Listening to the DVD Commentary for Spaced, ‘Ends’

Columentary (title sadly not pending) is a weekly feature, in which I’ll listen to the commentary track of a sitcom, and divulge, through pretty pictures and less pretty words, the behind-the-scenes secrets the creators, writers, and cast discuss about their show. If you’ve ever questioned why Roseanne had that Godzilla toy, this is for you.

Show: Spaced

Episode: “Ends” (S01E07)

Original Airdate: November 5, 1999

Episode Plot: Tim’s (Simon Pegg) ex-girlfriend is back, and Daisy (Jessica Stevenson) isn’t sure what to think. Mike (Nick Frost) also attempts to reenlist with the Territorial Army.

Players Involved: Edgar Wright, director, and Patton Oswalt, special guest

Oswalt, when discussing Ratatouille: “The movie did so well that I have to retire my own voice, for voiceovers. I can’t use it anymore. I have to do characters from now on. After Ratatouille, I got an offer from Burger King to do a radio campaign…and someone pointed out to me, ‘They want the rat from Ratatouille, the guy that loves gourmet food, to love Burger King.’ I had to turn it down.

Wright asked Oswalt to join him because, well, he’s a geek, too. Also: Jessica Stevenson loves Jackie Chan.

Oswalt loves the show not only because it’s nerdy without that getting in the way of the story, but also because “when you’re a geek” in his 20s, as Oswalt once was (and let’s face it, still is), Daisy is the girl you want. Wright largely attributes it to her voice. He also uses the word “companion,” which I’ll take as a Doctor Who reference.

Wright: “One of the many reasons we didn’t do a third series is because there was a point where we stopped…when we made this first series, we were the people. We were this age and we were kind of living like this. And then things change…and you’re suddenly not the characters anymore.” For his 30th birthday, he specifically requested for people to not buy him action figures.

This kid was not pleased to have to wear that mustache.

There are only seven episodes in Spaced’s first season, which is an odd figure. Oswalt asks whether British showrunners can pitch the numbers of episodes they want to do in a season. Wright responds, “Pretty much. Another network wanted to poach the show. So Channel Four, as a show of faith, instead of asking for a pilot, just commissioned the series. We were in a meeting and the commissioner at Channel Four,” who was basically trying to be hip, said to do seven episodes, not six. That was pretty much it.

Great out-of-context quote: “We did the zombie episode last because we were going to get blood all over the walls.”

Oswalt: “Oh, here’s a reference to Close Encounters. Remember when Richard Dreyfuss carries the alien out of the ship?”

“Simon has to do a lot of angsty scenes in pubs, I just realized. Angst and pubs to him are like rain and crying for John Cusack.”

Listening to the DVD Commentary for Spaced, ‘Ends’