Welcome Warren the Ape fans, this is Spencer Chinoy, director of 'Support System'. This episode has some interesting origins and was created differently from the other episodes we did. I’ll explain:
Before we got a first season commitment, we shot a short pilot presentation, which featured Greg the Bunny, washed-up and homeless, trying to inflitrate Warren’s reality show. The show was greenlit, but MTV wanted to
focus on Warren(poor Greg). So the pilot was shot, but never intended to be
aired. However, MTV really loved some of these moments in the first AA meeting.
i.e. Charlie's manslaughter joke, Valerie’s sex addiction confession with Warren giving ‘a-ok’ hand sign.
So because they felt these moments were gold, they asked us to incorporate them
into an episode…hence ‘Support System’.
Sean, Dan and I have always loved Ricky Gervais’ ‘The Office’, so this episode seemed to give us the opportunity to do a smaller story, one that focused more on Warren as a real character. As I recall the original outline was more plot-heavy, but I pared it back to allow the scenes to breath. The real conflict
in this episode is Warren having to come to terms with the fact that he’s a
We shot the AA scenes at the Oscar Romero Clinic near downtown Los Angeles. We shot the pilot presentation there as well, so it was cool returning a year later to shoot there again, in a sense completing the
episode we had begun.
Using the aformentioned scenes we shot from the presentation, we used it as a springboard to an episode about Warren’s relationship with Laura, his AA sponsor. Laura Kachergus has worked with us in the many
incarnations of our show, but this episode is my favorite collaboration by far.
Laura and I have known each other since we were kids, went to high school and
NYU together, so it’s pretty wild to be still working together after all these
years. She really nails it in this episode too. We feel like her looking into
the cameras and saying ‘you’re enabling him’ is the theme of the show –
probably of the entire genre if you think about it.
Another shout-out must go the always magnificent production design of Natasha Gerasimova…not only did she do a great job, she proved that you could give a fun party vibe to any
room, including one where AA meetings take place. In fact the room looks so
transformed that I added a shot from the hallway just to show that we were
indeed in the same location. It’s always a little maddening doing these kind of
shoots though, were you have all this awesome sushi and chocolate laying around
but you can’t touch it…torture.
New York stand-up comic and all-around cool guy Greg Barris played the coffee server…This bit with the coffee menu is something I dredged up from all the crappy jobs I’ve had in the past. Warren strikes me as the kind of
person who in planning a party, would turn into a high-maintenance soccer mom
with a little power. It’s fun to take the annoying qualities you meet in people
and put them into Warren.
Faye Reagan, adult movie star extraordinaire, played the dessert server. She was really cool and had a funny scene with Warren. Unfortunately, even with an episode as stark as this one, we end up having to
kill a lot of darlings. For instance, I had to cut an entire scene in Cecil’s
garage down to a few moments. Usually when you’re tortured by what to cut
though, it’s a good sign. Anyway, Faye’s scene with Warren was reduced to him
looking at her and saying ‘take of the top’ –lol. That’s showbiz!
We also worked with our buddy from the old NYC days, Steve Gevedon(Rodney). Steve originally played Greg the Bunny’s stalker in an episode of the IFC show. Since then he’s been a GTB/WTA player in the same way Laura
has, helping us out with parts ranging from cameo to hefty. He’s also in one of
my favorite movies about Brooklyn, “Smoke”.
So that’s ‘Support System’, an episode I’m definitely proud of and grateful for the always awesome collaborative efforts of our cast and crew. I felt like this episode was a challenge since it was small in scope, but Warren is such a wonderful character with more depth than a sock puppet should have (thanks to Dan) so I'm pleased but not surprised that people sometimes like seeing Warren struggling with his inner demons as opposed to the outside world. If you've read this far, thanks!
Spencer Chinoy, herr director.
Oh and for no reason at all, here's a pic i took w my phonecamera of the la brea tarpits