MAN SEEKING WOMAN: Simon Rich Teases the Format-Tweaking 'Teacup,' Season 1 Finale, and Season 2 - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

MAN SEEKING WOMAN: Simon Rich Teases the Format-Tweaking ‘Teacup,’ Season 1 Finale, and Season 2

March 11, 2015 by  


MAN SEEKING WOMAN is exploring a different element of the dating experience in tonight’s brand new episode: after Liz and Leo split, she’s forced to navigate the modern dating scene…and deals with similar situations to what her brother, Josh, went through when the series started.

“Most of the credit goes to our writer, Sofia Alvarez, who really…had to create a brand new show,” Simon Rich shared about “Teacup.” “She really knocked it out of the park. I’m thrilled at the work she did. And Britt [Lower (Liz)], also, completely nailed it, and did a great job at taking over for Jay [Baruchel (Josh)] as the star this week.”

I spoke with Rich about changing the show up (for one episode), next week’s season finale, and what’s in store for the already-ordered season 2

Given the understandable emphasis on Josh and his quest for love, how much discussion was there about doing an episode that deviates so completely from him?
Simon Rich: We always wanted to do this episode. I think it was the first one we came up with as soon as we started planning out the season. It’s extremely fun to write a story that’s so obsessively fixated on the plight of a single character, and we always knew we wanted to widen our scope, and go to a different angle at some point.

How much discussion was there about when it should slot into the series’ order? I imagine if it aired too early, it might not fit right, yet if you waited a few seasons, it might have been jarring.
SR: Yeah, we always knew we wanted to do it later in the [first] season for that exact reason. It’s very much Josh’s show, and we needed to explore his world view a lot. We ended up putting it second-to-last [this season], which felt like the right move.

There are a lot of really great pilot homages in the episode, but was there anything you really wanted to fit in that didn’t work out?
SR: I’m really thrilled with how it turned out. In a way, it’s very similar to the pilot, because it has the exact same narrative structure. It starts with Liz breaking up with her long-term partner, and being forced into the dating world after years of being in a relationship. It’s really fun to explore the ways in which it’s different. It’s different for men and women, but equally fun to explore the ways it’s exactly the same.

How does this experience change her arc going forward, and what we might see from her?
SR: It will always be Josh’s show, it will always be MAN SEEKING WOMAN. But we’re definitely planning more breaks from his perspective, and widening the world. That’s one of the great things about the second season. There are so many things we want to explore, and so many things we want to try, which with another season, we’ll have the opportunity to do that.

What can you share about next week’s season finale?
SR: The season finale is definitely our most ambitious episode: it’s written by Ian Maxtone-Graham, who is one of my heroes from THE SIMPSONS. It’s extremely epic. I don’t want to give too much away, but it involves time travel, an evil alien overlord, and, ultimately, Josh learns a lesson he probably should have learned ten episodes ago.

That sounds amazing. Since you know you have a second season, how much have you been thinking about what it will look like?
SR: A lot! There’s a certain amount of exposition that needs to go into the first season of a TV show. We want to really establish the world to a certain extent before we deviate from it. And I think with a second season, we’ll have even more freedom than the first season.

Is there a particular character you’re looking to go deeper into next season, like tonight’s episode does with Liz?
SR: I don’t want to give too much away, because things will constantly change as we write it out. I think that the great thing about our show is we have so much freedom to take risks. There will be all sorts of new surprises.

Season 1 occasionally drew from your book, “The Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories.” As you look to season 2, do you expect to still draw from that?
SR: I think probably the most successful scenes from the series were not adaptations from the book. I think that most of the stuff we did, even in season 1, that I loved was original. I think second season — there are very few premises in the book that didn’t find their way in, so I think it’ll be mostly original [stories].

Given the delightfully crazy nature of the show, what has been the thing or episode people come up to you to talk about?
SR: The great thing about the show, is that even though it’s so bizarre and supernatural and surreal, it’s ultimately extremely personal — it’s a very autobiographical show for all of us. So whenever anybody says they relate to something on the show, that’s the highest compliment for us. It’s so exciting when people come up and say, about some of our more supernatural premises, “I know what it’s like to have to be nice to my girlfriend’s best friend who is a Japanese penis monster.” Or, “I know what it’s like to find out your ex-girlfriend is dating Hitler.” And so it’s really exciting when people say they relate to the madness on our show.

As you look back over your first season, what do you feel your biggest lesson was?
SR: I think I’m still learning a lot on the job. But I would say, the biggest lesson is…being aware of the production realities. In the writers’ room, we tended to take some pretty extreme risks, and sometimes we’d show up to set, and have…regrets about taking such big production swings. I’ll go into this [upcoming] season, more aware of how difficult it is to mount some of these insane premises.

I learned a ton about storytelling, and about writing, and about showrunning. I think I still have a lot to learn, and I’m so excited for this opportunity to try and get better.

MAN SEEKING WOMAN airs Wednesdays at 10:30 PM on FXX.


MAN SEEKING WOMAN Exclusive Clip: Liz Faces a Harsh Reality
On the Set of MAN SEEKING WOMAN: Jay Baruchel, Eric André, and Dan Mirk Tease ‘Branzino’
On the Set of MAN SEEKING WOMAN: The Cast and Creator Tease ‘Stain’
MAN SEEKING WOMAN: Jay Baruchel on Grounding the ‘Cartoon Come to Life’
MAN SEEKING WOMAN: Simon Rich on Adapting ‘The Last Girlfriend on Earth’ For FXX

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