I've been on Team We Need Girlfriends since day 1. In fact, here's the proof. Back in November, no one could've predicted the magnitude of WNG's success, but I was banking on the boys from Ragtag. Why? I knew that they always rock it. How do I know? Well, it just so happens that Team Ragtag, otherwise known as Angel Acevedo, Brian Amyot and Steve Tsapelas, happen to be three of my best friends from college.
Some of my fondest memories (or hazy flashbacks) of academia involve these three guys. First time I saw Super Troopers? In Brian and Angel's room on a VHS promotional copy that Steve bought. My greatest movie sneak-in of all time? Not Another Teen Movie->Ocean's 11->Vanilla Sky at the United Artists in Westbury with Team Ragtag. The countless Diner runs, the killer parties and, my favorite collegiate story ever, the aforementioned (aforlinked? Think about it, Oxford English Dictionary) Halloween Blackout of '02 all involve these dudes.
Naturally, I know a lot of things about Brian, Angel and Steve. I know that Steve hates Michael Ian Black, Brian was once flipped off by Kirsten Dunst and Angel partly fulfilled a lifelong dream by working as a counselor at a summer camp (I say partially because there were no slashers abound). Why does this matter? Well, there are now thousands of We Need Girlfriend fans who don't know stupid shit like that. Here's your opportunity to find out.
For the next three days I'll be posting an exclusive interview with a We Need Girlfriends mastermind, leading up to the premiere of Episode 9 on the 1st, so remember to check back here!
Fun Facts: Steve was always the writer and is always writing. We bonded over our love for Weezer. Steve and I co-wrote the greatest 30 second long movie in the history of time. It's called "Wuss Fight Club" and is about exactly what it sounds like. Every time I talk to Steve we think of a new script idea, among them "Israel's 11" and "Quantum Drunk". They both exist in my dreams. I never wrote Steve up when I was an RA in his building. That could be related to the fact that he introduced me to 'Scott Tenorman Must Die'. The man has great Away Messages.
Jeff: OK, so it's no secret that Tom, Rod and Henry are loosely based on You, Brian and Angel. What percentage of WNG happenings would you say actually occurred to you three?
Steve: Much of what happens on the show is based on our real lives, in some form or another. To cite specific incidents – I went to a blue party. I spent a weekend watching a “Three’s Company” marathon and lost all touch with reality. I received a letter from my 8th grade self in the mail, which asked me about The X-Files and Star Trek: Voyager. We overuse the term “squirrel.”
We have very intense, competitive game nights and so on and so forth. Of course, things are dramatized and changed. But I’d say the most realistic aspect, for me, is the dynamic between the characters and the way they interact with each other. I lift a lot of bits of dialogue from real life. For instance, Angel once said, “I’m the bomb at Jenga.”
Jeff: Take us through your writing process.
Steve: By now, each character kind of has their own storyline, so it’s a matter of naturally progressing their storylines. Sometimes, as in the episode “Game Night,” we said, “We should do an episode where they have a game night” and I worked that into the Rod/Tom Squirrel War. So, after the initial idea I’ll write an incredibly rough draft, then send it off to Brian and Angel. They’ll send me back their comments, and I’ll work through the draft again.
This happens many, many times. I’ll write about 3 or 4 drafts, then send it off to the actors for their opinions. Evan Bass is great because he has somehow inhabited the character of Rod for the past year and after he reads a draft he’ll ask me things like, “Do you think Rod would say this?” All of the feedback is incredibly helpful in determining what works and what doesn’t work. And even on set sometimes, we’ll play with a scene and rework some of the dialogue to make it sound more natural.
Jeff: Writer to (News)writer, I'm looking for a better way to write "Fire officials are still investigating the cause of the blaze"? I'm really sick of writing that. Any ideas?
Steve: “Hasselhoff starts fire.”
Jeff: Tom, Rod and Henry obviously met in college. Are we going to see some of their college days, flashback style? Additionally, how much do I have to pay to get myself personified in WNG?
Steve: Gosh, I would love nothing more than to show a college flashback. That was one of the earliest ideas we discussed. I’m also kind of toying with the idea of having an episode where Tom helps his sister move into college, which gives Rod and Henry the idea that they should crash a college party. And believe me, Hef Israel needs to make an appearance.
Jeff: Where do you see the guys in the 10 years?
Steve: I’m still kind of working towards that. The characters are obviously reflections of ourselves, so as we grow, I think the characters will grow. We did, however, set up that in three years Rod has made something of himself. I hope we can make it that long.
Jeff: We know from your L.A. blogs that the L.A. trip was successful. If a Hollywood move is imminent, who plays who in Entourage amongst You, Brian and Angel?
Steve: Apparently, I’m Turtle by default. This is according to Brian. You see Angel, with his inflated sense of self-worth and problems distinguishing fantasy from reality is Johnny Drama. Brian, with his level-headed-ness, is Eric. And me, with my short, stocky stature and constant give and take with Angel am Turtle. I guess that makes one of our actors Vincent Chase.
Jeff: In your wildest dreams, who would you like to write for?
Steve: My two favorite shows right now are “The Office” and “30 Rock.” Getting a chance to work on either of those would be beyond great. And, of course like any kid who grows up a comedy fan, writing for “Saturday Night Live” or “The Simpsons” would be something else. Ultimately though, I’d love to get “We Need Girlfriends” on television.
Jeff: What will we NOT be seeing in an episode of WNG?
Steve: You will NOT see the characters succeed without great amounts of incredible failure first.
- Check back tomorrow (Friday the 29th) for another exclusive interview.
- Comments are always appreciated. Ask a question, who knows, maybe Brian Steve or Angel will answer that, OR maybe I'll answer it for them!
- Check out all things WNG on their website