'Men at Work' creator Breckin Meyer: 'I just wanted to make myself laugh'
Luckily for Turner Broadcasting and its family of cable channels, Breckin Meyer doesn't believe in taking time off.
"I only work for Turner," says Meyer, in his offices on the Sony lot in Culver City, Calif. "That's what I realized. I have 'Robot Chicken,' 'Men at Work,' 'Franklin & Bash.' Me and Sethy have decided that we're bored, and we want to keep doing stuff. We don't like hiatuses."
"Sethy" is Seth Green, creator of Adult Swim's animated "Robot Chicken," for which Meyer writes and does voice work. Meyer also co-stars with Mark-Paul Gosselaar in -- and does some writing for -- the TNT legal comedy/drama "Franklin & Bash," which returns for its second season on June 5.
But first, on Thursday, May 24, Meyer achieves a trifecta of Turner cablenets when his new creation, "Men at Work," premieres on the comedy-oriented TBS.
"I just wanted to write something to make myself laugh," he tells Zap2it. "I didn't write anything with the intention of doing a show, selling a show, doing a pilot. I wanted to write a longer-form thing, and I sat down and thought of some funny things that had happened to me in my life, and I started writing.
"I didn't censor myself, as far as language or anything, and I just wrote it. I liked it. I thought it was funny."
Meyer then handed the script over to "Franklin & Bash" producer Jamie Tarses, who liked it. It eventually found its way to a comedy executive at TBS. Then the question became about whether production could be scheduled around Meyer's work on "Franklin & Bash."
"But they bought it," says Meyer. "We shot a pilot, and it got picked up. We keep waiting for the other shoe to drop."
Based on the experiences of Meyer and his friends -- who, he says, still speak to him, mostly because they haven't seen the show yet -- "Men at Work" focuses on four pals who work together at a Maxim-style publication/website called Full Steam Magazine.
Danny Masterson stars as writer Milo, recently dumped by his longtime girlfriend, who leans on his best friends to get back his dating mojo. On hand to help are ladies man and photographer Gibbs (James Lesure); charming feature writer Tyler (Michael Cassidy); and accountant Neal (Adam Busch), who is now the only member of the quartet with a steady girlfriend -- Amy (Meredith Hagner).
Says Meyer, "I told the actors, 'Everything you're doing, I've done, and I mean that literally. There's dialogue ripped from my life.'
"Danny, sitting in a bathtub naked, while his friend tries to drag him to go out and not wallow in his misery, is ripped verbatim from my life. I'm more Milo than anybody, but there are bits of me throughout. There are also bits of my friends throughout."
Busch also saw a bit of himself in his character.
"I feel like 25 percent of me is 100 percent Neal," he says over chicken soup at a Hollywood diner. "There are certainly things I relate to, but I wouldn't necessarily say we're the same guy. The best thing you can say about all these guys is that they're friends. That, I think, is the highest compliment that you can make to any of them.
"I feel like that would be most endearing to a girl that they were trying to impress. Like, for me, personally, if I'm trying to impress a girl, I introduce her to my parents, because they've been together since they were in high school, and they genuinely like each other.
"The fact that these guys all get along and like each other shows the best side of themselves. Each one has qualities that the other one would want. Together, they're the perfect confident, sensitive, business-minded, tech-savvy guy. Separate, they're all in need of something that brings them all together."
Apparently, a lot of what these guys need can be found in the women they encounter.
"Women are a big factor," Meyer says. "All of this is based on me and my world. One thing I like about the pilot is, for the most part, the women are the smartest and also, a lot of the time, the aggressors in our situation, and the ones with the answers.
"That, I didn't realize until somebody pointed it out to me. The women drive the boat on this show, either the idea of them or the actual women themselves."
As to whether he was trying to give himself a subliminal message, Meyer says, "I already know what I'm trying to tell myself. I'm a mama's boy.
"That's the thing that's the most refreshing. It's not guys just going out to get laid. It's more the crazy, stupid things that happen to guys and girls when you're out there in this weird, present-day, single, texting, Twittering, Facebooking, Kardashian-soaked world."
Photo/Video credit: TBS
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