“All he wants is to seem like a normal-ass American boy,” reveals Nasim Pedrad about the eponymous protagonist of her new sitcom “Chad” on TBS. She continues in her exclusive interview with Gold Derby (watch the video above), “He gets his ass handed to him in every episode and a lot of where the comedy comes from is that he doesn’t lose hope that tomorrow could be different.”
Pedrad explains, “This is a character study. Chad gets in his own way more than anyone. This isn’t a show about a kid who’s bullied by people. Actually, the student body is pretty tolerant and accepting of him. They just find him somewhat unremarkable, which somehow to him is even worse, but he’s his own worst enemy. He’s so desperate to be cool; that’s what makes him not cool and it’s a self-fulfilling process.”
Pedrad is the creator, executive producer, head writer, showrunner and star of the show, playing 14-year-old Chad himself. It is a performance reminiscent of Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle playing 13-year-olds in “PEN15,” despite those hyphenates also being in their 30s. Although “Chad” premiered only last month, its development predates the 2019 premiere of “PEN15” on Hulu by years. Pedrad muses, “It’s really cool that what started with a firm ‘no’ when I began this process — now there are two shows that are finding audiences and (for lack of a better term) working and being able to exist, even though the idea might have felt a little weird or scary a few years back.”
Considering how the show evolved over its development, Pedrad notes that she had to recast the child actors since the 2016 pilot for Fox. “Now that it lives in a more cable space, I can creatively get away with a lot more,” explains Pedrad before adding, “Episodes don’t have to end with a tidy little bow.”
“Chad” has been a ratings hit for TBS and will wrap the eight-episode broadcast of its first season this month, as Pedrad returns to the writers’ room to begin work on the proposed second season. She teases, “By the time we get to the finale, it’s ‘be careful what you wish for’ because he does experience popularity, but not for the right reasons and the cliffhanger has to do with the audience knowing that and wondering, ‘When will the other shoe drop’?”
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