October Road Producers Talk to MediaVillage about Episodes 5 and 6

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Cover image for  article: October Road Producers Talk to MediaVillage about Episodes 5 and 6



Originally Published April 10, 2007

I've already declared October Road as the best new show. Some speculated on how well the show could do, but the-best-new-show-that-could trumped all its critics, now that ABC has decided to air the two remaining completed episodes (April 19 and 26).

Prior to viewing episodes five and six, I loved October Road. Now that I've watched those final two episodes, all I can say is OH MY GOD, THEY ARE UNBELIEVABLE. Incredible. Fascinating. Awesome. Intriguing. Engaging. Amazing. Perfect.

You know how episode one was good, episode two was better, episode three was great, and episode four was the massive cliffhanger that kept you wanting more? Well episodes five and six are the best two episodes ever. They will draw out every one of your emotions, and have you sitting on the edge of your couch, needing to know what happens to each of the characters. So many moments made me want to cry, and so many other moments made me want to laugh. I love this show. I love the characters. I love the story. I love October Road. I guess you could even say that October Road "rocks the stadium of my heart."

Okay, now that I've gotten that out, let's get to my interview with the October Road executive producers and writers. At the time of the interview, ABC had not yet made the decision to air episodes five and six. When I asked these three talented men, Scott Rosenberg, Josh Appelbaum, and André Nemec, how they felt about this, Scott so brilliantly said, "I'll tell you exactly how we feel. We feel exactly like Anne Heche did 6 weeks ago," referring to the fact that October Road initially took the Men in Trees timeslot.

ABC never showed October Road at last year's upfront. The future for the show seemed dim. Then they got a six episode order. And then they got the timeslot after Grey's Anatomy. "It's been the most insane rollercoaster ride. We were kind of this humble little show and then to premiere to the numbers we did, it defied ours and ABC's expectations," Josh said.

Scott added, "It's been a rollercoaster ride on an asteroid having an earthquake. I literally woke up this morning and went into the bathroom and I went, 'How did Peter O'Toole get into this bathroom?'"

The October Road show runners constantly crack jokes, which might be surprising when their show is so dramatic. You'd expect them to constantly be introspective and emotional. Of course, they're not. Which is another reason the show is great: the people behind October Road are real.

Let's go over all the attributes that make October Road such a spectacular show.

Is Nick Sam's father? Of course, Scott, Josh, and André won't reveal the answer. Interestingly, they will say they've made the conscious decision not to tell Laura Prepon the answer. Makes you wonder, does Hannah herself not know who the father is? Bryan Greenberg, who plays Nick, also does not know the answer, which aids his acting since Nick doesn't know as well. I can say this, there will be a revelation regarding this issue at the end of episode six that will throw you for a loop. So good!

Why did Nick leave? In my interview with Bryan Greenberg, he explained, "What I chalk it up to is his mom died. He was 17. He didn't know how to deal with that. He took off."

When I asked Scott, Josh, and André this question, silence took over. Then Josh said, "Look at all of us clamoring to answer." And Scott fabricated, "I was away from the phone. I was coughing."

Finally Scott answered, "A lot of people have had issue with it even when we were testing the pilot originally. We always said we'll answer it, we'll answer it. And in Six he goes a long way to answering it... A lot of it did have to do with his mother and his mother's passing, and how the whole place does remind him of her and when he left all of it got easier. He embraced that. He admits the fact he was young and dumb and weak and all of that... It was just easier... Once you put a few months between you and another person, it gets harder and harder to reach out."

Why didn't Nick's brother and/or father tell him Hannah had a child? Josh answered, "We sort of address it in the pilot with Ronnie. I think once he was gone, I don't feel like it was the kind of news you drop over the phone."

Scott added, "It's a little bit of a narrative 'huh?' But that's the different between TV and movies. In TV, in the perfect world, you get lots and lots of time... We haven't even scratched the surface of the father son relationship."

Hannah and Nick. According to Josh, episode five pretty much takes place in one long night in the hospital... There's some scenes between Nick and Hannah. They kind of, for the first time, have it out emotionally and she's asking, 'How could you have left? How could you have abandoned me for all those years?'... To have the walls come down and have Nick and Hannah bare their souls to one another, it felt kind of cathartic that finally they're able to say things they weren't able to say."

André said, "In episode six, Nick and Sam have a scene. Their relationship is going back and forth and it's undefined. They arrive at a really beautiful place in episode six."

The air guitar scenes. When Bryan Greenberg first heard that he'd be playing guitar on a tennis racket, he questioned the writers. He thought Nick was supposed to be a real guy, and he knew no one who'd do that. That's when the room went silent and everyone looked over at Scott Rosenberg.

"We did that. We did that for years and years and years, even after high school. We did it a little different than these guys since we're on ABC TV, so you don't see the bottle of Jack Daniels and the bong. But we had tennis rackets and mic stands that we stole, and we'd go to people's basements and rock out and have fun," Scott admitted.

At first Greenberg was hesitant during the scenes. In season six, there's an entire scene shot around one of those jam sessions. "By this one he's a full on maniac. It's fantastic," Scott said of Greenberg.

The soundtrack. Each song perfectly fits the story. Laura Prepon, who plays Hannah on the show, said that Scott "would put the song on and write to the music. He'd specifically put in the script 'This song is playing in this scene.'"

Scott said, "More so, the songs are ones we truly like. The way we work is the song can literally inform a scene... We gave the cast these iPod Nanos with 1,000 songs on them before we even started shooting at our kickoff dinner. They were all these songs we culled together we thought were the vibe of the show. Our hope and dream is that we get to exhaust every song on the Nano."

How much is the show like these writers' lives? "Scott has at least four illegitimate children back in his room," Josh joked. "And there's never been a pizza delivery person Josh hasn't tried to get with," Scott shot back.

All jokes aside, the premise of October Road is based on Scott's life after he wrote the movie Beautiful Girls. "That was always sort of the jumping point. I wrote Beautiful Girls. It was based on a lot of my friends growing up... Everyone was real excited about it at first and then when the glow wore off they felt a bit exposed. I'm great friends with all of them now, but there were a few months there that it was really uncomfortable."

October Road is comprised of so many great elements, that the possibilities for storylines are endless. Don't miss the next two episodes, on April 19 and 26. As soon as they end, you'll instantly be craving more.

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