I sat down with Ned on a Saturday. He was feeling rough, having consumed something gnarly at a dinner party the night before in an incredibly storied Hollywood Hills house. Soon after this interview, he was struck with food poisoning. Ned’s a busy guy: his book, The Other Normals, comes out today, and the TV show he writes for with Nick Antosca, Last Resort, premieres in two days. He’s also working on a movie with Nick called Woogles, and writing a series of middle grade novels with Chris Columbus (of Harry Potter fame). And he’s a relatively new dad. Below is a transcript of our conversation, Ned drinking down gut-calming tea…
I’ve known you since you first came to LA, and I wanna know if there was any event in particular that coincided with you starting this book.
Yeah. There were two things about a decade apart. One was towards the end of high school. I was out with some friends, hanging out in the park. And I hung out with a lot of Russian kids in high school. And I had a shorter, more wily Russian friend, who’s in my first book. His name is Owen. I also had a taller, bigger, more militaristic—
A Dolph Lundgren?
In that vein. He ended up joining the military. He’s the person who told me that the US military still trains against the Russians, that when you’re doing an exercise in the military, you’re still—
Fighting the commies.
Yes. And I asked him why, and he said, “Because we’re the baddest motherfuckers around.” READ MORE >
Throughout the nineties and for the first half of the past decade, there were two dominant strains of sitcom: the blue-collar/white-collar family sitcom (Roseanne, Everybody Loves Raymond, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Frasier, etc.), and the five-or-so-friends-hanging-out-in-a-city sitcom (Seinfeld, Friends, Cheers, etc.). The former culminated and withered with the end of Everybody Loves Raymond–now most often reiterated ironically by The Simpsons (which was far ahead of its time in that respect) and Family Guy–while the latter still persists in a way, only disguised or retooled as the workplace sitcom (30 Rock, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Party Down), a formula which began in part with Murphy Brown and, in its current mode, with Scrubs and the British Office.