[10/04/07 - 10:14 AM]
Interview: "Supernatural" Creator Eric Kripke
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Welcome to our second season of "On the Futon With...," a semi-weekly feature where I sit down and talk TV with some of my favorite people in the industry, all the while trying to give the impression I'm not some overgrown fanboy.

Our first wave of interviews this season come from our time spent at the San Diego Comic-Con this past summer. We hope you enjoy!

THIS WEEK'S GUEST: "Supernatural" creator Eric Kripke

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This interview was done as a roundtable with other reporters. Questions not asked by me are denoted as "Reporter" and paraphrased for time.]

Eric Kripke: I check your website all the time. We were supposed to talk at some point... but I had a baby. [Laughs.]

Brian Ford Sullivan: I know - what's up with that? [Laughs.]

EK: I know! [Laughs.] I had it and I have a video picture [digs out photo]. That's Jack.

BFS: Very nice.

EK: He was born on Sam's birthday in a very creepy, in a super creepy way. He was born on May 2 which is the birthday of my main character so I'm highly disturbed and troubled by that development. I didn't even realize it until about two months later. "Wait, wait is that Sam's birthday?" And I called my wife and we had this just chilling "Rosemary's Baby" moment. But he's doing great. And he's healthy and happy and very chubby and very sweet.

Reporter: Your wife's okay?

EK: My wife's great. Well we're worried because six months to the day after Sam's birthday - his mom was impaled and burst into flames on the ceiling, so... November 2 is going to be a tense day around the Kripke household. [Laughs.] But we're hoping for the best.

Reporter: So we noticed a bunch of episodes last season were named after a classic rock song or classic albums, how does that come about? Do you write the episode and then name it? Or do you take a song title and springboard from there?

EK: A lot of times we come up with the episode idea first and then pick the title later. Yeah, so a lot of titles last season and a lot of titles this season are going to be based on classic rock songs... and my own personal preference is Led Zeppelin songs because that's my obsession. [Laughs.] Is it that obvious?

Reporter: I could tell.

EK: It's like how many times on the show does Jensen have to say "Zeppelin rules?" And so no it's because we love that music and because classic rock is such a part of the show that it seemed natural to name a lot of titles after those songs. Our titles are much better in season two than in season one. Season one they're all one word like "Bugs" or "Scarecrow" or "Nightmare!" [Laughs.] And season two it's like "Houses of the Holy" and "What Is And What Should Never Be" and "Folsom Prison Blues!" We got a lot more relaxed about our titling.

Reporter: What's the hell is Sam's problem with Dean's music?

EK: [Laughs.] We have interesting debates about that all the time, about what Sam's music would be. I think Sam probably listens to, I hope Sam listens to whatever cool modern music is. I don't know any of them because I don't listen to anything after 1980. [Laughs.] So Green Day I guess? I don't know. Who's cool? Is Green Day cool these days? What are cool bands these days?

Reporter: Red Hot Chili Peppers.

EK: Red Hot Chili Peppers? Yeah, he listens to Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Reporter: Fall Out Boy.

EK: Yeah, Fall Out Boy. And maybe The Killers? But I am so a stranger in a strange land when it comes to those bands, that's why you never hear Sam's soundtrack because I don't know that music... All of my friends call me "Old Man Kripke" because I don't listen to a band past 1980. That's why Dean's music always wins out because I hate so much modern music that I can't bear to listen to it in the editing room.

Reporter: Can you talk a little about the pre-planned arc for season three and if it's different from what you intended all along?

EK: Yeah, you know we have a five year plan so it's in season six when things will get a little hinky - weddings and Raven Symone will join the cast and all that will happen in season six. [Laughs.] We have a five year plan that by design we keep huge gaping holes in the middle of it, because you just don't know how things are going to evolve. You pull up certain story elements and you push out other ones. For instance, the psychic kid storyline was supposed to go deep into season three but quite frankly I just got so sick of it that I was like, "I'm getting tired of these kids - you know that story we were going to do in the middle of season three? Let's do it in the finale and just wipe them all out." But certain things last longer, you know, because if certain things start playing, you start stretching them out in terms of conflicts between the boys, etc. But the general plan of the steps of this season - this season we go to war, next season we have an escalation in store - all those things, we're roughly keeping in line with.

BFS: Shows like "Heroes" and "Lost" have these giant elaborate mythologies while your show is very low to the ground - was that by design?

EK: Yeah, it's a personal preference of mine, my own taste. I think "Lost" is a terrific show but personally my own taste isn't to have endless mythology. Because the answers are never going to be satisfying at the end of the day, I promise you. It's so hard to go season after season after season with a mystery and then provide an answer that's going to be satisfying. So I was much more a fan of the early "X-Files" structure. I thought "Buffy" did it brilliantly. You know, the idea of one mythology a year. Or early "X-Files" which is mostly standalones interspersed within the mythology which I think is probably more our structure. And that just kind of works for me. I like for people to be able to join the party. I like to be able to plant someone in front of a TV and say, "Two dudes with chainsaws in their trunk fighting monsters - Go!" [Laughs.] And have them just get it, you know? Like I'm not into "Heroes," I want to be - but I missed it. So now I'm like intimidated to pick it up. And unless I pick up the entire first season DVD I'm out of the loop. We don't want viewers to feel like they're out of the loop. We want them to feel like they can join the party at any time. Not that those shows aren't great shows. It's just personal taste.

Reporter: So there will be less mythology in season three?

EK: The same amount as usual - three standalones in a row with a big mythology episode [after]. I think we have a simpler mythology in season three. My own personal backseat driving of the first three seasons or hindsight is a better word of the first three seasons is - first season we had a great mythology. It was a two word mythology - "find Dad." It was simple, it was emotional, it was clean and our standalones were a little hit and miss. Season two I'm very proud of our standalones. They were unique and structurally interesting and Ben [Edlund] came to the table and started doing the Hollywood episode. And we sort of found our legs. I thought the season two mythology I wasn't as happy with. It was a little too dense, a little too confusing, you needed a flow chart to understand it. "It's like here's all the psychic children and here's the yellow-eyed demon..." So we're trying to learn from that. We're trying to have the intensity of the standalones that we had in season two with a simple, pure, emotional mythology from season one and hopefully that will be season three. We're hoping it will be the best season yet.

  [october 2007]  


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