‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ creators Mike Schur and Dan Goor talk

Senior Television Writer
08.27.13 19 Comments
One of this fall”s most promising new series is FOX”s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a new comedy starring Andy Samberg as a wisecracking but effective NYPD detective, Andre Braugher as his disapproving new boss and Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio and Chelsea Peretti, among others, as their co-workers. (It premieres, like FOX’s other Tuesday comedies, on September 17, and will air at 8:30, right before “New Girl.”) Part of the promise comes from that cast, and part from the creative team of Mike Schur and Dan Goor, who have spent the last five seasons working together on a little show called “Parks and Recreation.” (Schur will split time between the two, while Goor is now full-time on “Brooklyn.”)
Back in June, I sat down with Schur and Goor to discuss the process of getting a new comedy off the ground. They were spending the day considering stories for the first few episodes after the pilot, and whether they wanted to be married to certain character traits – that Samberg”s character, for instance, will eat anything you put in front of him – for the life of what they hope will be a long-running series.
It”s a long conversation (as my interviews with Schur inevitably wind up being) but I think illuminating about the challenges and opportunities for a show at this early stage of development.
Note: the conversation picks up in Goor”s office while Schur is busy on a phone call. Goor and I had just finished discussing our mutual admiration for “Barney Miller,” which both Goor and Schur have said is an obvious influence on “Brooklyn,” when I turned the recorder on.   
So your characters aren”t specifically homicide cops, but there are dead people in your pilot. How do you make a comedy with that as an element? 
Dan Goor: Well, there’s a dead person in the room. We talked a lot about that. And you’ll notice we don’t spend a lot of time with the dead person. You’ll also notice the dead person is not in the apartment when they go to the apartment; they’ve already gotten rid of the dead person. There are pictures of the dead person, which we undercut with the pictures of the food on the neighbor”s mouth. One thing I would say is real cops have real gallows senses of humor and make incredibly funny and inappropriate jokes in the presence of dead people all the time.
Certainly. And “Homicide” did a lot with that and “The Wire” did a lot with that.
Dan Goor: And “M*A*S*H.” “M*A*S*H” was also a precedent for us where it’s like where Hawkeye Pierce is a cut up, but he’s also an incredibly good surgeon. And the stakes of what they are doing are real and high. And when he’s doing it he’s a good at his job and he’s not messing around. But they’re able to make jokes while there are people dying all around them. There is an element of it being the only way to survive this job that I think we also have in this pilot. “Monk” did it. We were watching to see how different crime shows do cutaways and things. And there”s a “Monk” episode where there’s maybe 55 shots of a dead person in the first four minutes. That’s an hour long (show) and a little less of a …
But still the bulk of it is played for laughs.
Dan Goor: Right. But we’ve talked a lot about how we think it would be funny if there’s a really hot medical examiner that Jake is always flirting with. And just below the frame is the gore of a body.
As soon as you mention “M*A*S*H,” it immediately clicks into place that Andre Braugher is Harry Morgan.
Dan Goor: Yes and no. In the first episode that Harry Morgan comes in as Sherman T. Potter, he automatically sees that Frank Burns is annoying and crazy but he thinks Hawkeye is going to be a problem. And meanwhile Hawkeye thinks that Potter is a pencil pusher who hasn’t done surgery in a really long time. And then they have the incident. There’s a bunch of casualties are brought in. It’s immediately clear that Burns is a competent but not good surgeon. Hawkeye is an amazing surgeon and Potter is actually pretty good but rusty. And Potter basically shushes Burns, and he sides with Hawkeye and Hawkeye also respects Potter. It genius the way they did it.
But often when you have a comedy with a cut-up character like you have here with Jake, the boss is either clueless or he’s always frustrated and kind of a jerk. It’s very rare that you can have the Potter kind of character who’s really good and wise and patient, too.
Dan Goor: Yes. And hopefully we’re going to be able to pull that off for a lot of episodes. There’s a moment in the pilot where he flashes his smile. And you’re like, there”s going to be tension, but he”s okay. He’s not like (annoyed) “Poindexter!!!!” And Andre Braugher is so infinitely likable. 
(Schur enters around this point.)
One of the things I noticed watching the pilot is that Andre is not giving a radically different performance from Pembleton. He’s an actor, he’s giving a performance but you can insert Holt into an episode of “Homicide.”
Mike Schur: Yeah. The difference in the backstories of the characters is actually what’s important in the context in which he’s delivering that performance. But, yeah, he’s being kind of straightforward; it’s just he’s doing it in the service of comedy instead of drama. The best thing about pitching the show to him and then watching him do it was he got exactly what he was supposed to do. He just knew exactly what he was supposed to do to make it funny. And he even said he went to Craig Zisk, our producing director, and said, “Tell me if I’m getting too broad or silly.”
Dan Goor: But he also said, to the writers, “Please make sure I”m the grounded one. That’s my role on this show.”
Mike Schur: He totally gets the way that he’s funny in the show and the way to make the show funny around him as if he’s the no-nonsense straightforward guy.
Dan Goor: Well, the number one rule of comedy acting is “don’t try to be funny.” Act as seriously as possible
Mike Schur: And it was so fun to pitch him lines too, because you pitch him a line and then he just says it in that incredibly earnest way. 
Is Jake good at his job? This is a question that often gets brought up with comedies, but it feels like because they’re cops, it”s more of a big deal than if Andy Dwyer is good at his job.
Dan Goor: The short answer is yes but I also think that there’s something about it being Andy Samberg and he’s doing this grounded character who’s a good cop but also funny. And I think in order for the comedy to play, the world has to be grounded and he has to be good at his job. And it’s a similar thing to Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H,” I think. 
Mike Schur: Right. Hawkeye was a good surgeon, and we always talk about Leslie being good at her job. She’s a public servant, she’s being paid by taxpayers. And cops are both paid by taxpayers and have people’s lives in their hands. So in order for you to like get behind him and all of them as characters, you have to feel like they like are competent people. If they’re shitty cops, then it would be pretty bad.
Dan Goor: There”s a joke in the pilot about an old lady that’s only okay if he’s a good cop. He gets away with having a gallows sense of humor that a cop would have if he is able to solve crime. If he’s a bad cop and he’s making jokes about that old lady, then it’s like, “Man do your job. Don’t be an idiot.”

But how much harder is it to do a show set in a police world with stakes of varying degrees? Dan and I were talking before about the fact that there’s a murder in your pilot, even if we don’t see the body. How much harder is it to do comedy where there they are good at their jobs as opposed to goofy police hijinks with bumblers who don’t care?
Mike Schur: I don’t think it’s harder, personally. On “Parks and Rec,” there’s people who were varying degrees good at their jobs. But it’s not harder to write for police officers. It would be harder, actually, to keep characters in the mix and likable and have an audience that supports them if they were terrible. Like if they’re really terrible cops then you’d be like, “Hey man, don’t take a gun and wander out on the street and try to keep people safe, you don’t know what you’re doing.” 
Dan Goor: I think it’s also just a different type of comedy. If we were making a cop comedy about bad cops or cops who were comically bad at the jobs then the jokes would be more hijinks and more like slapstick. It would be like they keep shooting each other or they keep arresting the wrong person. And there’s a place for that kind of show, but that just isn’t the mission statement of this. This is a workplace comedy where the workplace is being cops. So the comedy generators are these characters and their relationships with one another.
Mike Schur: And also, by the way, the plan is not to have them solve cases every week. There”ll be many episodes where the point isn’t whether they”re good enough detective to crack this case but more like someone went on a bad date the night before and they have to be in a stakeout talking about their bad day.
Even if they’re not solving cases every week there will be crime and things. Have you thought about how far you would go in terms of the types of crimes? There’s not going to be a serial rape storyline.
Mike Schur: No.
Dan Goor: There are times where, to come up with story ideas, I’ll go to the NYPD website and I’ll look up the most common crimes in the 78th Precinct of New York. And it’s assault and felony rape. And we’re not going to do that. The amazing thing about “Barney Miller” is that they did stories about every single one of these crimes. They did things like rape. They did molesting and all kinds of stuff. I guess it’s interesting that the times are now prurient or prudish.
Mike Schur: Well, New York City in the 70s was a very different kind of place. And I think the national conversation was about how New York is really dangerous and it’s a crazy place. And now New York’s murder rate is the lowest it’s been since the early 60s. And it’s just in general a much safer city so it doesn’t feel like we have to do that. They could do jokes on Barney Miller about how disgusting Time Square was. Now that would be a confusing joke to people who’ve been to Times Square. So it’s just a different city and it’s a different world they”re in. It’s tricky, though: the crimes have to be serious enough to matter in general. Not all of them do – we”re working on a story about spray painting graffiti – but we’ve also talked about more serious things and the reality is that in big cities, people do get murdered. I think that will be a little bit of trial and error. We’ll see what the show can support.
Dan Goor: But we’ve also talked about picking up a case either in the middle or the very end and just following a part of it. So even if it’s a murder, these guys are working with Homicide and their task is they have to find the weapon or something like that. So it’s not procedural and the body’s gone. You’re not getting into what happened between the two people. It’s really about our guys together and they’re on a scavenger hunt.
What was the original idea that you guys had where you said, “It’s development season, and this is the show”?
Mike Schur: This is pretty much it. Once we started talking about a police precinct as a location for comedy, that took hold pretty quickly. We were pretty into it.
Dan Goor:  There were a bunch of things we really liked right off the bat about a police precinct. We loved how instantly relatable it was. We loved how little exposition was required to tell people who these guys were and what they were doing. You do an episode where you start on the sign that says 99th precinct, you drop-down, you see the captain dressed like a captain say, “Somebody’s been stealing cars.” No more exposition necessary for the work story, which was really appealing to us. We liked the idea of setting it in New York. These are the kinds of conversations that jelled very quickly because anybody can be a cop in New York. In our pitch we would say – and it’s true – that you can have a five foot three inch Taiwanese lady who became a cop and you could have like a six foot six inch biker, you can have Terry Crews and you put him in a cop outfit and they’re a cop. And they come from all different boroughs and they interact with every single person in Brooklyn, which seems like a funny subset of New York. So all of those elements were fun little ingredients in the recipe. And then the specifics of, “Well, should it be a high crime area, should it be a low crime area, should it just be an area?”
Mike Schur: “Should it be like the worst precinct in New York? Should it be the best precinct in New York?” Those details we sorted out in a trial and error way in the way that you do when you’re blue skying shows.
Dan Goor: The hookiest version would be that they’re all screw-ups in the worst precinct in the most distant part of New York. And it’s like you can imagine how you sell that as a pilot. And that actually could be a good show, but like there was something appealing also about like nope like pulling it back and making it a little less hooky and a little less high concept.

Mike Schur: And then we found out Andy left “SNL,” which we read about in the newspapers like everybody else. And it was like we went to Fox, we’d already sold the show and we went to Fox and said, “If he wanted to do a show, is this a guy?” And before we finished the sentence they were like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Go get that guy.” So we went and pitched it to him and he liked it and signed on board.
Dan Goor: It was amazing ’cause like we pitched it him, he listened and he goes, “So I’m the comedy McNulty?” And we were like, “Yes!
Mike Schur: We were like, “Yeah, that’s way better than what we have.” Also, part of the pitch was that there was a new relationship between him and a captain. At the time, he was moving into a new precinct, which we changed to the captain moving to precinct, but the relationship was the same. Which was a new relationship between him and a sort of authoritarian father figure guy.
Dan Goor: Although less fraught at that point.
Mike Schur: So it all was pretty smooth sailing creatively, in the sense that we did alter the character and play a little bit more towards Andy. What happens is you have these theoretical ideas for characters and then when you find the actors you want, you tailor them a little bit to the people. But it was not very different from what we”d envisioned.
Dan Goor: And when Kevin Riley gave us some great notes, his big note was to really focus the pilot on the relationship between between Andy and Andre Braugher and to make sure that that tension didn’t dissipate. We wrote the pilot originally like a little movie; tthe coda was basically they’re all best friends, after one episode. And he’s like, “Let’s make 100 episodes, not one episode.” But his notes really helped us move into the next level. I hate that expression but it’s true.
Andy, as a down-to-earth character, doesn”t necessarily have an established comic persona at this point. We know him playing these exaggerated goofs.
Mike Schur: Hot Rod.
Mike Schur: But that was part of the real fun of it, both for us and him: the character we design was not like that. And I don’t think he was interested in playing a character like that in the long-form way. I think he likes goofing around a lot. Like he looks goofy in three-minute videos. And there were a lot of similarities i between what the kind of thing he was looking to do and the kind of thing Amy was looking to do when we started “Parks and Rec.” You work at “SNL” for seven years and you have a great time. And you do a lot of sketches and you get to do a lot of really fun stuff but when you leave that world the last thing you want to do is playing a sketch character for another seven years. What was exciting to Amy and what is exciting I think to Andy is like this is a real character. He gets to do a real character now who has a life and a soul and an inner life and who gets to slowly change and evolve over the course of hopefully many years. That”s what makes sense as the next step to take for people who leave “SNL.” That’s how I felt when I left as a writer: “I can write something longer than ten pages? It’s amazing.”
Dan Goor: He’s a guy who is able to do super goofy and funny over the top characters, but who also did “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” where he’s very grounded and real. So in a way this character in its core design is us trying to harness both sides of Andy. Andy’s incredibly smart, he’s likable and he’s incredibly funny.
So right now you”re pitching jokes and deciding whether they fit these new characters. I assume on “Parks” you reached a point where you just know Leslie wouldn’t do that. April wouldn’t do that.
Mike Schur: Yeah, it takes a while. I think sometimes those things come from writers and sometimes they come from actors. I think that we figured out Ron Swanson in two moments early on. One was when he said that bacon wrapped shrimp was his number one favorite food wrapped around his number three favorite food. That was very meaningful to all of us. Tucker Cawley wrote that joke. We were all like, “That”s something.” And then in the second episode of the second year when Dan’s pitch was that he has a hernia and can’t leave his chair, I remember him pitching it to me in my office and going, “Yep, go, go, go quickly.”   And then shooting it and (Nick) performing it and seeing and then him improvising, “I was born ready; I’m Ron fucking Swanson,” it was like okay we’re good. Like there was never a moment after that where we had any question about any aspect of his character. It was very, very clear after that what was right and what was wrong for him.
Dan Goor: But I will say this: sometimes where you think you know the character and the best pitch is the thing that’s exactly the opposite (of what they”d do) and it’s right. So when we did “Jerry”s Painting,” all the early versions of that we were like there’s a nude picture of her and she’s angry about it because it demeans her. And then in the room we asked, “What if she loves it?” That was obviously not immediately clear, but that broke the episode and it’s so much more in her character. And that was season four.
Mike Schur: But that’s less about character defining work then character refining work or something. There are moments early on – there was a tiny thing in the “Rock Show” episode when she was walking out, and Mark was at the bar and Mark was like, “Where’re you going?” And she went, “I’m going home. I had a really crappy day.” And it was a nothing line, but the way it was written and the way she delivered it, we realized she doesn’t have to always be so political and concerned about everything – she’s a normal person who says things like, “I just had a really crappy day.” 

Dan Goor: The other defining thing is on a new show – and this will be happening here – little jokes that you put into an episode become like a little ball rolling and every episode they pick up a few more jokes and a few more jokes. And then it’s in boulder and the boulder is Ron wants meat. And that boulder is…
Mike Schur: Jerry’s a punching bag.
Dan Goor: Jerry’s a punching bag; Leslie can’t put enough sugar into her coffee; she loves sweets. It’s so funny because they were just jokes in the first 12 episodes.
Mike Schur: And in retrospect they become massive character-defining things.
Dan Goor: So they become very helpful in breaking stories. And it’s hard until that stuff starts happening. And some of that stuff we come up in the room and some of that is color that a writer will add because they don”t have a joke in this scene. I guess the joke in this scene is that Leslie is just pouring so much sugar into her drink. And it has nothing to do the scene but that’s what we all remember from the scene.
Mike Schur: And then you say, “All right, she has a sweet tooth that fits with what we know about her so far.” And it’s extending her character.
Dan Goor: The frustrating thing is you want those moments to already exist. And we have some of them; from the pilot we know a few things. We know Charles loves food and has this surprisingly refined palate. 
Mike Schur: But also is a dude who just blurts things out about himself without a lot of shame. Like he talks about how he was constipated for three days and stuff. And doesn’t seem to care that people are aware. There”s such a funny shot of Joe Lo Truglio saying, “I was constipated for three days.” And Andy goes, “Wow, that’s great, Charles. Thanks for sharing.”  And there’s a shot of him just happily grinning and chuckling. For the episode we”re breaking, there”s a B-story where Chelsea Peretti’s character has this friend who claims to be a psychic and who is always offering her help to the police to solve crimes and they don’t want her to help them. And we couldn’t break that story until we came up with the idea that Charles goes up to the psychic and says, “I know a lot of guys around here are making fun of you. My grandmother had certain abilities and she was touched. And I just want to say that I believe in you, I have respect for you.” And then the psychic thanks him and says, “By the way, that woman that you love doesn’t love you back” and then just walks away. And so the one guy who believes in her is getting a lot of really shitty news over the course of this episode. But for a while we were fighting it, because Charles’s personality in the pilot is that he’s like a grinder – he’s not super talented or intuitive but he just worked really hard. And that seemed to suggest that he would be the kind of person who wouldn’t like what a psychic had to say. But the other things in the pilot are that he’s Italian and he loves food and comes from a big family and stuff like that. And so we just went the other way with it and it’s like, “Well that seems good.” And by the way between now and the time we write it or rewrite or read it it’ll change 20 more times until we figure out what the right answer is.
Was there ever any thought to doing this mockumentary or was that never in the cards?
Dan Goor: It was never in the cards.
Mike Schur: No. We really wanted to do a different style of show. I’ve now been writing mokcumentary comedy for nine years on three different shows.
Dan Goor: We both love the format of mockumentary.
Mike Schur: And, by the way, it’s such a pain in the ass not to have talking heads to explain things.
Dan Goor: Like we decided to use flashbacks because we needed another device to break up scenes and to do comedy. But talking heads are so useful. They’re the ultimate cheat.
Mike Schur: Yeah, it’s incredible. But we just wanted it to look different and feel different and I think it does.
Dan Goor: Right. We wanted to feel like a comedy version of a police drama. So the color palette and the way in which the camera’s move and stuff should hopefully feel more like that. But that also is a little bit like a mockumentary because they seem like hand-held shaky cameras. But it’s not as frenetic.
Mike Schur: It’s not as whippy and crashy and frenetic and stuff. It’s a little more traditionally shot.
Going back to discovering the characters at this point, is there anyone in the group where you feel like, having done the pilot and outlining these first few episodes, “Okay, we know exactly who this is”? Or is no one at this stage yet?
Dan Goor: No one”s at 100 percent of that stage.
But are you 90 percent there with anyone?
Mike Schur: I think we have a pretty good grasp in general on all the characters and what kind of people they are. But even if it’s 90 percent, that last 10 percent is the difference between people feeling like that’s a nice character and, “Oh my God, I am in love with April Ludgate” or Pam Beasley or whoever. The devil”s in the details I think. Chelsea Perretti, we just wanted to cast in the show because we knew her as a writer and as a uniquely talented and funny person. And part of her unique talents and uniquely funny aspects of her life and her personality are that she’s impossible to pin down. Even people who have been friends with her for a long time will say, “You can’t exactly describe what it is about her that’s so funny.” And that means that her character is not going to be 100 percent known to any of us, including her, for a while. We’re going to do a lot of figuring out what aspects of Chelsea’s real life can we try and capture in this character. I mean, Nick Offerman and Ron Swanson have a substantial overlap. But Nick is not Ron Swanson and Ron Swanson is not Nick. And like some of those things, some of the qualities and ideas and philosophies that we’ve given Nick, given Ron are the opposite of what Nick believes.
Dan Goor: The hardest thing to do is figure out that 10 percent. And it’s also the most satisfying. Not to keep talking about “Parks,” but it was a joke in an episode that Ron had two ex-wives: both bitches, both named Tammy. It was like a joke that seemed a little improbable that would even make it to the air.
Mike Schur: We were thinking it’s really mean of him to use the word “bitches.” It’s not a word we particularly like. But he was so funny saying it…
Dan Goor: And it was funny that he looked for the camera and he said it and the idea that they were both named Tammy was ridiculous but funny. And we’ve had four Tammy episodes that are based on that joke.
Mike Schur: But also the fact that the original line was that they were both bitches, which was a word that really stings. We had to design characters that justified the use of that word. That became like a goal: they have to be evil and diabolical. They can’t just be like women that he doesn’t like. They have to be actively trying to murder him.
Dan Goor: Isn’t there a line about one of them crawling out of Satan’s butt hole?
Mike Schur: He said, “What was it like to stare into the eye of Satan’s butt hole?” It doesn’t make any sense but which is really appropriate. But doing those things for characters – that’s where the fun lies. That’s why the endless hours that we’re spending just knocking around ideas for the first episode after the pilot are worth it, because eventually in hour 72 someone will pitch something that is the magic skeleton key that unlocks the character. It might not happen in episode two or three or four, but it’s the reason that everyone’s favorite comedies hit their stride…
Dan Goor: In the second season.
Mike Schur: Or in episode seven. The wheels of comedy grind slowly. And once they start meshing…

Dan Goor: Also, as a viewer, you have to figure out what the 90 percent is, and understand who this character is to appreciate the 10 percent. Oh, that’s what makes this the most unique version of this character.  If you sprinkle all that detail in in the beginning, it gets lost. I mean if Terry were a (REDACTED) in the first episode, you”d be like, “Okay, I get it.” But if we add it in later instead, it”ll be a fun twist and fun discovery. And then we have to decide when to include that detail about it. What’s the best way to put it in? What’s the funniest episode?
Mike Schur: The only accurately titled comedy in history is “Growing Pains,” because every half-hour comedy has growing pains. It’s like they were acknowledging it: “Stick with us; we’re going to be okay.”
Dan Goor: Were they, Mike?
Mike Schur: I don’t really remember the show that well to be totally honest. I think I saw every episode of it when I was a kid. That was Kirk Cameron?
Dan Goor: That being said we’re hoping that every one of our first six episodes are great, are fun to watch. We’re not trying to say, “Buckle up it’s going to be a bumpy ride, stick with us.” We are very happy with the pilot.
Mike Schur: No, I’m saying that about “Growing Pains.”
Dan Goor: Oh, yes. I know but you were using it as an analogy.
Mike Schur: No, I was only talking about “Growing Pains.”
Mike, having been at this stage of things with three different comedies, do you feel like you have any better handle at this point on what you have to do after you”ve done a pilot you”re happy with? Obviously, you’re in a much different position here than when you came into “The Office.”
Mike Schur: It’s actually been different on all three shows because I wasn’t involved in the pilot in “The Office.” When I came in, Greg (Daniels) had put a year into that already and had so carefully thought everything out that it felt like we were all just asking, “How can we help you execute your amazing vision?” On “Parks and Rec,” it was Greg and me struggling through but it was also a midseason pilot it was so odd, and we shot everything at once. And it was a much more of like a crazy swirl. So this is a little bit easier than “Parks and Rec,” because this was a more prototypical process where we worked on the pilot.
Dan Goor: We had written six episodes of “Parks and Rec” by the time they shot any of them.
Mike Schur: We had written the whole season of six episodes. And in this show it was a more traditional situation where we worked on the pilot for a long time. We had like a normal amount of time to do casting and other stuff. Then once we’ve done the pilot and shot it we’ve now had two and a half months to just sit around and think about the characters. So it feels like it’s less insane than the Parks and Rec process, but that’s because it simply is. Whether or not I’m any better at it, I don’t have any idea. I think that having been through it once has been very helpful. And the kinds of problems you face seemed to me to be similar no matter what the situation is. We need to make sure that everything is as perfect as it can possibly be. And you don’t have any time to do it and. Network TV schedule is very aggressive and the production schedule is very aggressive. And you’re starting from scratch with something and you want to make sure that everything is perfect. I feel like I’m a little calmer now then maybe I was because I have done it once already.
Dan Goor: It’s very nice to have Mike intimately involved. He’s done it, and even though I was obviously very intimately involved at “Parks and Rec,” once you’re in this position, you see how much more is involved. And it’s incredibly calming to have a person who’s had experience and is good as his job as Mike is. It’s also great to have David Miner, who’s been trough this many times. 
I’d forgotten that you wrote the entire first season of Parks before you shot it. And a lot of what evolves out of characters and a lot of the moments you’ve talked about with those characters come from the second season where you’ve now worked with the actors for a while, whereas you had to write all of the first season in advance.
Dan Goor: There”s no right answer. It’s like we were writing that season in a vacuum, so we didn’t know what worked or didn’t work in the pilot. Whereas here, we can see, “Oh, Andre Braugher can definitely do this kind of joke and Mellisa Fumero is really funny when she does this.” We saw all that. But when we started shooting at “Parks and Rec,” we also had six scripts already done. So we were rewriting but we were rewriting from six done scripts. Whereas here, we’re starting from scratch a little bit. There’s no right answer. It’s very hard no matter what.
Mike Schur: The only easy way to do it is the the pay cable model where you have an infinite amount of time and money – they have like 47 weeks of preproduction. If you can get to be Larry David, and take like three years to decide whether you want to do a season of “Curb,” and then you write all of the ideas and episodes and you shoot all of them and you edit all of them and you make them all perfect. But there’s only one Larry David. 
Dan Goor: He’s amazing.
Mike Schur: Yeah, he’s an all-time genius, so short of achieving that first ballot hall of fame comedian level where he can literally design his own schedule, there’s no shortcut.
Dan Goor: I’m sure when he’s in the middle of it he’s like, “Why am I doing this? This is a nightmare.” But these are good problem to have. We’re very happy that we have these problems.
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com

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