Paula Proctor (née O'Brien) is best friend of Rebecca Bunch whom she met when they both worked at Whitefeather & Associates. She is married to Scott Proctor and mother of Brendan and Tommy. She was the first one to figure out Rebecca's true motivation for moving to West Covina, California. As a hopeless romantic bored with her domestic life she was very eager to help Rebecca win the heart of Josh Chan. However, she often overstepped her boundaries and even broke a few laws trying to make the love connection happen. Eventually she decided to start focusing on improving her own life rather than live vicariously through others. She went back to college, graduated from law school, passed the bar exam and was hired by the law firm of East Briar Law Group. Her first appearance was in the Season One episode "Josh Just Happens to Live Here!". She is portrayed by actress Donna Lynne Champlin.
Do you need me to call Valencia from a burner phone and tell her there's been a murder at her yoga studio so you and Josh can have more alone time?
–Paula to Rebecca, "I'm So Happy That Josh Is So Happy!"
Paula Proctor initially had animosity towards her firm's newest hire Rebecca Bunch having felt slighted when they were first introduced. This all changed when she discovered Rebecca's real reason for moving to West Covina was to pursue her lost love. Paula then became her biggest ally and confidant and even devised a number of schemes to get Rebecca closer to Josh. Paula was enthusiastic in her attempts to help Rebecca since her marriage was in a rut. Those troubles almost led to her having an affair with a rich client. Eventually, Paula tried to work on her marriage and unexpectedly reconnected with Scott while discussing Rebecca's love life. One of Paula's plans was inadvertently successful in that it led to Josh kissing Rebecca but also resulted in her friend running away from town. Paula was distraught thinking Rebecca left for good and was overjoyed when she changed her mind and came back. However, Rebecca had an epiphany and stated that they both needed to give up on Josh as the obsession was unhealthy. Thier friendship then hit another snag when Paula found out about a secret tryst Rebecca was having with Greg. Paula was furious that all of her efforts to get Rebecca with Josh had been wasted and refused to talk to her. Darryl was saddened to see them break up and convinced Paula to forgive Rebecca. Paula then told her friend to be honest with Greg about her feelings for him which had an unexpected outcome.
In October 2015 Paula Proctor and her co-workers at Whitefeather & Associates welcomed the newest member of the firm. She was a Harvard graduate with an impressive resume and credentials named Rebecca Bunch. Rebecca mistook her for her assistant which Paula took as an insult. This fueled her desire to figure out the truth about why Rebecca was there. Over Mrs.Hernandez objections Paula broke into Rebecca's office and looked at her computer. Having figured it out she tracked down Rebecca to a house party she was going to with Greg Serrano. She got her alone and accused Rebecca of moving to West Covina to chase after Josh Chan. Rebecca denied this at first until the lunacy of her actions finally hit her. Paula actually encouraged her pursuit and the two were excited when Josh texted Rebecca (♫ West Covina (reprise) ♫) ("Josh Just Happens to Live Here!").
Paula and Rebecca found out Josh was going to a local club called "Spider's" but when they went that evening they were stopped by a bouncer from entering. The next day Paula gave Rebecca a Statue of Liberty key chain. She found out Rebecca was trying to become friends with Josh's significant other Valencia. She believed it was so Rebecca could get sabotage that relationship from within. When Paula discovered Rebecca's efforts were legit she tried to get her refocused on the actual goal. Rebecca accused Paula of being jealous which was partially true. The next day Paula commiserated with Mrs.Hernandez about the situation and was pleasantly surprised when Rebecca showed up and apologized. Together they settled a case and Paula gave Rebecca another gift, t-shirts with the phrase 'Team Rebecca' ("Josh's Girlfriend is Really Cool!").
Paula has another for Rebecca to get some face time with Josh and suggests she threw a party. Although Rebecca has some reservation Paula convinces her to face her fears and do it ("Face Your Fears"). The day of the party Paula's son Tommy got in trouble at school when tried to steal a test and was going to be expelled. After a meeting with Tommy's scary principal, Paula returned to Rebecca's apartment and found out the party was a bust with hardly any people in attendance. Paula promised Rebecca she'd get more people and brought back a group from Gamblers anonymous. Thanks to her and Josh's efforts the party was a big success. The next day Rebecca helped Paula to face her fears and confront Tommy's principal and they got Tommy reinstated at school ("I Hope Josh Comes to My Party!").
Paula accompanied Rebecca to a skate park where her friend hoped to run into Josh. When Rebecca received a call from her mother she ignored Paula's warning her not to take it. As Paula had expected the call made Rebecca depressed and she went home. Paula saw Rebecca the next day and was amused by Rebecca's new resolve to make better, healthier choices. She became concerned when this new attitude led to Greg asking Rebecca out on a date. She warned Rebecca again and pointe4d out that if she got involved with Greg it could complicate any progress with Josh. Rebecca went on the date anyway which started well but it ended poorly. She went back to making unhealthy choices and celebrated with Paula by eating bacon covered glazed donuts ("I'm Going on a Date with Josh's Friend!")
When Rebecca and Darryl worked on his custody proceedings for his daughter Madison they left Paula in charge of the office. While they were away Paula made the office more efficient and cracked the whips on the other employees to get their work done. After going through Darryl's old files she discovered that Tim, a bully at the office who had been tormenting her, was an illegal alien. She tortured him with whether or not she would tell the authorities but eventually decided for the sake of his family to keep his secret. Mrs.Hernandez privately praised Paula for not turning Tim (♫ I'm a Good Person (silent reprise) ♫). When Rebecca and Darryl got back they noticed the improvements to the firm and complimented Paula for running a tight ship. ("Josh and I Are Good People!").
("Josh and I Are Good People!")
Before Thanksgiving, Paula managed to get Rebecca invited to Josh's holiday dinner with his family. She gave Rebecca a hidden camera to wear so she could watch the event unfold at her house. On her cellphone app that the camera was transmitting to, Paula observed as Rebecca easily charmed and impressed Josh's family. However, things stopped going smoothly when diarrhea forced Rebecca to go to the bathroom. Puala was able to overhear through her app that in the adjoining bedroom Josh and Valencia were arguing. Unexpectedly this led to the couple to engage in passionate sex and Rebecca was forced to hide until they left. When Rebecca finally went home and relieved herself, Greg showed up at her place. Paula was still watching through the spycam as the two flirted and was worried by their interactions ("My First Thanksgiving with Josh!")
Paula brought up her fears to Rebecca that she was getting side tracked by Greg but was ignored as her friend was depressed over Josh and Valencia cohabitation. At work Paula caught the eye of a potential rich client of the law firm named Calvin Young. The flirtation continued at a dinner Paula hosted for Calvin at her house. This led to Paula agreeing to go out with Calvin to a local jazz club where they were both taken in by the romantic atmosphere of the establishment (♫ His Status is...Preferred ♫). Calvin invited Paula back to his hotel room to continue thier date. Rebecca called Paula and upon learning she was about to have an affair raced to the hotel. She an impassioned speech about making bad choices instead of dealing with the real problems. This moved both Paula and Calvin who declared he wanted to be represented by someone with heart and hired the firm ("I'm So Happy that Josh Is So Happy!").
Sometime later at work, Paula is irritated thar Rebecca's continues to deny being in love with Josh Chan. She attempts to warn her friend about a suspicious invite Valencia extends to Rebecca to join The Crew on a beach trip. When Rebecca ignores her Paula declares she won't help her anymore until she admits her real reason for moving to West Covina. On the day of the beach trip Paula is at home folding laundry when she gets a phone call from Rebecca. As expected something disastrous happened which prompted Rebecca to call Paula to pick her up. Paula refused unless Rebecca confessed her feelings for Josh. When she didn't Paula hung up on her unwilling to hear anymore of Rebecca's excuses. Nevertheless, Paula drove all the way to the beach to meet up with Rebecca. She was overjoyed when her fiend finally declared her love for Josh ("My Mom, Greg's Mom and Josh's Sweet Dance Moves!").
I'm addicted to her life...it's like the high I get with those vampire novels or "The Bachelor" or when I write a really great legal brief.
–Paula, "Where is Josh's Friend!"
Paula realizes she has invested too much time in helping Rebecca and tries to focus on improving her own life. With her marriage now in a good place she enrolled in law school with the full support of her husband Scott. A complication arose as she became pregnant and Paula made a tough choice. Relations with Rebecca became strained by her new new girl group and Paul's own friendship with fellow law school classmate Sunil Odhav. This culminated with her and Rebecca having another falling out and coincided with Scott admitting he had an affair with a co-worker. In addition the future of her professional life became uncertain when Darryl sold the firm to Nathaniel Plimpton III. Her new boss threatened layoffs which led to Paula and Rebecca teaming up for another caper to save everyone at the firm's job. Her personal life also improved when she made up with her husband thanks to Darryl's meddling. She encouraged Rebecca to take Josh back too as he regretted how he took Paula's best friend for granted. She was happy for her friend as it led to a quick engagement for Rebecca and an even faster wedding date being set. Unfortunately on the day of the ceremony Josh left Rebecca at the altar. Paula talked her friend down when she seemed to be contemplating suicide. She got Rebecca to turn her depression into rage at all the men who abandoned her including Silas her father. Paula then volunteered to help Rebecca get revenge on Josh Chan for breaking her friend's heart yet again.
A month after Rebecca hooked up with Josh Paula tells her friend she made a mistake by telling the truth about her move. She is also no longer sure Josh and Rebecca are meant to be. At Home she tells Scott she needs to stop getting sucked into Rebecca's relationship drama. Her resolve crumbles when Rebecca pleads with her to track down Greg to ease Josh's guilty conscience. They discover he attending a court appointed Alocholics Anonymous meeting. Listening to Greg tell his story of how he got sober makes Paula realize she needs to make changes to her life as well. The next day Paula has Rebecca sign a contract she wrote stipulating she can no longer participate in any of her shenanigans. That night at her home she looks up law school enrollment information ("Where Is Josh's Friend?").
You have let me down so many times. And I am such a fool. I am a sucker. You are never going to be any different.
–Paula to Rebecca, "Nathaniel Is Irrelevant."
Paula and the Gurl Group agree to help Rebecca get revenge on Josh but disagree with her approach. Paula tries to convince Rebecca that suing Josh would be the best plan but her friend hatches her own scheme. Rebecca's efforts results in the reveal that she was briefly institutionalized after burning an ex-lover from Harvards house down. Paula assembles a group of Rebecca's friends for an intervention but it goes poorly. Rebecca leaves town which depresses Paula and causes her family to go to great lengths to cheer her up. She is shocked when Rebecca returns after a suicude attempt. Paula does her best to support Rebecca as she recovers and her friend is diagnosed with Borderline personality disorder. She returns home to Buffalo, New York with Rebecca to look after her father where she finds some closure with an ex-boyfriend. When she returned home Paula unsuccessfully helped Darryl try to find an egg donor for the new baby he wanted. She also joins Rebecca and the staff in winning control of the law firm away from Nathaniel. Paula hires Sunil to work at the firm but feels betrayed when he sides with the co-workers she looks down on. Trent insinuates himself into Rebecca's life and Paula is roped into a hijinks with her friend to make him go away. Once Paula learns Rebecca lied to get her cooperation she is furious at having being manipulated. When Rebecca is charged with attempted murder of Trent, Paula shows up for the arraignment. It's only when Rebecca makes a dramatic gesture in her plea bargain apologizing for her actions that Paula forgives her.
Paula helps get Rebecca out of jail by getting Trent to confess his crimes. Paula and the Gurl Group investigate supernatural phenomenon Rebecca believes is happening in her home. She supports Rebecca when her friend decides to quit law and open a pretzel shop. Paula and Rebecca attend Heather and Hector's wedding. When she spends time with her sons she is surprised to learn they are more mature than she thought. Paula is saddened when she learns her eldest son is Brendan is leaving home to volunteer in another country. After a road trip with Josh to pick up an antique desk she purchased Paula focuses on studying for her finals. She also finds time to fill in for Rebecca at her prison legal clinic. After Paula graduates from law school she has a game night party with her friends to celebrate. Her professional work, commitments and studying for the bar exam takes its toll and Paula has a heart attack. During her recovery from surgery, the Gurl Group sneaks her out of the hospital so she can take the bar exam. She entertains various job offers from local firms, including Mountaintop, but eventually chooses the firm of East Briar Law Group. When Rebecca has a personal problem Paula resolves the situation by convincing her friend to pursue her musical dreams.