Depart a Remark
As somebody who’s labored as a creator, author, and actor on FX and FXX’s record-breaking comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rob McElhenney has plenty of accomplishments to be pleased with in his profession. With the ability to ship that present’s hilarious twists and turns for 15+ years is one thing that would simply be pegged as one’s best accomplishment. And but, in the case of what he’s most pleased with at this level in his profession, McElhenney is pointing to the newest episode of his Apple TV+ collection, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet.
Throughout a current press roundtable for the quarantine-centric tenth episode of Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, the comedy centered across the eclectic employees of a well-liked online game firm, Rob McElhenney talked about how a lot effort went into pulling the installment collectively out of skinny air. You possibly can simply see why he’d declare this episode is so expensive to him, since in its personal on-brand kind of method, this very particular one-off (entitled Mythic Quest: Quarantine) went on a mythic quest itself, beginning with the choice to make it occur within the first place. Let’s dive into what Rob McElhenney needed to say.
The Miracle Of Pulling Mythic Quest: Quarantine Collectively In Three Weeks
In the course of the Apple TV+ roundtable I took half in, alongside a number of different journalists, I requested how rapidly he and the artistic crew pulled collectively this spontaneous episode with so many shifting elements. Clearly, Mythic Quest: Quarantine wanted to give attention to the truth that the present’s characters have been remoted at residence, however nonetheless working.
Additionally, like most TV reveals placing out contemporary episodes and reunion specials in current weeks, the format essentially wanted to characteristic a cavalcade of Zoom home windows showcasing everybody’s interactions all through the period. So if David (David Hornsby) and Brad (Danny Pudi) have been going to wage warfare by way of matches of Road Fighter II, they must do it over the web.
Rob McElhenney, together with co-writers (and fellow Always Sunny alum) David Hornsby and Megan Ganz, had by some means dreamed up and refined a last product that performs simply as easily as any pre-quarantine episode of tv. And all of it got here collectively like so:
From conception to last supply was three weeks. So it was very quick. And the rationale we needed to try this was as a result of we clearly needed to drop it whereas we have been all on this shared expertise of being in quarantine. We weren’t positive how lengthy that was going to be; it actually does look like it’s altering on an hourly foundation. We simply felt like, ‘Let’s simply do every thing we will to get this out as rapidly as doable’, and that’s what we did. I believe that it could have been tough to drag off underneath the most effective of circumstances, and in these explicit circumstances, I’d say it was the toughest manufacturing I’ve ever been part of. However actually, the episode of tv I consider which I’m most proud, due to the best way all of it really got here collectively: by the work and ingenuity of a complete crew of individuals all working remotely.
Mythic Quest: Quarantine was, surprisingly, written in simply three days by the writing crew tasked with endeavor the topical and positively hysterical particular episode. All issues instructed, together with prep-work and taking pictures, the entire course of turned a three-week ordeal.
Every actor on Mythic Quest: Quarantine was shipped three iPhones for them to shoot with, in a fashion that McElhenney assured everybody was “protected, sterile, and authorized.” All concerned additionally took half in tech help classes, together with digital location scouting within the actors’ houses. Mix that strangeness with all the standard issues related to a TV reveals manufacturing, and also you’ve bought the recipe for what Rob McElhenney says is essentially the most tough, however most pride-inducing episode of TV that he’s made but. And it was all executed with out anybody having to go away their houses.
The Tropes That Mythic Quest: Quarantine Wished To Keep away from
On the very least, McElhenney and the Mythic Quest: Quarantine crew needed to make an episode that may be humorous sufficient to take folks’s minds off of present occasions. However in a world the place different tasks like Parks and Recreation forged reunion and late evening speak reveals have already used video conferences as a supply machine, the writers thought-about sure jokes and stereotypes could be higher off prevented.
Rob McElhenney spoke to this truth once I requested him what kind of tropes and clichés he and his co-writers needed to keep away from with Mythic Quest: Quarantine. His reply adopted a logical path for somebody who, amongst different accomplishments, has delivered episodes of comedy so good that they’ve dipped into considerably dramatic materials with nice ease.
When it comes to the tropes that we needed to keep away from, we knew that we might take benefit, from a comedic standpoint, of a few of the interface jokes that you simply have been simply going to get. It’s an inherently humorous approach to talk with folks. Nonetheless, we knew that we couldn’t simply do Zoom jokes for 25 minutes. That may get previous, and it was already hacky by the point we’d began writing, as a result of there had been a bunch of different reveals that had already come on, SNL included, that did an incredible job proper off the bat, going stay and exploiting that comedy. So we thought, ‘Nice, they did it. It was humorous. Let’s work out a method through which we will nod to that, however inform an precise emotional narrative’.
If you happen to get pleasure from jokes about folks not with the ability to get their teleconferencing gear working, relaxation assured that Mythic Quest: Quarantine nonetheless delivers on that entrance. Because of scenes the place F. Murray Abraham’s C.W. Longbottom tries tackling technical difficulties of his personal, you do get the kind of jokes you’d anticipate from an eccentric workforce being instantly pressured to do their jobs from residence.
However even in that respect, C.W.’s frustrations take some fascinating turns whereas milking the gag for the entire comedy gold it could actually. And nonetheless, Mythic Quest: Quarantine‘s writers discovered methods to deal with one different essential process that was introduced up early on: they needed to make viewers really feel much less alone.
That occurs by way of a subplot the place lead engineer Poppy Li (Charlotte Nicdao) falls down a private rabbit gap after ending up a fairly pressing challenge. All through the remainder of the episode, Poppy is proven to be having a tough time working underneath quarantine situations, as she’s remoted from each family and friends on two totally different continents. With out work to bury herself into, she has a small meltdown, which culminates in Rob McElhenney’s character, Ian, visiting her throughout lockdown to present her a hug.
That is the form of bodily reassurance that individuals do not get plenty of lately (except there’s plenty of strict situations and supervision in place). Nonetheless, it’s a second that paints the well timed nature of Mythic Quest: Quarantine in a extra dramatic mild, fairly than simply being a present for laughs.
That stated, it must also be famous that the massive scene on the finish between Rob McElhenney’s Ian and Charlotte Nicdao’s Poppy was, in actual fact, achieved by the utilization of an appearing double. Whereas McElhenney was the one forged member to technically go away residence in the course of the shoot, he simply walked outdoors and straight again to his personal property. The Mythic Quest: Quarantine stand-in that McElhenney directed to meet his function as Ian simply so occurred to be Nicdao’s precise husband. By utilizing pressured perspective to account for the distinction in measurement between the 2 males, together with some directing by way of earbuds, McElhenney & Co. achieved the scene’s desired impact.
How Mythic Quest: Quarantine’s Massive Rube Goldberg System Got here Collectively
The present’s true coup de grace was that showstopping ending involving a huge Rube Goldberg-esque machine that united the Mythic Quest: Quarantine forged in a single unbelievable gag that turned teleconferencing right into a factor of laughable magnificence. Bear in mind once more that this episode was written in three days, and was totally produced in solely three weeks.
An insane however motivated course of was required to arrange the episode’s enormous gag, which did not miss a step because it performed out from one Zoom window to the subsequent, and in addition included one final gag on F. Murray Abraham’s behalf. Beginning such a joke depended upon plenty of planning, and along with his last little bit of commentary, Rob McElhenney described the preliminary levels of crafting this joke thusly:
That was most likely essentially the most tough sequence, in essentially the most tough episode I’ve ever been part of producing. The way in which that that labored was I referred to as our manufacturing designer, I referred to as our particular results coordinator, our property division, and our AD crew, and I stated, ‘That is what we wish to try to do. We have to construct [what] truly began as 16 machines, after which we whittled I all the way down to 12 I consider.
This prolonged course of included every of the machines being constructed after which filmed for a fast tutorial video, after which they have been damaged down, sterilized, and shipped off to Mythic Quest: Quarantine’s complete forged. After going by their very own sterilizing and set-up procedures, the actors would participate in Zoom calls, the place every machine was shot one by one.
It was an arduous process, for positive, however one which offered probably the funniest story to return out of Mythic Quest: Quarantine’s manufacturing, if not additionally the whole first season. Which is generally due to the forged member who had essentially the most issue with their very own private machine: Chernobyl showrunner Craig Mazin. In line with Rob McElhenney:
The particular person whose machine we had the hardest time with was Craig Mazin, who performs Lou. . . . He was simply so unbelievably annoyed by this machine, and I stored laughing, and he was getting angrier and angrier. However I used to be laughing at him. I used to be like, ‘Craig, you simply received each award that there’s on the planet for making one of many best miniseries within the historical past of tv, on one of the vital devastating occasions of the 20th century. And you’ll work out methods to get rest room paper to roll left to proper? It simply drove him insane, and we now have all of it recorded. So we’ll be releasing that scene very quickly.
The creator and showrunner of HBO’s accolade-earning Chernobyl by some means lucked out in getting essentially the most tough machine out of the whole Mythic Quest: Quarantine forged. His frustrations on the present may not prime these award wins he is celebrated, however it nonetheless makes for one hell of a narrative.
Have been Mythic Quest: Quarantine’s efforts all well worth the efforts in efficiently making a humorous, but relatable episode of tv? From the place I’m sitting, they certainly have been, for being well timed whereas nonetheless remaining immediately watchable in any given time or place, Megan Ganz, David Hornsby, and Rob McElhenney have set a excessive normal for any episode targeted on coping with the pandemic.
With many different TV reveals little doubt planning to inform related tales throughout numerous genres, Mythic Quest: Quarantine is a helpful lesson in methods to method these making an attempt instances with a stage of humor and delicate drama that may invoke each leisure in addition to empathy. It’d simply be one among this yr’s finest episodes of TV, too, relying on how the remainder of the yr shakes out. As a result of actually, if there is a approach to prime this band of pals and colleagues’ loud cheers capped off by F. Murray Abraham yelling “Fuck you, Coronavirus,” I do not know what it’s.
If you happen to’re trying to expertise the whole thing of Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet Season 1, in addition to the Quarantine episode, now you can watch all 10 episodes on Apple TV+.