie. But I think that there is a sensibility to this character that differentiates her from all of those. And I was curious if you felt the same way and if there were any qualities about this character that you think make her unique or distinguish her from other workplace female lead roles that we’ve seen in the past?

Sure. I guess that’s hard to answer. I can tell you what I love about Wendy. I don’t know whether or not that distinguishes her, besides from the fact that she is me and we are not the same. [both laughs] I think every actor is going to bring something slightly different to a character, right? So, there’s that. Wendy is a little bit, I don’t want to say “goofy,” but there is something almost a little clumsy about her in her earnestness. She’s got so much energy that sometimes it’s a little bit frenetic, maybe. But not too much. She’s very earnest, but I think all of these women are dedicated to their communities, persevere, and have the ability to make lemonade out of lemons, and so does Wendy.

I also would love to talk about finding the look for this character.

Oh, yeah.

We got the bangs. We’ve got the cardigan.

She loves her macrame vest.

Yes. A ton of iconic details. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that process. How much did you bring? How much did the creative team bring?

Casey Tuninga is the head of costumes, and she’s brilliant. She really brought all of these pieces together. She had this vision for Wendy’s whimsical style, and I just really ran with it. We would mix and match pieces together and I would say yes or no, but really that was her vision. I thank her for it because it’s such a huge part of who she is. Every time I put on that costume I was like, “Oh, yeah. I’m Wendy now.”

I love that. Let’s talk a little bit about working with some of the amazing minds on this show. Anthony [Farrell] is the showrunner, and you can tell he really brought a lot of himself and his experiences to this show. What was it like to work with him on Shelved?

He’s amazing. He’s such a force. He made all of us feel very safe to explore the character and to take some risks and to just have fun. That means a lot on set, to feel like you are supported, because you really feel like you can give it your all and let go. In those moments when you really take those risks is where some of the funniest things can come out, right? And he so clearly believes in the show, and that trickles down to everybody. It was an absolute joy to work with him.

Going to your castmates, I think Chris Sandiford is so perfectly cast in this show that it’s a little scary.

[chuckles] I know, I know. Totally.

Talk about sharing scenes with him, working with him, and also, especially your two characters. Your two characters kind of feel like in another world they would be two peas in the same pod if they weren’t put in opposition due to the circumstances.

Yeah, I don’t know if they’re put in opposition so much. Howard might think so. [laughs]

Right. I guess in the sense of the sitcom-iness of it all, you know?


He has to enter her world. But there are a lot of similarities to the characters that I hopefully think we’ll see in more episodes.

Oh, yeah. I mean, they could definitely be the best of pals and I think Wendy would definitely be down for that. [both laugh] Working with Chris, Dakota [Ray Hebert], Paul [Braunstein], Taylor [Love], Robin [Duke], Varun [Saranga, all co-stars], everybody was so wonderful. We got really tight. And this is in a world where we’re still COVID safe, right? We were pretty restricted. We were always in masks. We didn’t have the big ol’ cast dinners and stuff like that because we had to be really careful. Even with that, we responded so quickly that we got really tight. Everybody was so supportive of each other to play. I was a little nervous because Dakota and Chris are comedians, and Paul is a comedic actor, he’s brilliant, and I’m like, “I don’t know. What am I?” [both laugh] I got there and I was like, “Oh my gosh, everybody’s so funny.” But they encourage you to be funny too. We all had fun together, and I think that really shows, actually, from what I’ve seen.

For sure. Absolutely. I especially want to talk about Paul and Dakota because you have these two characters who are complete polar opposites from each other and you’re the middle woman, so to speak. I was wondering, what does it feel like to bounce off of such distinct different comedic energies in one scene? Is there a process involved in making sure that you are able to find a balance between two polar forces to get the comedy out in one scene?

Yeah, interesting question. Comedy is fun, but it’s actually a lot of work.


I have to do a lot of prep. I need to make sure that my lines are there so that I can play in the moment, but I also have to do a lot of breathwork and grounding work to make sure that I can stay in a scene and present without getting blown away or ping-ponged away by all this opposing energy. It’s exhausting, but it is so creatively satisfying. It is kind of this ping-pong experience working between those two different actors and their energies, but it’s a blast. It’s like a rollercoaster.

Yeah and they’re both so fantastic in the show. I love the going back and forth. Last question here for you, Lyndie. You’re originally from Toronto. You’ve done a lot of work for American audiences, but this really feels like it’s coming from Canadian voices, it’s highlighting a Canadian community, and I think that’s really valuable. You’re also working with a showrunner who, after having worked on shows in the US, is now back on his home turf.

Back to Canada. Yeah.

As a native Torontonian, I have to ask, in a similar way to Anthony, how does it feel to be making something back on your home turf?

It just feels right, to be honest.

I love it.

It feels so good. There were so many full circle moments when I was shooting in Toronto too where we would be on location, and I’d be outside of one of my old apartments just thinking, “Wow!”

Surreal. Yeah.

So surreal! Like, “What is this?” I’ve talked about not having to mask my accent, you know?

That must be huge.

Oh, it’s the best to feel like I don’t have to put anything on. This is where I’m from. These are my people. And a lot of people don’t understand that. They’re like, “All of these people are your people?” I’m like, “Yeah, but that’s what Toronto is. That’s Toronto. All of these people are my people.” And it feels right.

That’s amazing. Guys, Shelved is premiering on March 6th with new episodes on Mondays at 9:30 p.m. on CTV, also online at CTV.ca and on the CTV app, starring Lyndie Greenwood. Lyndie, thank you so much for your time and best of luck on the rest of the first season.

Well, thank you, Larry. It’s my pleasure.