Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television Season 2

YouTube original shows got a lot more publicity after Cobra Kai became the streaming platform’s big hit. The Karate Kid sequel series led to more high profile shows like Impulse, Origin, Wayne, and the upcoming Weird City from Jordan Peele. It also helped an earlier YouTube series, Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes On Television, get a second season.

Ryan Hansen plays a caricature of himself, paired with a real cop (Samira Wiley in season 1, Wood Harris in season 2), while he’s still auditioning for acting roles in a Hamilton movie or Black Panther musical. Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes On Television breaks all the rules of narrative storytelling. Hansen records vertical selfie videos, breaks the fourth wall frequently, closes each episode on a three camera sitcom set with his “family,” and has tons of celebrity cameos. Dodgeball creator Rawson Marshall Thurber created Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television.

Season 1 is now free on YouTube to encourage people to get in on the joke. Thurber and Hansen spoke with /Film by phone about the new tricks in store for season 2, including a fake Party Down reboot called Party Up, and more cameos including Jillian Bell as a rival actor crime solver. Season 2 premieres Wednesday, January 30 on YouTube Premium.

Was having nine to 16 bodies per episode too unfeasible to continue that gag?

Thurber: Yeah, that was one of the first things that I nixed in the writers room for season two. I’m like, it was fun while it lasted but it just hamstrings you so much. I thought about it for a long minute and then I just said let’s not. We have other fish to fry and other problems to solve. Let’s let that go. In its place, we obviously put in a serialized element.

What was the decision to give up the revolving Captain Jacksons?

Thurber: Well, I think that went along the lines of stacking up of dead bodies. I think we just wanted something fresh for season two. Then when we were talking about, in the writers room, who the new captain could be, and someone smarter than me said, “Oh, what if the captain was a former network executive?” We all jumped on that idea immediately. I said, “All right, that’s the voice. Former network executive.” And all the writers of course have had those meetings. The tone for Captain Lade’e was exactly right. Then, Beau Beauman, our fantastic producer/showrunner said, “What about Jessica St. Clair” and I leapt out of my chair, like, “Oh my God, do you think she’ll do it?” She said yes and those are literally my favorite scenes in all of season two. Any scenes with Ryan and Jessica St. Clair together, I can’t stop laughing. She’s an absolute genius and I wish she was in everything. Her scenes with Ryan, especially the final episode stuff, I don’t think I’ve ever directed anything funnier.

Did any of the Party Up joke come from actual ideas for Party Down?

Thurber: I don’t think so. I’m a huge Party Down fan. We just loved Party Down and we hope there’s a reboot. I hope they bring the band back together. What an incredible cast, but no, we just made it up and then I begged for forgiveness from Dan Etheridge.

Hansen: I think they tried to put something together a year or two ago. It just didn’t happen. I don’t know any specific ideas. I think they were maybe going to do a movie and I don’t know. I’m making things up now. I don’t know.

Did you toy with different scenes from the Hamilton movie?

Thurber: Yeah, I knocked around a couple different ideas but then I settled on the most ridiculous I could think of with Joel McHale. I got a chance to go see Hamilton with the original cast on Broadway and I just fell in love with it and decided to make fun of it in season one and the beginning of season two, because I love it.

Did you have to shoot around “Mark Wahlberg” to focus on Joel McHale in those scenes?

Thurber: Fred, that’s a very astute observation, yes. No Mark Wahlbergs were harmed in the making of Ryan Hansen.

Have you both embraced that Cobra Kai is what kept you on YouTube Premium?

Thurber: We don’t know what kept us on. I think somebody must’ve lost a bet somewhere and that’s how we got season two. But Cobra Kai, boy, that is a fantastic show and everyone should watch it.

There are a lot of Cobra Kai jokes this season.

Thurber: We couldn’t help ourselves. Those are two of my friends. Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, I’ve known those guys forever so it was fun to continuously give them a shoutout, and I think it’s appropriate for Ryan Hansen to be the forgotten stepchild in the relationship.

How many unused asterisk jokes from the title screen do you have in the bank?

Thurber: I think dozens, absolutely dozens. Those are some of my favorite little Easter egg jokes that we have in the show. So yeah, we have dozens of them. I don’t imagine we’ll ever get a chance to use them. If we do, we are prepared.

No offense, Ryan, but could you also produce Jillian Bell Solves Crimes On Television please?

Hansen: I know, she is so good and I was so happy that she was able to come and jump on our show because she’s a genius. I would watch that. Rawson?

Thurber: Me too.

Ryan, do you just have amazing self-esteem to be this self-deprecating?

Hansen: No, no, I don’t. I cry after every day of filming. When Rawson pitched this show to me, he’s like, “I hope you take this the right way It’s a love letter.” I read it and I totally get it and it is the most fun, funnest thing ever. Yeah, I do have pretty good self-esteem, thank you so much.

What were the decisions to be as topical as to call out the outted sexual predators and talk about inclusions riders and the pay gap?

Thurber: Well, that was something that came up in the writers room. We just felt like Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television has to take a political stand. Otherwise, what are we doing? Of course, I’m kidding but wanted to add our voice into the MeToo movement and to what’s going on in Hollywood in a way that didn’t feel like we were overreaching. We know we’re a comedy show. We know we’re a silly little show on YouTube that nobody watches, but we wanted to lend our voice to that discussion in a way that tonally felt right for our show. We did our best with that. We didn’t try to make a meal out of it but we had fun with the runner and I hope it works.

But you definitely took sides, right?

Thurber: I think that’s pretty clear.

Did you ADR the line about the Party of Five reboot because that just got announced?

Thurber: That’s a good question. No.

Hansen: I don’t think we did. We just named every show is getting a reboot.

One of the revivals that is happening is Veronica Mars. Where has Dick Casablancas been since the movie?

Hansen: I finished my little bit last week. I’m out here working in Fiji right now. I know, feel bad for me. So yeah, eight episodes on Hulu. I think it’s so cool to be back. It’s the greatest. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, for sure.

You said it’s just a little bit on this season?

Hansen: For me, yeah. I’m in a few episodes, yeah.

Characters frequently point out the inconsistent rules of the meta comedy of Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television. I think we vibe because I actually want movies and TV shows to make less sense. Is that the appeal of this show?

Thurber: I think what’s sort of fun about the premise of the show, what really I think our writers love the most is that we can get away with not only mocking the conventions, but playing a little bit fast and loose with the rules of the world because the show itself is so tongue in cheek and it’s so silly. The only thing that we don’t play fast and loose with is Ryan’s character. The heart and sweetness of that character I think is really important. The Ryan Hansen character doesn’t have a malicious, vindictive, bad bone in his body. He can be jealous. He can be disappointed but he’s such a positive, glass half full kind of person, which is what Ryan is himself. He’s such a genuinely warm, wonderful man that that’s the only thing we never mess around with. You never see Ryan the character be mean-spirited or lie mostly, other than adjust the truth slightly. Everything else is sort of fun to make fun of or wink at or change and then call out the fact that we’re not consistent. I think that’s pretty clear at the end with Jessica St. Clair when she calls out the show on all of its inconsistencies and foibles.

Do you find in other types of comedies, it hamstrings the jokes to have to follow the rules?

Thurber: That’s a really good question. I think it can but I think there’s a long history of great comedies that are tonally consistent and the rules of their world are consistent. I will say the writers on our show have written on a lot of other shows, network and cable and what not. They really enjoy writing on our show because of the fact that they weren’t hamstrung by, whether it’s standards and practices, or the well worn groove of sitcom, situational comedy humor. I think it was refreshing to them and hopefully refreshing to our audience.

Do you more often find a fourth wall breaking joke in the scene, or write a scene that builds to a fourth wall breaking joke?

Thurber: I think it’s mostly you find it within the scene. I don’t think you typically build toward it. I think it’s one of those things where we have Ryan look at camera and wink more than once. I think that’s just part of the grammar of the show, that we’re all in on this joke together. So no, it typically grows out of the scene. It’s not usually the point of a scene.

Hansen: A lot of times we’ll do a take where I look and break the fourth wall and then we’ll do a take where I don’t. I think you guys pick and choose which ones work the best.

Thurber: That’s for sure. It’s one of those things where it’s sort of diminishing returns. The more that you do it, the less effective it is and you really want to pick and choose your moments but Ryan’s exactly right. We make sure that we have those choices in editorial, and thank goodness for that.

Is that final monologue in the season 2 finale sincere?

Hansen: I was absolutely sincere. Did I write it? No, but I felt it and I would want to say that but might not have the words, even now, to articulate something like that. So it was pretty cool for Rawson to write that and have it really be sincere, for sure.

Is Red Notice still going to be your next movie, Rawson?

Thurber: Yes, sir. I took a break from rewriting the script to jump on this call, so we start shooting in October in London. It comes out November 13, 2020 so please mark your calendar and buy a ticket.

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