Today’s Guest: Bruce Ferber, TV writer, “Bosom Buddies,” “Coach,” “Home Improvement”; novelist Cascade Falls, Elevating Overman
Watch this exclusive Mr. Media interview with Bruce Ferber by clicking on the video player above!
Mr. Media is recorded live before a studio audience of lyin’, thievin’ real estate developers who are long past the point of believing in anything but their own self-serving philosophies of life… in the NEW new media capital of the world… St. Petersburg, Florida!
I’m going to risk offending my guest right at the top because I can’t help but think of his latest work, Cascade Falls, as a “small” novel.
In my mind, describing his book thusly is a compliment; I just don’t know if he’ll see it this way.
The thing is, Cascade Falls tells a story about a very narrow strip of life and it works in ways that more ambitious and – ultimately – rambling, generations-spanning novels never do.
BRUCE FERBER podcast excerpt: “Writing a novel (versus writing a TV sitcom) and not having to go into casting and argue over who is the best actor for the part — you just write the part! It’s a great thing to be able to do.”
Every character in this book, no matter how big a part he or she plays in moving the story forward, is clearly defined, whether it is kingpin Ted Johnson, his lost little boy son, Danny, or Ted’s secretary, Barbara. Everyone is here for a reason and the reason is never to make the reader ache for a shorter book.
This is a small book because its tale is told in an economical, but elucidating way. Best example of that for me? The few sex scenes are compact but the action is eye-popping in the telling.
BRUCE FERBER podcast excerpt: “‘Home Improvement’ (Tim Allen) was the most important credit of mine because I was the showrunner for the last three years of the series. Before that, I worked on ‘Coach’ (Craig T. Nelson) for one year, which was interesting. Before that, I worked on a Fox show that was ahead of its time called ‘Duet’ (Matthew Laurance and Mary Page Keller). It was odd; it would not be considered odd today because ‘Mad About You’ came after that and was sort of the same concept… It was one of those shows where you grow up the baby by three years (in one season). And then the network wanted to change it completely. They wanted to make the two supporting roles (Alison La Placa and Chris Lemmon) into the main couple. This had never been done before. And they changed the name of the show to ‘Open House.’ It was crazy.”
None of this surprised me because writer Bruce Ferber comes to fiction from the world of TV sitcom writing, where dialogue is everything and narrative is frowned upon. Ferber’s credits include “Bosom Buddies” (starring Tom Hanks), “Growing Pains,” “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch,” “Coach” (Craig T. Nelson), and three years as showrunner for Tim Allen (“Tim the Toolman”) on “Home Improvement.”
His first book, which I’m now going to have to get, is called Elevating Overman.