Chuck Lorre interview: ‘The Kominsky Method’ showrunner
“The Kominsky Method” will wrap up its run when its third and final season drops on Netflix on Friday, May 28 — an end that creator Chuck Lorre says was a mutual decision between him and the streaming giant.
“I don’t know that I was prepared to end the show, but after a lot of discussions with Netflix, they agreed we didn’t have an opportunity to bring the characters any kind of closure in the first two seasons,” Lorre tells Gold Derby at our Meet the Experts: Showrunners panel (watch above). “We didn’t anticipate a Season 2 in Season 1 and I wasn’t anticipating a Season 3 in Season 2. I was taking it one show at a time. And it felt like, especially not having Alan Arkin in the final season, this was an opportunity to bring Sandy, Michael Douglas’ character, to fruition. I can’t believe I said fruition.”
Lorre is obviously no stranger ending successful, award-winning shows, like “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory,” but those have been on network TV and ran a lot longer with a lot more episodes — both ran for 12 seasons with an average of 24 episodes a season. In contrast, “The Kominsky Method’s” first two seasons consisted of eight episodes each while the final one will have six. “You’re doing 24 shows a year in nine months. It’s exhausting, it’s debilitating, it causes illness and divorce. It’s really a backbreaking schedule,” Lorre says of broadcast TV. “This is more contained and the fact that the Netflix model of putting of putting all the shows on at once gives you an opportunity that I’ve never had before to unfold this thing like it was a book, as if they were chapters in a book. We did six episodes in this final season and even though they’re broken up into 30-minute segments … the story continues.”
The prolific producer also wrote much of “The Kominsky Method” himself, including the entire final season — a challenge he wanted to give himself after decades of working in writers’ rooms, where “scripts got better when exposed to really talented comedy writers, they got funnier, they got sharper.”
“I really wanted to do this myself to see if I could, to see if I had the ability to sit alone and work my way through the story problems and the character arcs on my own,” he explains. “When you start writing, you start writing alone and then when you’re thrown into television, you suddenly find yourself in a room full of people. And I wanted to go back to writing alone and see, first of all, just see if I could do it.”
Arkin departed the series in between seasons, and as the Season 3 trailer reveals, his character, Norman, has died. For Lorre, that was a logical way to write out Norman as the show has been about the friendship between Sandy and Norman in their twilight years. In Arkin’s absence, Kathleen Turner was upgraded to series regular after guest-starring last season as Roz, Sandy’s ex-wife.
“I really thought that the loss of Norman’s character would throw a spotlight on Sandy’s character. Give us an opportunity to explore how he continues without that life raft, that support system,” Lorre says. “What happened, wonderfully, was bringing in Kathleen Turner as his ex-wife with whom he had a bitter and angry divorce, and finding that the story became one of reconciliation. It’s certainly not a romantic love but a renewed affection for one another that was meaningful in their later years.”