You know who is more in love with Lena Dunham than you are? Glee and American Horror Story boss Ryan Murphy. He submitted to the Vulture Showrunner Survey and pronounced the Girls star “lovely, amazing” more than a few times — read on and count how many shout-outs she gets. Also, find out which infamously offed L.A. Law star he’d like to resurrect and why.
What's the first TV show you remember being obsessed with?
All in the Family, in particular the episode where Edith was almost raped. I was obsessed with it because I remember at a very young age, my parents placed great importance on it for some reason. I think for them it was a show that was really talking about the world in which they lived, and they were very obsessed with it and never missed an episode, so I kind of got that through osmosis.
True or false: When I was growing up, the day the TV Guide "Fall Preview" issue came out was almost as good as the last day of school.
True. Loved it. It was big. My grandma used to get TV Guide, and I used to spend hours poring through it.
Which show would you like to do a crossover event with and why?
With American Horror Story, I would definitely like to do a crossover with Girls. That would be a delight. I would like to have Jessica Lange and Lena Dunham in the same scene talking bad dates. I think Jessica would then be spurred to then go murder all of Lena’s dates. And I would like Sue Sylvester to be in Game of Thrones. Those are my dreams. Jane Lynch would come up with really good heads to add to the George Bush collection.
If you could bring back any killed-off TV character for just one more episode, who would it be?
I was always obsessed with that character in L.A. Law who fell into the elevator shaft, Rosalind Shays. I was always just obsessed with how many floors she fell. I want her to come back and talk about what it’s like to fall through an elevator shaft and live. How do you survive that? I loved that death.
Finish this sentence: The hardest thing to pull off on a TV show is …
A season finale every year that feels like all of the threads of that season have been wrapped up or at least discussed. Heading toward the conclusion is a very important thing. Some seasons on both shows we’ve been better at it than others. With Horror Story, it’s very easy to do that because there’s a beginning, middle, and end. With Glee, it’s a little harder, but I loved our ending this year.
Which writers' room in all of TV history would you most like to have gotten to sit in on?
All in the Family.
Do time slots still matter? Explain.
With the launch of a show, I think lead-in does matter. I saw that with Horror Story, particularly in the beginning when you would look at the movies FX would show [before an episode]. If they were big box-office hits, there were just more eyeballs on the screen. So I think in the beginning of the life of a show, it helps. But the ratings system as a whole is so antiquated.
Pick one character from your show; which reality show would (s)he be most suited for, and why?
I would love to see Jane Lynch and Jessica Lange on Mob Wives. I love Mob Wives. And I would love to see Lea Michele on one of the Housewives shows as one of their friends. She could record with Kandi [on The Real Housewives of Atlanta].
Which character do you wish you had created?
The first one that comes to mind is Hannah on Girls. That show to me fits the real description of “never judge a show by its pilot” — and I’m only basing this on the discussions that have happened in my writers' rooms, because I loved that show unapologetically from the beginning — but a lot of people in my life were like, “I don’t like her, she’s so unsympathetic, she’s so spoiled,” and now by the tenth episode they’re completely in and will follow her anywhere. I think she’s lovely and amazing and sympathetic and I just love the fact that it seemed like that character and that show were created in a “I don’t give a fuck” vacuum and I love that about it. It was just unapologetically true to who she was and who she wanted to be, PC be damned.
What was the biggest creative misstep you ever saw made by a show you love?
I would never answer that. No comment.
If you could let your kids watch a single episode of your work, which one would it be and why?
The one that comes to mind is the “Preggers” episode from Glee, where Kurt joins the football team, because I think that episode is about acceptance and tolerance and love, as sickening as that sounds. I was very proud of that and the reaction to it was so strong. I also love the episode this season, “The First Time,” about the gay couple and the straight couple losing their virginity in a very sweet way. That one was good.