Mike White on his brilliant HBO series Enlightened
It’s funny, when we turned in the pilot, Mike Lombardo, the head of HBO, said, “It’s not really a comedy, is it?” And I was like, “Well, it’s definitely more dramatic than your comedies.” And he said, “It’s more dramatic than our dramas.”
Sometimes when you write something on the page, it can seem very funny, but when you act it out—and this happens to me a lot, actually—the melancholy of the situation becomes more front and center.
I enjoy things, both as a viewer and in making stuff, that is tonally in the margins, where some people come away saying, “Oh, that was so sad,” whereas others say, “That was so funny.” It’s fun as a creator to make something that allows multiple interpretations. It’s usually difficult to get that kind of thing made, because people want their comedies big and funny or they want their dramas to be operatic with lots of big plot turns. To do something that people don’t know how to take is more challenging.
Here’s more of the interview in Interview.