Given how much attention Suburgatory showrunner and creator Emily Kapnek has paid to the smallest details on her hit ABC comedy (like the mural of Founding Mothers), it's no surprise that she would offer up a very impressive array of Gen X pop culture references in her answers to Vulture's Emmy-timed Showrunner Survey. Wonder what The Big Ragu, Aunt Viv and Alf all have in common? Read on.
What's the first TV show you remember being obsessed with?
The Muppet Show. You could take away dessert, you could say no play-dates. But nothing cut as deep as "No Muppets." My mom used it like a weapon. We had to be showered and in our nightgowns if we wanted to watch.
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.
False, Joe. I was a normal child.
Which show would you like to do a crossover event with and why?
Medium? The Wire? I'm answering this question as Malik.
Do time slots still matter? Explain.
More and more viewers are programming their own television schedules, watching what they want to watch when they want to watch it. But I think time slots do still matter. The flow of a great evening enhances the viewing experience. And your time slot plays a creative role in establishing what you can and can't do. Eight o'clock shows differ from 9 p.m. shows.
Pick one character from your show; which reality show would (s)he be most suited for, and why?
I'd like to see Sheila Shay on Basketball Wives.
Which character do you wish you had created?
Carmine Ragusa or "The Big Ragu." Actually, I just wish I was responsible for naming him.
What was the biggest creative misstep you ever saw made by a show you love?
I gotta say the whole Aunt Viv thing really fucked my head up.
If you could let your kids watch a single episode of your work, which one would it be and why?
I would be happy if they watched any of my work ...
Which writers' room in all of TV history would you most like to have gotten to sit in on?
SNL, circa 1976. I was four, though. It would have been weird.
Finish this sentence: The hardest thing to pull off on a TV show is ...
Alf. But they did it, though. They did it.