‘Where the Bears Are’ Returns for Second Season
From the writers of The Golden Girls and Murder She Wrote, (Rick Copp, Joe Dietl, and Ben Zook) comes a web series that blends mystery and comedy called Where The Bears Are. Where The Bears are centers on a subculture within the LGBT community known as bear (a large, hairy man who projects an image of rugged manliness). Taking place in Los Angeles, the series focuses on three gay bear roommates named Nelson (Zook), Wood (Dietl), and Reggie (Copp). The three find their friendship with each other getting a little crazier after discovering the body of a naked man in their bathtub after Nelson’s birthday party. The web series is filled with quirk, laughs, and sex appeal as the roommates try to figure out how the man was murdered as well as who did it!
Take a look at the Season 2 trailor here:
Due to the success of the first season, Where The Bears Are will revisit the web with a second season set to premiere June 10th, 2013. Season two will feature another who-done-it story with the same eccentric cast involving the mysterious death of of a close friend who pops up dead during a political fundraiser. The second season of Where The Bears Are will also have guest appearances by Margaret Cho, Becky Thyre (WEEDS), and Chris Lovoie (The Stephanie Miller Show).
Writer Rick Copp has been in touch with Gay RVA and has been kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
Why do you feel it’s important to highlight this particular sub culture?
Rick Copp: As a writer, one of the first things you learn is “Write what you know” and the bear culture is something all three of us, me, Ben and Joe have been a part of for years. We all initially identified with it because “bears” don’t necessarily fit into the stereotype of what a lot of people picture when they think “gay men.” I personally love the bear community because it upends expectations. And it reinforces the fact that gay men come in all shapes, sizes and colors. When we decided to do a web series, we were having cocktails in my hot tub in Palm Springs, and we knew we wanted to do a show about bears for the community, never expecting it to take off like it did. It wasn’t a conscious decision to highlight the bear culture for a larger audience. That wasn’t our goal. We just wanted to do something bears could identify with and laugh at. But we’re thrilled at the reception outside the community.
As a straight woman, I find this show hilarious – was it a goal of yours to cater to a large audience?
Ben and I write the show and Joe directs, and we’ve all been in the TV and film industry for years so I think it was a natural instinct for us to produce something accessible. I was a writer on THE GOLDEN GIRLS years ago when I was in my mid-twenties, and Ben is a huge fan and owns all the DVDs so once we decided the three of us were going to star in it, it was a no-brainer to develop the characters using THE GOLDEN GIRLS as inspirations. We had the Dorothy (Nelson), Blanche (Reggie) and Rose (Wood). Hot Toddy is back for a second season and he moves in with us so we call him the “Hot Sophia.” I’m also a mystery novelist in my second career so I knew from the get go I wanted to tell a murder mystery with each episode serving as a chapter. I think that worked for us because not only did the comedy draw people in but also the audience wanted to know who killed the party guest in our bathtub. When we described the show as THE GOLDEN GIRLS meets MURDER SHE WROTE that pretty much opened up the possibilities for a wider audience.
Why did you wish to make Where The Bears Are a comedy?
Ben and Joe are both accomplished comedic actors. Ben co-founded the famous Annoyance Theatre in Chicago which did THE REAL LIVE BRADY BUNCH on stage around the country and Joe is the go-to guy for the funny regular joe in a host of national commercials. Ben also write the Adam Sandler comedy JACK AND JILL a couple of years ago. I got my start writing for situation comedies like THE GOLDEN GIRLS, WINGS & DREAM ON and I also co-wrote THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE so comedy is in our blood and there was never a thought of doing something other than a comedy. It’s in our DNA.
What type of feedback have you gotten from your show from the public and the media?
Everyone has been so receptive. It’s very exciting and humbling at the same time. We had no idea how people were going to feel about the show. We were so busy shooting and editing the first season we never had time to stop and think, “What if people hate it?” Ben did a remarkable job of contacting every gay magazine in the country and most were more than happy to write about our show. We put the trailer out a month before our premiere and that went a long way in helping promote our show as it got passed around. But when The Huffington Post did a piece on us, we got the feeling we had crossed over to some degree and then we started building from there. As for the public, ninety-nine percent of the response has been overwhelmingly positive and we’ve been listening to their comments as well. A lot of people wanted longer episodes so this season, we’ve expanded the length but are still keeping the format which worked for us which are chapters that tell one whodunit story.
Do you think the show will break away from the internet and migrate towards television?
We have no idea. That would be great. But in this day and age, it seems the internet is so powerful, the migration is in the opposite direction. Television is heading to the internet. The whole point of us doing this is because no one can say no to us. All of us have been working in the television and film industry for decades now, and we were so frustrated by networks and studios saying no to us. Last summer, right as WTBA was hitting the internet, I pitched a one hour detective comedy to all the networks, NBC, CBS, TNT, USA, among others. Everyone loved the idea and yet no one bought it for internal reasons. I realized at that point it was better to be in control of your own destiny. And this show is living proof of that. We self-financed the entire series so we own it outright we don’t have any creative executives telling us to change this joke or cut that scene. The success or failure of the show rests solely on us. A cable network picking up WHERE THE BEARS ARE would certainly be exciting, but the show is already reaching a worldwide audience on the web.
Is there anything about the show or yourself as well as the cast and other writers that you’d like to share with us?
Just that it takes a lot of other people to make this show. The three of us get a lot of the credit but we relied on dozens of wonderfully professional and talented people to help us finish seasons one and two from our award winning composer David Maddox, our incredible editor Eduardo Aquino, our web designer Sam Kite, our graphics artist Steve Kirklys, our sound editor, our tireless crew and of course the actors, Ian Parks, who we found on Craig’s List, Chad Sanders, and so many others. All of them worked pretty much unpaid the first season so we feel lucky because of our DVD and merchandise sales, we were able to pay everybody this season. People liked the idea that we were doing this show for ourselves with no outside help so they jumped on board and we are so grateful for that.
How does it feel to be working on a show that is seemingly a first of its kind?
Actually we were surprised at how many other gay web series are out there so we never considered ourselves a first of its kind. Also a very gifted director Doug Langway had already done a movie called BEAR CITY and was already prepping for the release of BEAR CITY 2 when we started our show and there were also a couple of well received “Bear” feature films out of Spain, which I like to call ground zero for the bear scene because they have so many handsome bears there. So we just thought we were jumping on the bandwagon doing a show about the bear community and we were just happy to be in such good company.
Where The Bears Are, a new comedy mystery web series, debuts Aug. 1.July 19, 2012
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