Post reshared from: https://mashable.com, It’s not every day that a TV fan falls in love with a new workplace comedy, but there’s a high chance that the ones you hold near and dear had something to do with Justin Spitzer. Spitzer has over 15 years of TV experience, including creating Superstore and writing for another scrappy little comedy called The Office. His latest project, American Auto premiered Monday on NBC. The show begins at Payne Motors, where a new CEO (Ana Gasteyer) has taken the reins after years of working in pharmaceuticals. This might just be another job on the resume, but she quickly finds that creating and selling cars is hardly the breezy joy ride she expected. “Superstore was so much about these people whose lives and jobs are at the winds of this giant corporation and it can seem from that perspective, like they’re making these sort of arbitrary or even mean-spirited decisions,” Spitzer tells Mashable in a Zoom interview. “So it’s a lot of fun now to jump to the other side of things and try to understand why those decisions get made, and how reasonable people who don’t view themselves as bad — who really aren’t — sometimes find themselves forced to make them.”
Mayo as Dori, Tye White as Jack, Jon Barinholtz as Wesley
Credit: Greg Gayne / NBC
Spitzer actually conceived of American Auto after The Office, but it didn’t move forward. When Superstore got the greenlight, he turned back to his dead pilot about the motor industry and “took it for parts” — like Superstore’s beloved central romance between Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Amy (Ferrera). The bones for those characters are the same as American Auto’s Jack (Tye White) and Sadie (Harriet Dyer). Themes like professionalism, power dynamics, and relationships outside of work all carried from The Office through Superstore to American Auto.”What I like about workplace comedies is you have people that don’t necessarily want to be together, that have very different backgrounds, very different interests, and they’re forced to spend lots of time together in often not the most ideal space,” Spitzer says. “That’s every element you want for conflict, which is what you want as a storyteller.”And it’s distinct — at least at first — from ensemble shows about friends or family, who choose each other’s company. There’s a drive to workplace comedies, Spitzer says; goals, deadlines, bosses, and more. His shows aren’t about everyone loving each other and getting along because that’s not the reality of most workplaces. It’s like in The Matrix, he says: If everything is great all the time, humans won’t accept it.”You find those moments and like, one nice moment is enough to sustain you for six more episodes,” he says. “And then when you have like, one really great moment of kindness or a really up ending, it feels like ‘Oh my god.’ You feel really excited. If you do that every single week, it’s like, yeah, they’re following the formula.”
Sadie (Harriet Dyer) and Jack (Tye White) are TV’s next will-they/won’t-they.
Credit: Ron Batzdorff/NBC
While The Office regularly dipped into characters’ personal lives and Superstore stayed largely contained, American Auto branches out to mirror its executives’ lives. They go to press conferences and presentations, important meetings, and even take a private jet. At least three episodes significantly depart from the office setting, leading Spitzer to compare the show to Veep more than his previous work. It also lacks — or at least alters — one crucial element: The bumbling boss.”It’s great to have a boss who’s kind of dumb or making mistakes because then even if the other characters are smart, they have to go along with it,” Spitzer says. “And then that generates story and comedy. In this show, Catherine [Gasteyer] is smart and competent. She still makes mistakes — and and that’s where I think it was helpful to have her come from a very different industry — but that’s something that presents its own challenges.”After all these years, Spitzer isn’t sure he’s cracked the perfect workplace comedy formula, but he’s learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t, and how he himself can benefit from the creative process.”Superstore, those first seasons, I approached everything with fear,” he says. “And now I think I approach everything with dread.”That sounds bleak, but he elaborates: In the early days of Superstore, Spitzer simply didn’t know if things would work out, if he’d even have the right budget or script or anything resembling a show at the end of the day. These days, he knows everything will be done, but the road to getting it there could still be rocky. “Also, I think I trust myself more to say we’ll figure this out,” he adds. “Like not everything needs to always be moving the story forward. Let’s make sure we have time for — whether it’s a break room meeting in Superstore or conference room meeting in American Auto — to just let the characters be funny and interact, and we’ll find elements of it as we go.”The first two episodes of American Auto are now streaming on NBC and Hulu. The show returns Jan. 4. Source: Read More