It's Always Sunny co-creator Rob McElhenney discusses the special quarantine episode of his Apple TV+ show Mythic Quest.
The entertainment landscape has drastically changed due to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Movie theaters have closed, many TV shows have seen their seasons cut short, and others have scrambled to complete episodes however they could. There has also been a rise in TV shows and specials filmed over video chat, whether it's the Parks and Recreation reunion or the season finale of the CBS series All Rise.
Mythic Quest, the Apple TV+ comedy, is expanding on that idea. The show's been renewed for a second season, but with the world on lockdown, they instead put together a special installment about life in quarantine. What's more, they did it incredibly quickly.
Speaking to GameSpot, series co-creator and star Rob McElhenney revealed the entire process, from approaching Apple for permission to having a finished product, took three weeks.
"We wrote it in about three days, give or take. And then we prepped," he said. "We prepped for about a week, then we shot for about a week, and then in [editing] was about a week-and-a-half, but overlapping. So the whole thing was three weeks."
While it may have been created in a short time frame, you can't tell from the quality of the story. Mythic Quest: Quarantine fits in well with the first season of the series, Raven's Banquet, and manages to include just about every major character introduced so far. What's more, it's as emotional and realistic as it is silly and over-the-top.
In the episode, everyone is dealing with being stuck at home in their own way, some better than others. One character in particular, Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao), is having a fair amount of difficulty adjusting to her new normal.
"We wanted to make sure that we were telling a story that felt organic and true to what Poppy's experience would or could be," McElhenney explained. "And that by telling the story, we were at worst, making people feel heard or seen, but at best, making people feel less alone. So anybody who's watching the episode hopefully feels that sense of community and ultimately triumph at the end."
The goal of the episode is to make those who decide to watch it smile. "Yes, It's just a silly comedy at the end of the day, but I think I hope that people can watch this and just feel good for at least 25 minutes," he said.
It could also serve as a template for future episodes, should production not be able to resume sometime in the near future. McElhenney admitted that during the creation of the episode, those involved hoped they'd never have to do this again. Hindsight has changed his mind, though.
"Since we finished and I'm so happy with it and so proud of it and it seems to be getting such an overwhelmingly positive response, and most importantly, it got our crew working for three weeks, which is great," he said. "And the truth is, I don't know when we're going back into the soundstages. I just don't. I mean, the initial plan was two weeks, and then it was a month, and then it was five months, and now we just don't know. So as this continues to extend, if this is a successful episode and we can find a way in which we can tell another story and the audience is there for it, I don't see why not."
The special quarantine episode of Mythic Quest will release on Apple TV+ on Friday, May 22. A second season of Mythic Quest has been ordered but has no release date.
And speaking of things you should be watching, consider listening to GameSpot's weekly TV series and movies-focused podcast, You Should Be Watching. With new episodes premiering every Wednesday, you can watch a video version of the podcast over on GameSpot Universe or listen to audio versions on Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and Apple Podcasts.
Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot's parent company