MONDO EXTRAS

More Bang For the Buck With Chuck

by Angel Cohn September 18, 2008
The Chuck Lorre Interview

CL: No, no, no. There's no taking over the night. Just trying to survive the whole process.

TWoP: Were there any storylines that got pushed up or postponed because of the strike that we'll either see?

CL: No, we're just trying to stay focused on stories that reveal these characters. We're not looking for the big story ideas as much as the ones that... you know the little gems that help you at the end of the episode you kind of feel like you know them better. Those are the better episodes for this genre. It's not meant to execute big moves. It's just not what a half-hour comedy does well. It's a play. Essentially, we're shooting a play in front of an audience. If somebody makes a mistake we shoot it again. But otherwise it's a theatrical presentation. So the smaller ideas present themselves better.

TWoP: Makes sense. Do you ever worry about putting in too many comic or sci-fi references for the general masses?

CL: I do worry about that. If the show becomes too reference heavy then I think it risks losing a lot of people who are not deeply immersed in the minutia of nerddom. It's a balancing act and every decision is a guess, really. Just making a guess, really. Where is the line? What's too much? What's enough? What's just right?

TWoP: Does the live audience help with that? You know you hear them and think, "Oh I don't know if they got that?"

CL: You know what's interesting? Now that this is our second year, the live audience generally is full of fans of the show. And they're on top of all the references.

TWoP: They're like me scanning Battlestar Galactica websites in their spare time.

CL: They respond to Battlestar Galactica references and old sci-fi references. They knew what The Time Machine was last year. And what a Morlock is. So when we shoot the show on Tuesday nights, if you ever come out to LA you should come see it. It's really fun cause the people in the audience are really excited to be there and their response is gratifying. I don't know if that's the same response to people that aren't necessarily living and breathing this kind of material.

TWoP: I don't know. My dad loves it.

CL: That's good. That's good. That means that the balancing act is working for the time being. It really is a guessing game as to what's too much and also just being true to the characters. You know, you just look at every line of dialogue in every story and say, "Is this legitimate for our show?" And also if it can be done by another show then it's not our show. If it's just a story about a group of guys hanging out, well they're not just a group of guys. They're extraordinary guys. And if we're not reflecting that then it's not.

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