As one of the year’s most critically-acclaimed new series, Search Party has been pushing boundaries since its premiere. The characters we’ve come to know (and love?) are dealing with some serious fallout from Season 1, and their psyches, friendships, and freedom are on the line. Search Party is a genre-defying series, so we were really excited to dig deep with co-creators Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers to find out how this weird, awesome show came to be. Read our interview below, and be sure to stream new episodes of Search Party, Sundays at 10/9c on TBS.
When you were first putting together the pieces for Season 1, did you have really strong opinions about who you wanted in each role? How involved were you in the casting process?
Sarah-Violet Bliss: We were very involved for every role. We had written the part for John Early, and then we auditioned Meredith Hagner (Portia), and John Reynolds (Drew)—they had great auditions. Alia [Shawkat] was suggested to us by an agent, and we were like, “Oh, great idea, let’s meet with her!” We met with her and had a really awesome conversation, and thankfully she agreed to do it.
The show is such a unique blend of comedy and mystery. What were some of your earliest inspirations within those two genres?
Charles Rogers: It feels bad to say right now, but Woody Allen has always been an inspiration for both of us. Particularly Manhattan Murder Mystery. I feel like a lot of the references we have, we retroactively reference. When we get asked, we’re like, “Um, Twin Peaks!”
We really like Alexander Payne and Christopher Guest. It’s more sensibility than directly referencing genres. I think in some weird way it isn’t good to get too hyper-focused on genre, because that’ll bleed into your unconscious in ways that it shouldn’t. It’s nice to have started kind of fresh with an idea. When our brains came together, we tried to think about what people value in satire, and then we added this hook of there being a mystery. There are references to things, but we also just kind of wanted to stay true to whatever came to us.
The Season 1 finale changed everything for the characters. How will the gravity of the situation affect them, and how will they process what’s happened?
CR: The way to look at the first season is that they’re hipsters trying to solve a mystery. For the second season, well now they’re hipsters covering up a murder. There’s always going to be a level of satire and irony in the fact that they’re fish out of water who are in way over their heads. They’re doing the best job they can with covering up a murder, and then trying to move on with their lives. But ultimately paranoia, fear, and guilt will always be there, so it’s about how they suffer through that, react to that, and make choices based on that.
Last season, featured some amazing guest stars like Ron Livingston, Rosie Perez, and Parker Posey. What can we expect in regards to guest stars this season?
SVB: Well we have less big names this season, but all of our guest stars are really amazing!
CR: I think for Season 1 we got some amazing giants from 90s independent movies, and this season we’re going after that same indie feeling.
How would you describe your creative process? Do you bounce ideas off of each other, or do you work separately and then come together?
SVB: We’re usually working together, but if we’re apart and have an idea, we’ll text each other. Just to say, “Ooh, this is a fun, exciting idea!” But we’re mostly together in the writers’ room or wherever—we spend so much time together. We throw ideas out there when we’re texting, and then in the writers’ room we’re working 100% on outlining the theories. When we start actually writing the episodes, we’re giving all the episodes our collective voice.
Did you always have a clear vision of where you wanted the narrative to go from the onset? Do you have this vision of X amount of seasons, or X amount of narrative?
CR: We’re definitely grateful to hear the words, “We think you’re getting another season.” In the past when we’ve heard that it’s always like, “Oh, thank God.” I don’t think we have the power to ask for a certain amount of seasons, but we definitely have a long-term vision that’s more thematic and not super specific. I like to say that we know just enough not to panic, and know just too little to be able to stay open and creative.