Weird City is a new anthology series that you can watch on YouTube Premium. More than that, it’s a super weird and quirky show filled with social commentary, huge stars and one of our favorite couples this year (#StuBurt). We chatted with one of the show’s writers and creators, Charlie Sanders about the show, the episodes and the possibility of a second season!
Pure Fandom: What was the inspiration behind this show?
Charlie Sanders: I just wanted to make something that I would have liked when I was 19 years old. And I wanted to make something different that I hadn’t seen on TV before.
Well, you definitely accomplished that!
Ah, thank you!
I have seen people compare it to Black Mirror and Twilight Zone, and for me it felt like it was 3 or 4 beats away from being Tales from the Crypt. Were any of those shows in the back of your mind when creating this?
All of those shows, except for Black Mirror because me and Jordan [Peele] conceived of this before Black Mirror ever came out. It just took a long time to get it made. But yeah, Tales from the Crypt for sure, and Twilight Zone. The other one that was touched on for us was Amazing Stories, do you remember that show?
It was a show that Steven Spielberg produced in the 80’s that was an anthology, but it was multi-genre. You might see a horror episode, you might see a fantasy episode, you might see a sci-fi episode. It really was an exciting show because you never had any idea where the story was going to go or what it was gonna be. So way back when me and Jordan were first talking about this show at Key and Peele, we would call it Amazing Stories – but funny.
I’ll have to look that show up!
Yeah, you’ll like it if you like Weird City.
I do! Okay, a lot of our followers seemed to gravitate to the first episode of Weird City, but I wanted to ask if you had a favorite episode?
That’s like saying “who’s your favorite kid?” – I like them all and love them all dearly. But I have a special place in my heart for Michael Cera’s character Tawny Clem because he’s the weirdest character of all time. I find myself – even though I came up with the character – when I watch it going “What’s up with this guy? Who is he? Why is he like this?”
I found myself doing the same thing! Even as he was doing all of these horrible things, like letting worms eat Rosario Dawson – I was like – aww. I just want to make him soup.
You want to make him soup, that’s so nice. That might fix him, who knows! But, yeah I’m obsessed with that character because it creates two emotions at the exact same time. It’s like “I hate him” and at the same time it’s “I love him and feel bad for him.”
Exactly! You nailed it! So, when I asked our followers if they had any questions for you, the overwhelming response was around Dylan O’Brien and Ed O’Neil. What was that like to see their chemistry firsthand?
It was – amazing, honestly. I totally thought it was an interesting story [and] I wanted them to be charming and to have chemistry, but those two actors just totally knocked it out of the park. I mean, I remember the first scene we shot – it was the first episode we shot of the entire show – when they pull up to Burt’s house and he was about to meet Burt’s kids and they were outside in the driveway. From the first shot, they just had electric chemistry. It was like oh, sh*t – this is going to be even doper than I thought.
That’s awesome! And it’s not something I expected. If I had seen it on paper that this guy from Teen Wolf and Al Bundy would be this magical couple, I wouldn’t have believed it. It was amazing!
Thank you! They were great, their chemistry was amazing.
There is a lot of hidden and not so hidden bits of social commentary in all six episodes. What can you share about how you placed certain things in the show?
I went comedy first. Mainly, I want people to laugh and have a good time and enjoy the ride. And then layered it with my opinions and social commentary after that.
And I definitely liked how the show used technology in the show. My favorite was when she transfers the pregnancy via text or email. Like, can we please make that a thing?
I’m glad you liked that!
Yes, as a woman and mother of two – please sign me up for that! Another question our followers had was if there will be any behind the scenes of the show? It’s so visually stunning, I feel like there were a lot of set pieces that we didn’t get to see the full extent of. Will we get to see a little more?
There has to be some of that stuff, but that’s up to YouTube and their marketing department. I have also seen that on Twitter, people asking for that. And I’m going to investigate to see if I can get them to release any of that. There’s got to be some of that. I’ll ask them.
Speaking of YouTube, what was the benefit of having it be on YouTube and having an on-line release?
The benefit of it was that YouTube was the only TV company that didn’t slam the door in my face when I told them what I wanted to make.
Well, that’s a big benefit!
Yeah, they were the only ones that wanted to make it and I was so grateful that they wanted to. The real benefit was -because it was streaming and this new landscape for TV – they were really cool about letting me tell any story I wanted to tell. Like, they were shockingly cool. Especially with “The One” or the sixth episode which is super meta. I feel like if I weren’t on a new streaming platform, I wouldn’t have been able to make that episode.
Every episode is so different than anything you would see on network television. I think that’s why everyone was shocked by it and then gravitated towards it.
Yeah, I think so too and I have to give props to YouTube for letting me do whatever I wanted to do.
What about Season 2? Is there any word on that yet?
I’ve heard nothing. I would love to do one, I’m ready to go. I’ve got stuff locked and loaded if they want to make it.
You’ve got more weird stories in there?
I have so many more. I could do a million episodes.
Was there a story that you wanted to include in the first season, but it just didn’t come to fruition?
There was quite a few and the only reason they didn’t come to fruition was because they ordered six and I had already written four. We only wrote two in the writers room. We had tons of ideas, but we just picked the two that were really just cracking us up in the moment. Yeah, so there’s a bunch more coming down the pipeline.
The worms. Where did those come from? Was it just to generally creep people out or is there more to the story of the worms in Episode 2?
I have no idea why I came up with that. I guess I’m just a weirdo, but I think it was that I was writing the first scene when Tawny is at the 12 step group and I thought “what is the weirdest thing he could do?” – he could eat a worm off a plant in the room and just went from there.
That’s awesome! Well, thank you so much!
We hope that Weird City will get another season so we can see more of this quirky world that Charlie Sanders has cooked up! It’s weird, it’s funny and (in the case of “The One”), it’s super sweet. It’s not at all what we expected, but it’s exactly what we needed.
RELATED: Weird City 1×01 Review
Stream all six episodes of Weird City on YouTube Premium!