Meredith Scardino (‘Girls5eva’ creator’): ‘We wanted emotion despite the joke-splosion’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“It is the craziest thing to have a dumb idea, that I had in this silent writing space, and for it to be real,” admits “Girls5eva” creator Meredith Scardino. For our recent webchat, she continues, “The whole thing is mind-blowing. That to me has been the most joyful thing. I just pinch myself that I get to make things like this.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

“Girls5eva” is a new comedy series streaming on Peacock produced by “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. Scardino, who won four Emmys for writing on “The Colbert Report,” was also a writer on “Kimmy.” The series stars Sara Bareilles, Busy Philipps, Paula Pell and Renee Elise Goldsberry as a one-hit girls group from the 90s (called ‘Girls5eva’). In the first season, the girls reunite to launch a career comeback. It combines sharp dialog with absurd musical numbers and fun 90s flashbacks.

On writing the show Scardino confesses, “I love jokes. I want to cram them wherever I can cram them. Like when you try to re-stuff a sleeping bag back into its little tube. That’s how I am with scripts and the way I think about jokes. If there is a moving company that needs a name, we’ll give it a joke name like, ‘Deliverance: Not Movie.’”

The writer reveals, “It was important, and Tina was particularly good at keeping an eye on this, making sure you care about these people, making sure it doesn’t just feel like a joke factory; that it’s rooted in character and story. Hopefully you see these people, despite the fact they are rattling off a million jokes a second. And these actors are just so good at cornering those turns and making these people empathetic. It is a hard balance. We set out thinking we wanted to give moments of heart and emotion despite the joke-splosion. When they sing ‘4 Stars’ on stage, after seeing them grapple with that, it hits me every time.”

Music features a lot more heavily on the series that Scardino first imagined. She explains, “To seem do-able, I thought I could approach it the way you see sketch comedy on ‘30 Rock.’ It’s kind of in the background; you might catch a part here and there, but you don’t have to live in it. Once we got going and we got this cast, you want to live in the music a little bit more. One of the things that was so fun after the season completed was we ended up doing an album. We took a song that was featured in each episode and blew it out into a full-size track.”

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