When you step back and then write your dialogue, you can write different characters with the same conviction, because there really isn’t a clear answer to the problem. An episode like “Twice in a Lifetime”, which is a completely fictional puzzle that would never happen, is a good example of this, because we created a totally imaginary moral dilemma that we then had to deal with. For me, these are the scripts that are the most fun to write, the ones where I am prevented from being a preacher by the very structure of what we have put in place.
If I may allow myself to be recorded, I will say that I don’t think I can ever forgive Mercer and Grayson for what they did to Malloy in “Twice in a Lifetime.” I just want Gordon to be happy at this point.
(Laughs) Here’s the interesting thing about it. You saw the life he had, but you didn’t see the life that she would have had. That’s the thing that I haven’t seen commented on enough is that the life Gordon had with [Laura] wasn’t any more real than the life she probably had in the previous timeline with that other guy. That, and the children Laura had, were probably as real as Gordon’s timeline. It’s all about perception. We are more attached to Gordon because we know him, and it is much easier to sympathize with someone we know than with a complete stranger.
Great point. Speaking of possible futures, Mercer took a step back this season, perhaps because you were directing more often. This has created some concern within The Orville community that since you are such a busy person and are currently producing multiple projects, you may need to focus on other projects. Whether The Orville could go on forever, but unfortunately that meant you couldn’t be a part of it, would you make that sacrifice for the show?
I mean, it’s hard. I’m not sure how that would work. I look at the stories that Mercer has had this season, [episodes] like “Gently Falling Rain”, which is a pretty intense story for him, and certainly in “Midnight Blue”, there were some significant moments for Ed, but I always saw this show as an ensemble piece. If a story itself suggests it should focus on one of our nine characters, it is the character who must carry this episode. There’s no math to that. I don’t go into detail to make sure Ed gets some screen time or Kelly gets some screen time. It’s just a little shaken up that way.
It’s one of the things I love about an ensemble show. It turns out that Ed was a little light this year. He was almost put into this “FDR position” where he sat and put his team and their respective expertise in the right place at the right time to accomplish a certain mission.