Today’s Guests: Jim Serpico and Tom Sellitti, creators, writers, “Benders,” executive producers, “Rescue Me,” “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll,” “Maron,” “Sirens,” “Canterbury’s Law”
Watch this exclusive Mr. Media interview with JIM SERPICO and TOM SELLITTI by clicking on the video player above!
Mr. Media is recorded live before a studio audience full of foul-mouthed reprobates whose bad habits, substance addictions, marital woes and social indiscretions appear endless… in the NEW new media capital of the world… St. Petersburg, Florida!
If you liked the amateur hockey, lockerroom and post-game bar moments found on the Denis Leary FX dramedy “Rescue Me,” you’re gonna love the new IFC comedy “Benders.”
You might say it’s the former show without the drama.
Oh, wait. I just did.
TOM SELLITTI podcast excerpt: “All of the characters on ‘Benders’ are narcissists in their own way. We wanted Karen Rosenberg to be one of the guys when she’s with the guys. We didn’t want her to be the voice of nagging.”
Whereas “Rescue Me” pinballed from broad comedy to exceedingly intimate human drama, “Benders” keeps the sarcasm, crudeness and lesson-free tone without any of the heaviness. It has elements of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Married,” “You’re the Worst,” “The League” and even “Archer.” If you like those shows – and, in my household, we do – give “Benders” a try.
While the cast is barely familiar from other shows, the creative team calling the shots and diagramming the plays is among TV’s best.
JIM SERPICO podcast excerpt: “‘Rescue Me’ was a post-9/11 story that was grounded and, at the end of the day, Denis Leary created a likable asshole, a guy people rooted for and related to the problems he was going through.”
Jim Serpico and Tom Sellitti co-created and write “Benders.” Their fingerprints are similarly all over “Rescue Me,” “Maron,” “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll,” “Sirens,” and “Canterbury’s Law.” They also co-executive produced all of those shows with comedian Denis Leary, the star of “Rescue Me” and “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll.”
(Serpico also worked on Leary’s short-lived ABC sitcom, “The Job,” which later informed “Rescue Me” and “Benders.”)
These guys are really, really good at capturing really, really bad people and situations.
JIM SERPICO podcast excerpt: “Marc Maron works so hard; he puts his life into his TV show. You get better by doing things; he now has a lot of hours and episodes in front of the cameras. He put a lot of time and heart into ‘Maron’ on IFC and studied his craft.”
They are to coarse, adult comedy what Shonda Rhimes is to sophisticated drama on Thursday nights. And what the Duplass Brothers, Mark and Jay, are to everything else that is currently sharply written and of interest on TV and in film.
Key interview moments:
• 16:30 The characters on “Benders” are, at their core, narcissists;
• 40:05 Marc Maron’s sitcom on IFC has improved each season as Maron himself has grown more comfortable in the role and expanding the character beyond reality;
• 44:45 An inside few of why “Rescue Me” — and star Denis Leary’s character of “Tommy” captured the heart of Americans.
More Showrunner Interviews on Mr. Media
Marc Guggenheim (Arrow) • Tara Butters (Agent Carter) • Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory, The Muppets) • Bruce Ferber (Home Improvement) • Daniel Pyne (Alcatraz) • Neil Landau (author, The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap)