11:07am PT by Daniel Fienberg
TCA Summer Press Tour Day 14 Quotes: 'You're the Worst' Nudity and 'Terriers' Reboots
The FX Networks filled Tuesday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour with a mix of endearingly wonky executive announcements, beloved returning comedies (You're the Worst), likely-to-be-acclaimed new comedies (Atlanta and Better Things), TCA Award-winning dramas (The Americans and The People v. O.J. Simpson) and The Strain.
Highlight quotes from the antepenultimate day of this never-ending press event:
*** One day into press tour, I don't ask John Landgraf about the possibility of a Terriers reboot, but 14 days into press tour, maybe I get tired enough of questions about established IP and questionably selected reboots to ask FX's chief if he ever wakes up in the middle of the night and thinks, "You know, I bet I could get an audience for a Terriers reboot now."
"Yeah, I think about that. I think about that. I think about taking a second shot at that," Landgraf laughed. "I guess what I would say is as much as I’m so proud of Terriers and I love it is that —- I’m not saying, by the way, we would never do a reboot because I bet we will at some point — but I keep trying to figure out where is television going next. What hasn’t anybody thought about? And I think one of the reasons we went so aggressively into this anthological miniseries business — and we are not the only ones now, with True Detective and American Crime and now many others — is that it just felt like the new thing to me."
So that's a "No" on a Terriers reboot, at least until it becomes where TV is going next.
*** Yiddish periodically happens on the TCA stage, but I think Pamela Adlon may be the first person in my memory to drop "shpilkes."
Talking about casting the actresses to play her daughters on her FX comedy Better Things, Adlon referred to the difficulties of picking between the thousands of contenders.
"I had a lot of shpilkes, because I’m a mom, and so I’d be like, 'No. You’re great. We have to cast everybody. Let’s cast 2,000 girls,'" she said.
So for those who can't pick up on context, shpilkes is basically ... "agita."
Adlon, who has written and produced with Better Things exec producer Louis C.K. on Louie for years, makes her TV debut as a director on her new series.
"Never really had ambitions to direct. That was just outside of my thing," Adlon explained. "I would be, like, 'Oh, just what’s my call time [hiccup]. Let’s just go to work.' There were just these amazing challenges that kept happening on the show and it felt easy for me. And I feel like the whole process of making this show, my training is being a single mom of three girls for the past eight years. There’s nothing that is more hardcore than that."
*** Donald Glover's new FX comedy Atlanta is distinctive and fresh and it's going to confuse and irritate some viewers who only know Glover as Troy from Community. It's only sometimes linear. It's sometimes laconic to an eerie degree. And sometimes it flirts with the line between literal and surreal.
"Life has more questions than answers," Glover explained. Millennials feel like they f—ing know everything because they’ve got, like, phones up the ass. So, like, you can answer a question, but you can’t get the answers to questions that you really want out of Google. So I kind of built a world on questions, which is everything that we have. So it’s, like, more questions than answers, I think."
And apparently Atlanta ventures into even weirder terrain than in the four episodes already made available to critics.
"We’re not going to talk about what we did, but there’s definitely a part in the season where I was, like, 'Are we going to do this?' related Glover. "And then we were, like, 'Yeah.' And it’s coming out super tight. I was, like, 'This is a good world to be in,' because I always want people to be scared, because that’s how it kind of feels to be black. There are awesome things going on here, but it can be taken away at any moment. So enjoy it in the moment. It was cool."
*** Do not watch the premiere for the new season of You're the Worst on an airplane or in any public space, as the opening scene marks a return to a level of graphic sexuality not seen since the pilot, perhaps.
"[I]t was important in the pilot to show them having sex, like, right away, get that out of the way, show it as something that’s fun and exciting," creator Stephen Falk explained. "And then we kind of got away from it because I didn’t want it to sort of be a show about titillation. And I think it’s important, after sort of a dark season, to kind of reset them a little bit and show that they’re still hot for each other and they came out of the season fairly intact, at least carnally."
As actor Chris Geere put it, "Every day when we walk into our trailers, there’s our costume there. And we say, 'Oh, I’m wearing that today.' Some days you walk in, and there’s just a sock. And you go, 'Okay, it’s going to be one of those days.' I think in the pilot, I was like, 'Oh, look!' And now we go, 'Hello, old friend.' And we just pop him on again."
*** Hot on the heels of its Emmys breakthrough, The Americans returned to the press tour for the sort of between-seasons panel you should only attempt with shows the critics love. Fortunately, we love The Americans and showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields are amiable and chatty guys even when they're saying nothing — and there was a lot of saying nothing.
Among the limited hints we got about seasons to come were Fields' tease, "The suspicions that have been percolating between the Jennings and their across-the-street neighbor, they’re going to get more suspicious, but in some unexpected ways," and the promise that Margo Martindale's Claudia will have a big storyline in the season to come. We were told/reminded that the fifth season will be 13 episodes and the sixth and final season will be 10 and that Fields and Weisberg have both seasons planned out.
"We had a pretty specific process," said Weisberg. "We figured out roughly what was going to happen in both seasons, and then we went back and broke season five in great detail so that we could start writing that. But we needed to know what was going to happen in season six fairly certainly, so that we could do season five. Season five really, you know, stands alone as a season. You could probably watch it without knowing for sure that it was leading into the finale, but then sets everything up for the finale, and in a pretty specific way we couldn’t have done it if we didn’t know where we were going."
*** FX also did a post-mortem panel with an assortment of the Emmy nominees from The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, another gambit that works better when the show is the TCA Award winner for program of the year than just about anything else.
The real quote of the panel came from the late-arriving Cuba Gooding Jr,, who showed up and yelled at us, "Wake up, motherf—ers!," which is pretty close to what Denis Leary shouted earlier in the day, actually.
But it also was fascinating to watch clips from the Emmy-nominated series (before Gooding's arrival) and see Sarah Paulson initially cover her eyes and ears watching other actors before sneaking off the stage entirely to avoid watching the key sequence in which Marcia Clark enters the courtroom with her new haircut. The actress returned to her seat after the scene, but even that might have been a mistake.
"I haven’t seen any of it and I just saw a little bit of that verdict and it literally made me physically ill," Paulson said. "And I thought I was going to cry and I was going to throw up. And I think for as goofy and gooney and typically actressy as it may sound, I felt very, very connected to her. And to watch her lose, it’s somehow separate enough for me, and yet I feel too inside of it. It’s probably impossible to explain, but I felt a lot of feeling for her, and I don’t want my own self-criticism about my acting to get in the way of, sort of, watching it in a way that feels neutral."
Paulson, who won her own TCA Award over the weekend, was asked about the process of going to the Emmys in recent years as a nominee without winning and if she thought it would make a difference to win now.
"[I]t feels really it sounds sort of pat, but it’s really true: It feels incredible to be invited to the party, but I’m sure I have no way of knowing, but I imagine the winning part would feel really good, I think," she said.