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It’s Always Sunny in LA

January 29, 2008

One of the advantages of constantly yammering on to your friends about all the TV that you watch is that when they get the opportunity to bring a guest to a panel with the creators of one of your favorite shows, they know immediately who to invite. I just got back from an event at USC, for it’s television symposium class (I am soooooo in the wrong field) for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We screened three episodes, one from each season, and then had a panel session with Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day, the creators/writers and actors who play Mac, Dennis, and Charlie respectively.

We watched ‘Underage Drinking: A National Concern’, ‘Dennis and Dee Go on Welfare’ and ‘Mac is a Serial Killer’. Which, let me tell you, the best way to watch TV is on a large screen in a room with 300 people who all love the show they’re watching. Afterwards the three guys came up on stage and answered questions from the moderator and then the audience. They talked for over an hour, so they covered a lot of stuff, but I’ll try to remember the highlights. I wanted to take a picture but I didn’t want to be That Person taking pictures from the audience. Anyway.

Glenn, Rob, and Charlie were all struggling actors in LA, when they got together to read a script that Rob had written. It was originally supposed to be a short film, but they realized it would work as a TV show, so they reworked some stuff and shot the pilot with their digital camcorder. Their manager thought it was funny, and he knew a guy at FX, and the rest is history. The first season and the second season they did all the writing themselves, but have hired writers in the third season because it’s just too much for them to do all on their own (Rickety Cricket is one of the writers, David Hornsby). One of the moments I really loved is when they commented that they’re always trying to just produce stuff that they think is funny…which is different from some of the stuff that’s currently on TV, i.e. According to Jim and Two and Half Men, which they called “not funny and therefore offensive.”

Rob kinda lost it when someone asked about how they came up with the “Day Man” song that appeared in the episode “Dee Dates a Retarded Person”. He remembered they did a song called “Night Man” that was basically about Charlie unknowingly getting raped by a guy….I think he had tears coming down his face he was laughing so hard trying to remember what the lyrics were..something like “Every night you come into my room and pin me down/ I try to fight you / you come inside me” You know what, you just have to watch it:

Glenn mentioned that he came up with the “ahahhhhahhh” from the Flash Gordon theme song.

The panel was for the film students, so they asked a lot of questions about the writing process and how they went from video they had shot themselves to being on a network. I completely agree with Glenn (I think) when he said that as long as you have good writing and good acting, the rest doesn’t really matter. They cited The Office (UK) and Curb Your Enthusiasm as influences in their comedy, and that as long as the funny is there, all you need is a single camera, all that other production stuff doesn’t really matter. So, my backup plan is now creating a TV show in my free time. Grad school is the suck.

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