NBC’s ‘A To Z’ Covers The Alphabet Of Issues At TCA

Faced with a series title like A to Z, it’s no surprise TV journalists were like dogs chewing a bone at today’s TCA panel on the show, demanding that producers and cast of the new NBC comedy series reveal whether the show will be done in one season.

No, EPs Rashida Jones, Ben Queen and Will McCormack explained patiently. The idea is that each season will complete a phase in the relationship of new couple Andrew (Ben Feldman) and Zelda (Cristin Milioti).  No, the title doesn’t mean each season will feature a new couple.

A to Z NBC Show Cafe dog scene“Yeah, just like American Horror Story”— that’s not what we’re doing,” joked Queen.

Queen quipped that the show might be like the Polish alphabet (“I think it has like 4 or 5 z’s”)  but said the title reflects a desire to explore the development of a relationship rather than the will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic of many romantic comedies.  The A to Z refers to chapters, not a whole book you could read in one go.

Queen, writer of the Pixar animated film Cars 2, said he learned a valuable lesson from Pixar chief John Lasseter: “Take the time, do the work to make the audience care about your characters in the first act.”

Speaking of maintaining appealing characters through various life phases, Jones revealed that discussions have taken place about revisiting the pair from the 2012 movie Celeste & Jesse Forever, starring Jones and Andy Samberg as a divorcing couple. “We’ve talked about taking some Richard Linklater cues, revisiting those people at other points in their lives,” she said.

One cast member would  definitely love to see the series continue past one season:  Henry Zebrowski, who plays what one questioner called the “bearded best-friend role” that seems to be staple in today’s rom-coms.

“Thank you, Seth Rogen!”  Zebrowski crowed. “The thing about the famous beards of history — Paul Bunyan, the Bounty guy — powerful beards create a mystery about the chin.” The actor added that he’s been offered  “every part where the body is described as a duffel bag. This (role’s casting) said ‘handsome,’ so I was flattered.”

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