I work on a show with an awesome ensemble cast. As a writer, it’s so fun to dream up combinations of interactions when you have such a big cast. I love when certain characters interact with each other who don’t very often, like, say, Ryan and Oscar, Dwight and Phyllis, or Creed and a ghost or whatever. John Krasinski and I do about three scenes a season together, and they’re always terrible because we both break a lot and there’s only one usable take.
Some other favorite TV ensembles are: The West Wing (Josh and Sam? Come on.), Modern Family (Eric Stonetreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson slay me), Cheers (Woody! Cliff! Frasier!), and most recently, Shameless on Showtime.
There’s a specific tiny hell of working on the American remake of a popular British sitcom. First of all, usually if it’s being remade for the US, the original was awesome, and you as a writer love that show and don’t want to fuck it up. Secondly, there’s legions of smug Anglophilic acquaintances and reviewers who couldn’t possiby stand to live in a world where anyone might deign to remake their beloved British show. (“You can simply watch it on BBC3!” They say. I’ll fill you in on a small embarrassing secret about me: I had to watch of the British Office with subtitles on, I simply didn’t understand 30% of what they were saying at first.)
So I love Showtime’s Shameless so, so much. It was just my absolute favorite show of the year. William H. Macy is the star, but the secret star is the frighteningly good ensemble cast. Emmy Rossum– whom I’d only known as the pretty-voiced, Phantom-hassled girl in Phantom of The Opera– is unreal as the oldest sister and matriarch (at 19!) for her brood of siblings.
And what a brood of siblings! These kids can aaaaaact. And not in that way where they’re cute kids phonetically reciting lines that have been foisted on them. Like, acting the shit out of these hilariously written scenes (many penned by the little-known newcomer, John Wells.)
Watch for Jeremy Allen White and Cameron Monaghan, who play oldest brothers, Lip and Ian.
These two guys are just so awesome. Vulnerable and appealing and, teenage boys. You feel like you’re watching their Jodie Foster-Taxi-Driver vehicle and you’re so stoked they’re not even grown-ups yet.
$50 gets you season one. I’d have paid much, much more.
I’m only annoyed it wasn’t available in time for Christmas and Hanukkah presents. Showtime, what’s your deal, man?