CS Interview: Dana Gould talks Stan Against Evil Season 2
Last night, IFC debuted the second season of Stan Against Evil with two back-to-back episodes starring John C. McGinley and Janet Varney. At October’s New York Comic Con, we got the opportunity to have an exclusive chat with comedian and series creator Dana Gould about what is in store for Stan and Evie with the new season! We also talked to him about his all-star live reading of Ed Wood’s notorious 1959 cult classic Plan 9 From Outer Space, which we later attended. Check out our photos from the Plan 9 reading in the gallery below! You can read our interview with Dana for Season 1 by clicking here!
Season 2 welcomes returning stars John C. McGinley (Scrubs) as Stan Miller, the curmudgeonly retired police-sheriff, and Janet Varney (You’re The Worst) as Evie Barret, the current sheriff in Willard’s Mill determined to wipe out the demons that plague their quaint New England town. After Evie mysteriously vanished in the Season 1 finale, Stan must begrudgingly get off his couch again to solve the mystery of his sheriff’s time-travelling disappearance. Through thick and thin, the unlikely team continues to battle against the unleashing of wicked demons trying to take over Willard’s Mill, which happens to be built on the site of a massive 17th century witch burning.
Deborah Baker Jr. (The Great Indoors) and Nate Mooney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) also return to co-star as Denise Miller, Stan’s absent-minded, do-good daughter, and Deputy Leon Drinkwater, Evie’s right hand man, respectively. Season 2 guest stars include Denise Boutte (Meet the Browns), Jeffrey Combs (Gotham), David Koechner (Anchorman), Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed), and Steven Ogg (The Walking Dead).
Stan Against Evil is created, written and executive produced by Dana Gould (The Simpsons, Parks and Recreation), with Tom Lassally (Silicon Valley) also serving as executive producer. RadicalMedia (What Happened, Miss Simone?, MARS) produces the series with Frank Scherma and Justin Wilkes executive producing. Star John C. McGinley also serves as a producer.
Season 2 continues next Wednesday, November 8 at 10PM on IFC with two back-to-back episodes titled “Curse of the Werepony” and “Girls’ Night.” The eight-episode season will air weekly on Wednesdays, with two episodes airing consecutively at 10PM and 10:30PM.
ComingSoon.net: Just judging from the New York Comic Con presence this year, the show has obviously gotten much bigger than it was last year. There’s definitely a fanbase. What would you say was the biggest fan reaction that drove Season 2?
Dana Gould: I was very surprised that people were really into the cliffhanger. People were really concerned with what was going to happen with Evie, they didn’t know what was going to happen. They really bought into the story, and that’s really a tribute to Janet and John. They made those character so real, they grounded them in reality so much. It made my job more important because I had to honor that and really write to it and not make a facile solution. So what we ended up doing was spending the first episode solving the problems. It’s not a big spoiler alert that the co-star of the show doesn’t die in the first episode. She might still die but it might not be the end of it for her because of time travel. When Season 2 starts, Stan lives in a world where he doesn’t know Evie Barret because she died 400 years ago, but he knows something is wrong. So he thinks he’s going crazy but he’s haunted by this image, so he investigates and figures out what happens by meeting a local group of witches called The Black Hat Society that are actually good witches. Finds out what happened, finds out what to do, goes back in time to save Evie but when they come back to the future things are not all as they should be because you can’t just go back into time. They have to fix what they ruined…
CS: There have to be repercussions.
Gould: There have to be repercussions that need to be dealt with, and then Stan thinks, “Well wait a minute: If I can go back 400 years and save Evie’s life then I can go back one year and save my wife’s life. The arc of this season is him going behind Evie’s back and making deals with demons he shouldn’t be making deals with so he can go back in time to save his wife.
CS: So it starts to become a little more of a moral grey area.
Gould: A little more grey area, and when he does it’s like “Pet Sematary,” these things never work out quite the way you want it to. So the whole arc of this season is the law of unintended consequences.
CS: Last year we talked a bit about how “Kolchak” and “House of Dark Shadows” were influences on the show. What were some other points of reference from that era for this season?
Gould: This season there’s still a lot of “Kolchak,” a lot of “Dark Shadows,” the music cues and color palette are right in there. “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” is right in there, but this year we also have an homage to “An American Werewolf in London,” we have an homage to “Aliens,” we have our own Nostromo that is a blanket fort of an evil baby. There’s a little “Live and Let Die” in this season at one point. There’s a lot of eclectic stuff. The first four episodes were directed by Jack Bishop and Justin Nijm, who directed all of Season 1…
CS: Then you brought Rob Cohen in to direct some episodes.
Gould: Rob Cohen, who is my very close friend and co-writer on many things, including “Super Adventure Team,” we were on “The Ben Stiller Show” together. We got to put on some ideas that we had for a long time.
CS: There was a weird demographic article from Vulture back in December where they said that “Stan Against Evil” had the whitest audience on television.
Gould: Yes, I know! (laughs) It was never our intention! It was just one of those things. The show has a more diverse cast than it did last year. That’s the problem, though, is Stan is my dad, and Stan is Caucasian, so if I make Evie a woman of color then it’s a white guy berating a woman of color. That’s not good. His daughter is white because if his daughter is not white then the show becomes about that. If the deputy is a person of color… the deputy is an idiot! So I have three white people and one idiot who’s a person of color. So it became very difficult to cast the show in a way that reflected the diversity of the country without offending people. This year we expand that world and bring in more characters that are more reflective of the way society really is today. That was not by design, but I’m not gonna have three white people and a person of color who plays an idiot.
CS: Deputy Leon Drinkwater is my favorite character, because he’s like a degenerate Barney Fife.
Gould: Yeah yeah, exactly!
CS: I’m seeing your live reading of Plan 9 From Outer Space in Brooklyn. Can you talk a little bit about what Ed Wood means to you? His work becomes more and more iconic…
Gould: Especially as Tyler Perry supplants him as America’s leading transvestite filmmaker! (laughs)
CS: It is amazing, though, because after you see as many bad horror films over the years as I have you begin to realize that there is something legitimately visionary and special about Ed Wood.
Gould: I was a fan of “Plan 9” before the movie Ed Wood, and the reason is it is consistently hilarious. It’s bad, but it’s bad in a new and different way every ten minutes. This show is a tribute to that. The show you’re going to see is hilarious. It’s hilarious. Also, he’s in love with every frame of that movie. The fact that there’s a ghost, a spooky cemetery… he loves the same things that we love. “Plan 9 From Outer Space” is a movie for people who love these movies. “Ed Wood” is a movie for people who love these movies and have an awareness of what they’re making. Those two movies are intractable. When I stop and think, “Am I a success?” one of the metrics is the guys who wrote “Ed Wood” are now friends of mine.
CS: Right, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski.
Gould: Yeah, Scott and Larry. “Well, I’m not a nobody, I’m friends with these guys.” We’re not showbiz friends, we’re friends-friends! We go to lunch! (laughs)
CS: It really slammed home for me recently because Vinegar Syndrome reissued a restored version of Orgy of the Dead, which is a nudie movie he wrote.
Gould: Yeah sure, I know that one. It has the line, “Torture, torture, it pleasures me.”
CS: Yes! It has Criswell and a Maila Nurmi/Vampira lookalike. It’s amazing because it’s a nudie movie but it’s still unmistakably an Ed Wood movie!
Gould: It’s still an Ed Wood nudie movie! If “Plan 9” was Ed trying to make Universal movies via “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” this is Ed Wood trying to make Hammer movies via nudie two-reelers. (laughs)
CS: Who do you have lined up for the show?
Gould: My god, it’s me, Janet Varney, Gilbert Gottfried, Scott Adsit, John Hodgman, Michael Ian Black, Mark Gagliardi, Ennis Esmer and Jean Grae. It’s unbelievable.
CS: Do you have any plans to record any of these performances, because you’ve done a few of them?
Gould: I SHOULD! (laughs) Maybe we’ll do the LA one, because I’m sure I could release it. It’s public domain? That’s my concern. You gotta SEE it, there’s a read but there’s also a lot of action.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images, Plan 9 Live photos by Max Evry)