We were introduced to the adorable Esther Karp (aka, Essie) back in Season 5 of The Goldbergs. In the episode, "The Goldberg Girls," Beverly is on a mission to form a group of friends. She calls it the The Yentas but later it's changed to The Frentas. Essie becomes one of Beverly's closest friends, and she's also super close with Linda and Virginia.
While Essie isn't a huge character, she's still been in sizeable number of episodes. As of this writing, she's been in a total of 26 episodes, with the most recent being Season 10, Episode 4. She's also a memorable character and definitely a recognizable one.
But where exactly have you seen Essie before? You know she looks familiar. Every time she appears on The Goldbergs, fans quickly Google to see if Essie is actually the famous Flo from the Progressive commercials.
Is Flo from Progressive on 'The Goldbergs'?
Yup, that is indeed Flo (Stephanie Courtney) from Progressive on The Goldbergs. 52-year-old Stephanie has been the face of Progressive Insurance since 2008 and is considered one of the most iconic actors in advertising.
But Stephanie is so much more than just Flo from Progressive. The actress started her career performing comedic improv with the famous sketch comedy group, The Groundlings, in Los Angeles.
Before Progressive, Stephanie had been cast in an episode of ER, and played switchboard operator Marge (along with Kristen Schaal) in a handful of episodes of Mad Men. Once she landed her gig with Progressive, Stephanie continued to appear in countless TV shows like House, 2 Broke Girls, and You're the Worst.
Stephanie told Lohud how her career got started — her first role ever was an unnamed waitress on Mr. Show With Bob and David — sharing, "I went in for an audition eight years ago for a 'big box store' employee. And I put on my polo shirt and put my hair in a ponytail and showed up." Turns out, she was ideal for the waitress role.
She also shares that her improv experience has contributed to her success with Flo's character. "The writers are very open to what I think; there may be some improv here now and then, that is encouraged, by the way. All of us were working so hard to find out who this person was and what the boundaries were. With Flo, she was sort of originally this perfect little No. 1 employee, but the power has gotten to her," she says.
Why do we love Flo so much? Stephanie thinks it has everything to do with how relatable she is. "Everyone sees something different in Flo. In a lot of advertising, you’re sold perfection and that’s pleasing but ultimately, not realistic. Flo is not perfect, her hair and makeup, things have slipped through the cracks; that's something to watch," Stephanie notes.
Stephanie has no idea how long she'll keep playing Flo, joking, "I don’t know, how much plastic surgery would it take? I could be propped up on a gurney or something. Who knows?"
Jokes aside, Stephanie has already been playing the role for 14 years and doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, she continues to work alongside even bigger stars as the years go on. The current Progressive campaigns reunite her with Mad Men star Jon Hamm, as he attempts to woo her into going on a date.
Keep your eyes peeled for Stephanie Courtney on all-new episodes of The Goldbergs, airing on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.