Jim Rash Talks Hosting The Writers' Room And Diving Into The Best Stuff On Television

By Eric Eisenberg 3 years ago discussion comments
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Jim Rash may be best known for playing Dean Pelton on NBCís critically-acclaimed comedy Community, but in the last year he has completely upped his game as a writer. Not only did he take home an Oscar for his work on the script for The Descendants with Nat Faxon and Alexander Payne, he also co-wrote and co-directed the indie coming of age dramedy The Way, Way Back and even scripted one of the best episodes of Community last season. He has proven himself to be a talented multi-hyphenate and thanks to his role on the new series The Writers' Room he can add ďhostĒ to his credentials.

At San Diego Comic-Con last week I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a small event for the upcoming Sundance Channel series and sit down for a quick chat with Rash about both the new show, what itís been like talking to the writing staffs behind some of the best shows on television, and how the medium has evolved over the last few years. Check it out!

Where did this start? Itís an awesome idea.

Itís a great idea. It did not come from my brain. It came from Sundance and some executive producers, maybe through Entertainment Weekly, but we... Basically, they approached me asking if Iíd be interested in hosting The Writerís Room, which was described to me as a panel discussion with the writing staffs of great shows and I said, ďAbsolutely.Ē I just love that idea because I feel like itís a story thatís not told that just add to the story we know about these shows and plus, as a writer, I want to, I have a thirst for knowledge about how to fucking make this easier and those people offer that. Or they donít know the answer, but we can all commiserate about how shitty it can be. So, itís great and they picked six shows to start with. At first we were going to do all dramas and then I think I or somebody suggested we should do a couple comedies because itís such a different dynamic and then I realized that all these shows had a different dynamic, in a good way. So, it was fun.

Did you get to pick the shows?

They picked the shows. I may have sort of called out, I think, you know, obviously these people are walking into it, they donít know what the show is or what it will be about, but they all jumped on and there were other shows that wanted to that will go to the next round, hopefully, but I think it was just to get a cross section and then some of these shows are coming to their end, made them good choices for now like Breaking Bad and Dexter and then shows that are in the middle, like Game of Thrones and then itís great with American Horror Story since it is serial and reinvents itself each year. It made for a nice discussion about a classic version of television thatís not done that often. So, all good stuff.

This is really the perfect time for this show also, because we are really kind of in a golden age of television. Itís never been like this before.

Comedies certainly are catching up, but I feel like dramas are out of the gates, way into a renaissance period and I think it really comes down to embracing story, but embracing complex, sometimes fucked-up characters and I think thatís what TV is doing and doing very well and I think that complexity is sometimes lost in movies right now and TV is realizing, or not realizing, but weíre realizing the value of following a or a similar culture of characters for many stories or one long story, because I think, my opinion is, it comes down to characters and I donít know few would go, ďOh, how enlightening!Ē Everyone would fucking say that, but it is. Any writer knows that if their story goes off track, itís probably because they lost their characters.
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