Man Seeking Woman “Teacup” Postmortem with Britt Lower and Simon Rich [Exclusive]
Our first (and only) Woman Seeking Man episode this season was a refreshing change of pace. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy the horror that is Josh’s dating life — because I do — but it was really fun to see Liz have some serious trouble in the dating department.
I have to be honest, I did not expect Liz’s relationship to end. Did we even get a reason? Whatever the impetus, it’s fun to see Liz so off balance and unable to control her surroundings. There were more than a few memorable moments from the episode. My favorite scene, though, has to be the tea party with the married 7 year-olds. I asked Britt Lower and creator/EP Simon Rich about it.
TV GOODNESS: I love that tea party scene. How did that idea even enter someoneâ€™s mind? Itâ€™s brilliant.
Simon: â€œThank you. We probably spent more time on episode 9 than we did on any other episode â€˜cause we knew going into the season that we were only going to do one Woman Seeking Man and we wanted to make sure that it was something we were all psyched about. We went through all sorts of different premises and then we found these that we all loved. It was really important for us to have a scene that caused Liz to feel vulnerable because Liz is such a strong character. She doesnâ€™t admit to any vulnerability, even when sheâ€™s in the process of breaking up with someone she’s been with for four years. So we needed to come up with a device to convince Liz that she needed to go off on this search for a man. And thatâ€™s the premise we ended up with.â€
Britt: â€œI think itâ€™s a very relatable situation, to feel like youâ€™re missing out on something. I donâ€™t think itâ€™s a female-specific fear that youâ€™re behind, which is so nice about the scene. And I must say the young women in that scene are amongst the most brilliant tiny humanâ€™s Iâ€™ve ever worked with.â€
Simon: â€œThey were unbelievable. The other amazing thing that happened was we were getting terrible weather that whole month and Sofia [Alvarez] always envisioned the tea party scene, of course, as taking place outside â€˜cause itâ€™s just sunnier and more festive. We were convinced we would have to do it indoors, but at the last minute the heavens changed on a dime and gave us all that sunshine so we got to do it outside as scripted. The weather really cooperated for us on that one.â€
Britt: â€œIt was beautiful.â€
Simon:â€ But when Britt was digging up that graveyard, though, it was unbelievably cold.â€
TV GOODNESS: Itâ€™s funny to see all the guys Liz rejects and then to watch her make this perfect man. Simon, can you talk about being in the writerâ€™s room for that episode and Britt can you talk about filming it?
Simon Rich: â€œThat was super collaborative and I believe that Britt improvised some of the best lines we did on set. The writers were there pitching in as well. That list of dudes that Liz rejects, that was definitely a group effort.â€
Britt Lower: â€œYes, Liz is picky, but sheâ€™s really just not ready to be dating yet, so I think sheâ€™s finding every excuse to not connect with these guys.â€
TV GOODNESS: Matt Lucas and Josh Meyers are in this episode. Simon, can you talk about casting them and Britt, can you talk about working with them?
Simon: â€œIâ€™ve been a huge fan of both of theirs for years and years. Josh I got to work with a long time ago on a web series and Iâ€™ve been a Little Britain fan for a long time, as well. So, it was really thrilling to get them on board. Their scenes with Britt are among my favorite scenes in the entire season. Iâ€™m so happy we got a chance to work with them.â€
Britt: â€œYeah, they were both such a delight, plus weâ€™re incredibly heightened in those scenes, so getting to play with those guys on that wild level is fun.â€
How funny was it that Liz went through the trouble of finding all the parts she needed, adding all the traits she wanted and then her perfect guy turns out to be gay? Maybe because Liz has failed so spectatularly, she decides to give in and go on a date her mom sets up. The problem isn’t so much that he’s a robot, it’s more that he’s just a guy looking for a quick hookup — although we don’t learn that until later.
TV GOODNESS: We have to talk about Chip and that sex scene, because it was amazing, as well as their time in the restaurant. Liz is really hesitant at first, but then it seems like theyâ€™re getting along and things are really going well. Can you both talk about the evolution of that relationship?
Britt: [Laughs.] â€œI was thinking about this the other day. I love making eye contact when Iâ€™m acting with someone and shooting that scene was incredibly difficult because I was looking into what looked like camera lenses for eyes. It really informed what Liz was going through internally, having such a hard time connecting with Chip.â€
Simon: â€œAnd thatâ€™s very much what the scene is about. Liz is really determined to make something work by that point in the episode. She been on such a journey already that sheâ€™s willing to at least attempt this option she never thought she would ever consider. She goes through so many changes in that scene. I think the reason it works for me is Britt did such a phenomenal job of taking the scene from place to place. Itâ€™s a hard thing to pull off â€˜cause it is just one set and there were no other actors around. Itâ€™s literally Britt with an inanimate object staring at her, or I should say pointed at her, and the fact that Britt is able to make that scene so emotionally resonant and powerful and varied just blew us all away. Of all the scenes, itâ€™s probably the one Iâ€™m most proud of this entire season, is the Liz/Chip scene.â€
Britt: â€œThank you, Simon.â€
Simon: â€œItâ€™s unbelievable.â€
TV GOODNESS: I did love it. I think I was laughing â€” or cackling loudly â€” after that sex scene where Chip achieved orgasm so fast.
Simon: â€œInstantaneous. Yeah, well heâ€™s a robot so heâ€™s incredibly efficient. Doesnâ€™t make him the best lover. We should also point out that so much of the credit for this episode, in addition to Britt, should go to the woman who wrote it, Sofia, who just really nailed this assignment. I was lucky to get to write an episode with her earlier in the season. We co-wrote episode 4, which is the one where Britt gives Josh his eulogy after he fakes his own death to get out of a relationship. Writing was Sofia was a blast. It was a tall order assigning this episode. Itâ€™s essentially writing a whole other pilot and I thought that Sofia really just knocked it out of the park.â€
Britt: â€œYeah, absolutely.â€
Simon: â€œIâ€™m so, so thrilled with the work she did.â€
TV GOODNESS: My final question is what can we look forward to seeing from Liz in the next few episodes? Anything you can share?
Simon: â€œWell, in episode 10, Lizâ€™s world â€” I donâ€™t want to give too much away â€” butâ€¦eh, screw it. In episode 10, much of it takes place in a postapocalyptic world and Liz, being the strong, tough character that she is, has no choice but to lead the human resistance against the threat of alien extinction.â€
Britt: â€œIâ€™m wearing a very intimidating beret.â€
Edited for space and content.
Man Seeking Woman airs Wednesday at 10:30/9:30c on FXX.
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