FX's 'Always Sunny,' 'Archer' and 'The League' Bring the Funny... Just Not to the Press Tour - TCA Reports
by Joel Keller, posted Aug 3rd 2010 11:34PM
When I noticed the schedule for FX's TCA panels today, I was happy to see that the cable net bunched all the comedies in the afternoon, when the critics were supposedly punchy and might have wanted a good laugh.
But something odd happened: All three of the comedy panels -- for 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,' 'The League' and 'Archer ' -- weren't all that funny. And they weren't even trying, for the most part.
Who knew comedy was such a serious business?
The 'Always Sunny' crew was supposed to do a table read, but with Charlie Day off doing a movie and unable to attend, that got scuttled. So it was 45 minutes of Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson talking in relatively serious tones about how the show has grown and the issues they wanted to tackle. Even the normally wacky Danny DeVito became unusually reserved after the first few minutes. Maybe the FX folks saw Cloris Leachman's funny but scattered performance during yesterday's panel for the FOX show 'Raising Hope' and didn't want that to happen two days in a row.
Anyway, some news and notes about all three shows:
-- Olson and McElhenney are expecting a son in about a month or so; Olson said that they hid the pregnancy while shooting the first block of episodes, but couldn't hide it in the second set. Hence the episode "Who Got Dee Pregnant?" episode that was shown to the critics. In it, Dee tells the gang that one of them got her pregnant at a Halloween party, generating an episode's worth of hazy, 'Rashomon'-style rememberances that involve the Waitress, the McPoyles, and Artemis.
-- The first episode of the season will deal with gay marriage, the second with divorce, and another will deal with animal rights. McElhenney got very serious when talking about how 'Sunny' brings issues like these to the forefront. "We're trying to introduce into comedy a part of the national conversation that we hear and see people talking about behind closed doors, but aren't doing in public," he said. "I've never seen an episode of any show that deals with gay marriage, and we decided that that was something that we wanted to do. We felt like we could have a very distinct and different take than any other show on television. And sometimes we do dick jokes."
-- On 'The League,' Chad Ochocino of the Cincinnati Bengals will guest in the season opener, where the fantasy football guys go to Las Vegas. Paul Scheer recounts how the Bengal wideout got in touch with the show. "Last season in one of the episodes, I said, "Child, please," which was Chad's catch phrase that he kind of started off in 'Hard Knocks,' that HBO series. And when that aired on the episode, that night I got a tweet from Chad Ochocinco saying, 'Dude, put me in your show.'"
-- A few tidbits from the 'Archer' panel, which came at the end of the day and, though the show is hilarious, didn't generate a ton of questions from the crtics: 1) Archer will find out he has an illegitimate baby, 2) we'll find out more about Archer's father, and 3) according to producer Matt Thompson, "it hasn't been written yet, but it's been talked about a great deal with the FX executives and such, is a huge love interest for Archer with a femme fatale Russian spy."
-- The 'Archer' drawings are based on models that were cast in Atlanta, where the show is produced. While most of the models look like the actors who voice the characters, the character of Pam, played by Amber Nash, doesn't. Thompson classified Pam as a "sturdy lesbian." Nash has actually met the model for Pam in Atlanta a number of times, since they both live there. "And she's a wonderful woman. She owns, like, a home-furnishings store. She's very sweet."