Ten Episodes Making Apple TV+ Sad Comedy Shrinking, Co-CreatorBrett Goldstein insists cast and crew are still asking, “How the fuck is Harrison Ford here?” Fact On, Goldstein (aka Roy Kent of Ted Lasso ) also often wonders, does not believe that Indiana Jones star agrees to be in Comedy debut in the small-screen ensemble . But he just There, play a rough therapist with Jason Segel grieving widowed therapist in Segel, Goldstein and his ex Ty De Lasso host Bill Lawrence. The trio — Segel and Goldstein himself, Lawrence later on the phone — joined THR in late January to preview a show that could make audiences laugh or cry Show.
Like many good ideas, I read this one was hatched in a London pub. right?
Bill Lawrence started even before that. A few years ago, I proposed my version to Peter Roth and Susan Rovner [they ran Warner Bros. Television at the time] as something I wanted to work on. Because my neighbor, this great dad, has been on vacation and…it’s been really bleak…his parents, one of his kids, and his wife were in a car while he was with his daughter In the other car, there was an accident and [the person in the other car] died. He’s now remarried and has a new kid, but I remember bringing up the idea and getting a response, “Man, you’re a comedy writer, you can’t do shit like this. This stuff is bleak.”
BRETT GOLDSTEIN We are all researching thoughts about grief I think My version is darker.
I don’t know, Bill’s thinking sounds dark.
My idea was from that moment, then the tone became lighter, his idea started from somewhere more neutral, became darker, and we kind of smashed them together.
GOLDSTEIN We’ve been asking a lot, Like, “How hard is it to make a funny show about sadness?” But that’s how I feel every day. One of the things I hate in movies and TV is when you see something that’s grim, grim, grim, with no sense of humor. I always feel badly written. I thought, “You haven’t seen life.” Because life isn’t like that. Like, you read stories about Holocaust survivors and they talk about laughing. People in war zones, they joke.
Then you recruit Jason. How did you find him?
GOLDSTEIN He’s the man of dreams because Jason is fucking funny, but he also has a natural weakness. Like, you just love him. I just love him. (Laughter)
Jason Cy Geer is too sweet.
GOLDSTEIN This means with this character, you can take him far to do the wrong thing or make a bad decision. So, we FaceTimed him, but I’m not sure how it went.
SEGEL I’m really listening, Then I did this, which might not be the smartest thing to do from a career standpoint, but I would take the time to think about whether I was really the best person for that part. Sometimes I get things that I’d love to do, but I tell them, “I think someone else might do it better.” Because I make stuff too, and I know people who sell you stuff want their stuff great. But this one really feels like Liam Neeson in Taken when he says, “I have a unique set of skills.” ( Laughing. )
How could this happen?
What is the appeal of therapy as a setting?
GOLDSTEIN and I recommend that anyone with access to it do so. I mean, we’re all crazy, and we’d be even crazier without it. But I also think that the relationship between therapist and patient is so unique. It’s so intimate, they know it all, and it can go on for years, yet, there are these boundaries. You really don’t know them. And you pay them. It’s a very strange relationship. Of course, they’re human too, and they have their own problems in their own lives. So, there’s an inherent drama and comedy in this relationship, and we have a lot of counselors and therapists checking everything out. We don’t want it to be a joke about therapy.
LAWRENCE One thing I noticed Thing is, therapists are always on TV as a way of expanding the main characters’ personalities. I did it on Spin City. We were like, “How are we going to understand what’s bothering Mike?” We had a therapist for two episodes.
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You would prepare your own therapist for a program like this ?
I told my therapist when I started writing. Like, “I want you to know that in some of these sessions, I’ll be looking at you and you’ll feel a very different energy.” ( Laughter. )
So, Harrison Ford. What makes you even think you can get him?
LAWRENCE I don’t have many epiphanies anymore, but one I had recently was that people saying “no” doesn’t sting as much as it does to get used to it I used to always feel rejected so much that when you asked It hurts when people I admire or admire reach out, only to be rejected, sometimes with a “fucking no.” But I got to a point where I wish I’d tried dating as a kid and took a chance and I could say, “Hey, would you like to do this? No? Great, see you later.” Here, the only real thing for me The thing is I wasn’t ready for anything other than rejection from Harrison Ford.
GOLDSTEIN I think this is like a joke. Like, “Obviously not Harrison Ford, but someone like Harrison Ford.”
SEGEL Yeah, you offer it to people like Harrison Ford so you can say out loud for a week, “oh let’s go get Harry Senford.” Then you go to the real person. Then Bret heroically got him. I was in London and he was filming Raiders of the Lost Ark and I got a missed call out of the blue, “Hey, I’m Harrison Ford.” I was like, fuck What’s going on? I went to his apartment to discuss it. The discussion went very, very fast because he wanted to do it. I thought I’d be there to convince him. no*)
GOLDSTEIN oh yeah Yes, I’m going to meet Indiana Fucking Jones. He is so cute. There’s a line in Mike Nichols’ biography where he says Harris Ford is amazing because he says, “Tell me how you can serve this story.” He’s not a diva. When I met him, he had an idea of what to wear for the character, and he wanted to talk about all the things related to his life. He’s like, “I see this, and here’s what I want to bring to it, and tell me the rest.” It’s not just “How do I shine?” You see him in it. It’s Jason Segel with an ensemble, he’s fucking awesome, but he’s in an ensemble.
SEGEL from where he arrived Right from the moment, he does one really amazing thing, which is he makes you feel like a peer. He was quick to break down the “you should be in awe” statement.
How did he do it?
So now you are writing for him. Is there a place you’re not sure you can take him to comedy?
Brett, you joined as a writer Ted Lasso, 5 or so episodes in, you say you see yourself as Roy Kent and selling yourself to other writers. Do you have similar leanings towards this show?
GOLDSTEIN No, it feels like I’m writing for these people, and I’m very happy about it. I didn’t think of this. Lines you don’t have to deliver?