You’ve seen a million shows on TV revolving around singles and the dating scene, right? But have you ever seen one where a man dates trolls, aliens, and other various supernatural characters?
Didn’t think so.
FXX’s new series, Man Seeking Woman, is taking a fresh approach to the common format of romantic comedy by introducing that supernatural element. Creator, writer, and Executive Producer Simon Rich recently attended a media conference call to answer questions about the new show, which premiered in January.
At the ripe old age of 30, this Harvard graduate was president of The Lampoon, and has written for The New Yorker, Saturday Night Live, Pixar, and a series of books, including The Last Girlfriend on Earth, which is the basis of Man Seeking Woman. He’s just launched his sixth and latest book, Spoiled Brats, which he describes as “another weird collection of crazy stories of monsters and aliens, etc. The usual.”
Man Seeking Woman had a long road to becoming a reality as a television series on FXX.
“You know, when I was first writing the supernatural love stories, I never even imagined that they would get published, let alone be turned into a compilation and, ultimately, a television show. Yes, the stories are very strange, and they’re also extremely personal.”
“I started writing these stories almost as a kind of therapy. I was writing about things that I was going through on my own, 20’s situations like getting dumped or being resentful of an actor’s new boyfriend; and I was kind of just processing it in my own way by writing these insane stories, and I was amazed when they started to catch on and really thrilled because I got to write more of them and I’m so psyched about this show, because now I have all of these writers and they’re bringing in their own personal experiences to the writer’s room and the show’s autobiographical for me, of course, but it’s also hugely autobiographical for all of my writers, for my cast and for my directors and now we all get to kind of play in this strange world together.”
While autobiographical, Man Seeking Woman is obviously fiction, given not too many have been set up on a blind date with a troll. And by troll, we’re not talking the internet type, but a real troll. As in the kind that can pop out from under a bridge in a fairy tale.
But Rich addressed a certain paradox in Man Seeking Woman that although it’s clearly fiction, in some ways the show tells more truth about dating and looking for love than so-called reality programs or even drama that aims at being realistic. Specifically, Rich commented on the premiere, where Josh (Jay Baruchel) learned his ex-girlfriend is dating Adolph Hitler, who isn’t really dead.
“It’s like I said, this is like a really personal show, for not just me, for all of us. We’re really just throwing stuff out there about our own lives and about the mistakes we’ve made and the lessons we’ve learned or tried to learn and it’s a really honest show and it’s super gratifying for us in the room when people watch the show and say, ‘Hey, I’ve been there.'”
When a reporter commented that “we’ve all had an ex who dated Hitler,” Rich confirmed that.
“Yes, I know, I know I certainly have.”
Man Seeking Woman allows Rich to perform a sort of therapeutic purge without actually giving away too many intimate details about his life.
“Well, you know, the great thing about writing fiction and about writing TV scripts is I never have to actually throw any facts out there. I can kind of just avoid that question and take my experiences and spin them into something that’s emotionally confessional… I prefer to express myself through weird supernatural fiction.”
While one doesn’t want to give too many spoilers away, take note that there is an upcoming episode of Man Seeking Woman with a “Japanese penis monster,” so suffice it to say it can be a bit adult in its humor, which is a good thing if you’re an adult, right?
Man Seeking Woman airs on FXX Wednesday nights at 10:30 p.m. ET.
[Photo courtesy of Matthias Clamer/FXX Press Kit]