Thursday, February 14, 2013

'On Writing' with 'Suburgatory's' Emily Kapnek...

 One of the things I have always loved, respected, and admired about ABC and Emily Kapnek’s Suburgatory is that it is not “just” another sitcom. Yes, it is a half-hour (format) series heavily based in comedic elements. In that way, it is not afraid to take big, bold sweeps at broad comedy, like Dalia (Carly Chaikin) and Tessa (Jane Levy) getting into a dance-off. But underneath the jokes is a whole lot of heart and some very serious character arcs that allow for growth. To use the dance-off as a continued example, that all spurred out of Dalia not feeling like she could match up to Tessa because Tessa is better at her than everything from school to driving. Suburgatory is not afraid to move its story along—or better yet, dive deeply into story arcs at all—and at times it even seems to genre-bend, leaning more towards a drama, just being told in a tightly packaged twenty-two minutes. This kind of outside of the network box format and thinking is all courtesy of Kapnek. 

 "I’m a big believer in chasing story and embracing story and...'it’s never too soon' for me. I love the idea that there’s a graduation day coming for Tessa, and what does it mean for the future? Would she move back to New York, and what would that mean for George and Dallas? I think it’s so fun to have change and have characters evolve and have shows evolve and reinvent themselves. You don’t know how long you’re going to get; you never know when something’s going to happen. I figure just go for it! Go for the great stories and don’t be afraid!" Kapnek said over lunch earlier this week.

"It’s funny because some of the things about our show not fitting into a certain template or not feeling like there is this super consistent model, those are some of my favorite criticisms of the show because I love shows that are like that. Life is like that. When you’re watching a show that feels incredibly formulaic that you could almost watch with the sound off and know what’s happening, it’s my biggest pet peeve. I love that our show is just a little unpredictable, and we’ll go where you didn’t think we were going to go."

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