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In this series, Running the Show, The Times speaks with showrunners of your favorite TV programs about breaking into Hollywood, being the boss and more challenges of the job. The swan song finale April 5 will be boosted by a concert special, airing immediately after the last episode of the musical dramedy.
McKenna, co-creator and showrunner of the cult favorite, is in the midst of cutting footage for both bonus offerings. It caps off the already rigorous task of writing the series finale, which McKenna did with fellow co-creator and star Rachel Bloom, and directing the episode too. So, basically, overwhelming panic was inevitable. Considered by many to be an anti-romantic comedy, the show has followed the shenanigans of Rebecca Bunch Bloom in the pursuit of love and happiness. It brings to a close her first TV series — a full circle moment for someone who spent her early years in Hollywood writing TV pilots.
After college, I wrote a proposal for a book with my roommate, and we sold it to Pocketbooks. And, then, I tried in vain to become a magazine writer. We tried to write for Spy. We had a piece killed at Glamour. We tried really hard. And then my writing partner moved to L. I wrote a screenplay in a screenwriting class, an extension class at [New York University].
And with that screenplay, I got an agent. I was about 23 or something like that. And then the original spec sold to New Regency. Those two deals were the things that sustained me for the first few years of my career. I was just expecting to work as a writer. That was the extent of my goals.
I wrote pilots mainly. TV was very different then. Everybody wanted the same thing and it was very constrained. And the multi-cam format was never the format that I was most comfortable in. Margaret was in it. Diedrich Bader was in it. Mariska Hargitay was in it. David Cross.
Everybody does it differently, so I kind of crowdsourced it and called a bunch of different people. She was very helpful and gave me a lot of good advice. I [also] solicited a lot of feedback from the writers Find girlfriend Aline Oklahoma hired. I had to Find girlfriend Aline Oklahoma that every person you work with requires a slightly different style of communication.
If you think about, with your five closest friends, you have a slightly different communication with each. Meeting people where they live was something that I think I maybe intellectually understood, but when you see it in practice and you notice that You take them as they are as opposed to trying to get everybody to be on your wavelength.
Looking at the ratings, for us, is really pointless. So we gave up on that. That has been the biggest change in TV, I think. And I love it. Let the writers explain … ».
One thing that I do frequently is I ask people to challenge the way they look at themselves. So like we have a female editor that I really encouraged to be a director and, [Kathryn Burns], our choreographer, I really encouraged to be a director. And sometimes, you know, people can opt not to do those things, but sometimes just someone seeing you that way and suggesting that makes people think of themselves in a slightly different way. Why are you mentoring me? And so I mostly try and be aware of being encouraging when I see something that maybe someone is not seeing in themselves.
I had been so steeped in being likable and the female le being a certain way — that had been hammered onto me. Besides [director] Dave [Frankel], it was a movie made primarily by women. And so I got fewer of those notes. So that helped a lot. But also because it was a movie surrounded by women.
She comes from musical comedy where the female characters are often severely compromised. And I had been working in romantic comedies, where I was trying to get Find girlfriend Aline Oklahoma other kinds of characters through. And this was a brilliant opportunity for both of us to kind of spoof these things. And then all the men are tropes.
And so it really is a sustained, four-year-long rom-com. I would say the main genres we dismantled [were] mainly romantic comedy, but also musical comedy, for sure. That is maybe the biggest difference between Rachel Bloom and Rebecca Bunch, which is that Rachel is steeped in musicals. Rebecca Bunch is steeped in rom-coms, mostly. The way I think about my job and this industry And so that feels great. It certainly came up a lot in our free-form discussions.
I think anyone in Hollywood spent a lot of time discussing it, and a lot of the women in our show, in particular. I would describe everyone on our show as feminist; particularly, some of the women are quite outspoken. It was also one of those things we had been talking about and dealing with in our own way, before it all started to really break, because we were dealing with certain of these issues we were already talking about. But, yeah, I think that sound you hear is everyone all across Hollywood talking about all of these things.
Because Rachel and I were so interested in beginning, middle, and end, it was really nice for us to get to that end and explore what that was. I mean, people are running off cliffs in Malibu. And we always knew [the series finale] was going to be a more intimate, psychological. We usually do the finales over a longer period of time.
Rachel and I wrote it together. We wrote the bulk of it in one day. And it felt like the culmination of almost six years of collaborating and talking about what we wanted to say. But then we set out to sit together. It was kind of like a dam bursting. And there were tons of refinements, but the spirit of the finale is in that first day that Rachel and I kind of first put it on the.
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