Saturday, June 01, 2013

When my mind (and everything else) was in the sewer

Here's an episode of JUST SHOOT ME I directed. Things to look for: Lisa Edelstein guests. I had an orangutan to deal with, a water stunt, and a special glow-in-the-dark effect. All in front of a studio audience.

The orangutan was somewhat unpredictable. You'd give him an acting note and he'd forget it. I told the cast to just stay in character if he did anything bizarre, and I told the camera crew that if they saw him doing something strange stay on him -- don't go to your next mark. I can always come back and pick it up later. As a result we caught some magic. My favorite moments are the monkey dragging a chair and looking up Wendie's dress.

After the audience left I had planned to do a bunch of pick ups with the orangutan and his trainer said I had about ten minutes because it was nearing his bedtime.  I asked, "What happens if he stays up past his bedtime?"  The answer: "He gets mad and bites everybody."   Ohhh-kay.  Ed Wood never directed scenes so fast. 

It's a fun episode written by Andy Gordon & Eileen Conn, called (appropriately enough) "Sewer."

8 comments:

MikeBo said...

It's been a long time since I watched this. Looking back, it was one of the funniest shows going. Somehow, the orangutang makes a whole lot of sense, plotwise.sho

Julie Ann Sipos said...

Thank you so much for posting this Ken, I already love it and I haven't even watched it yet. I happened to see an episode of Seinfeld last night I had NEVER seen before. And also an I Love Lucy recently, if you can believe it (It's the one where he beats her on the merry-go-round, maybe they pulled it for awhile). Anyway, looking forward to what you mean by gutter mind as opposed to your usual state. TY!!!

Mike Bell said...

Didn't Kelsey Grammer also bite people if he stayed up past his bedtime?

cadavra said...

And I'm sure you've seen that classic Bilko episode where the chimp was acting up and Silvers was forced to ad-lib to keep in the scene. Here's the relevant sequence (and you'll note background players cracking up once or twice):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-Zqi1I6JrU

Tom Quigley said...

Worked on the series pilot and a couple of episodes over the course of the show's life. My favorite episode (which unfortunately I didn't work on) was "How The Finch Stole Christmas", narrated, coincidentally, by Kelsey Grammer.

Brian Doan said...

Hi Ken,
Sorry, not sure where else to post this, but-- thoughts on Dan Harmon's apparent return to COMMUNITY?

http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/can-dan-harmons-return-save-community

To riff on one of Sepinwall's points (since I trust you as a sitcom history guru (:), can you think of a precedent for this? I know folks come and go but Harmon really seemed to burn his bridges with the studio and network (not that I'm not happy to see him come back, just surprised).

Anonymous said...

Seems to me like you have no grounds for complaining about 2 broke girls.

Patrick said...

I never saw Just Shoot Me when it was originally on, it wasn't one of the big US shows transplanted to the UK with the same fanfare like Friends, Frasier or Third Rock. It's great seeing people I've loved on other shows (Wendie Malick in Jake In Progress, Enrico Colantoni in Veronica Mars) a little bit younger and fresher-faced! Thanks for putting this up!