The Creators of Spike’s ‘Blue Mountain State’ Discuss College Football, Early ‘80s Comedy, and ‘Pock
College football typically takes a backseat once the BCS Champion has been crowned and the NFL playoffs begin. Tonight, however, college football junkies can continue nursing their bowl-season hangovers by tuning in to “Blue Mountain State,” which kicks off at 10 p.m. on Spike. “Blue Mountain State” follows the off-field hijinks of three freshman players at a fictitious Division I football powerhouse. Expect this boozy new scripted comedy to serve up an irreverent double-shot of locker-room humor.
“Blue Mountain State” is the brainchild of Eric Falconer and Chris Romano (a.k.a. Romanski). The veteran comedy writing duo has previously penned episodes of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “The Sarah Silverman Program.” BroBible recently caught up with “BMS” creators to discuss college football, their unabashed love of early ’80s comedy, and an upcoming episode of “Blue Mountain State” that involves an unfortunate incident with a Pocket Pussy.
BroBible: Why did you decide to develop a television show based on a fictitious college football program?
Eric Falconer and Chris Romano: The college football angle came from Brian Robbins at Varsity Pictures and Kevin Kay at Spike. We heard that they were looking to do a college football comedy, so we went in and pitched our version of one. Our version included masturbating, cookie races, and golden showers, and they said, “Sold!”
I think the timing is right for a college football show; with the scandals, the pay-for-play debate, and the President and Congress calling for a playoff system that makes sense. College alone is a great world for comedy, but you add D-I football and it’s explosive.
Most of the action in Blue Mountain State takes place off the field. Are the off-field theatrics and spirited rivalries of college football easier to poke fun at than the NFL?
There’s a great passion with college sports that you rarely find in professional sports. We don’t ever poke fun at it as much as we celebrate it and run with it. Plus the NFL has been done before both in TV and movies, so it didn’t really interest us.
College football players are known for wooing the pants off girls on campus. How does the co-ed factor play into “Blue Mountain State?”
It plays a huge part in “BMS.” To do a show about college and not have it revolve around sex would be dishonest. But to do a show about college football players and not have it revolve around sex would be unforgivable.
Eric, I read you played center and linebacker for your high school football team in Watertown, Mass., and modeled Blue Mountain State’s head coach character after your high school coach. What else is based on your personal gridiron experience?
We actually modeled the assistant coaches after some coaches I had in high school. The head coach, Marty Daniels, is a mixture of several legendary and notorious coaches. Paterno, Spurrier, Holtz, Saban, with a little Bobby Knight and Bill Belichick thrown in there.Small-town high school football is completely different than D-I college football. The only experience I really drew from is the locker room atmosphere. The pre-game rituals, the music, the pre-game and post-game speeches. I think every football locker room from high school through the pros has that atmosphere in common to some degree. Aside from that, high school and college are completely different animals, especially at the big universities.
Did you focus on a particular college football program when writing Blue Mountain State?
Not in particular. We definitely drew from the Miami program of the late 80s/early 90s a bit. But really every big program has a good story buried in there somewhere. We did a lot of research on individual players, like Bosworth, Romanowski, Maurice Clarett — the big, over-the-top characters.We followed Boise State quite a bit this season. Holy shit were those guys fun to watch. We might be able to steal a few ideas from them for season two.
You’re big fans of classic comedies such as “Animal House,” “Porky’s,” and “Meatballs.” What was the attraction to resuscitate this style of late-70s/early-80s comedy as a modern television show?
We both remember being kids and how dangerous and crazy those movies seemed: “Porky’s,” “Revenge of the Nerds,” “Stripes,” “Animal House.” They were movies you only got to see if one of your friends had an older brother that would rent it for you. We wanted to make a show with that same feeling of danger and inappropriateness. It’s fun, and that genre’s been lost for the most part over the past decades. Comedy’s become too safe and cute. Anything even close to those great 80s movies is usually straight to DVD. We’re not trying to resuscitate the genre as much as we’re paying tribute to it. We’re just making what we love.
You also have a an animation show and a family sitcom in the works. Any details you can disclose?
We’re currently writing an animated pilot for FOX and a live action sitcom pilot for NBC. Not much to disclose as we’re still in the early stages of development.
You use to write for “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “The Sarah Silverman Program.” How did that experience help with developing “Blue Mountain State?”
We were really lucky to have had the opportunity to write on two shows that we respect so much. Most TV writers end up working on at least one show that they can’t stand, but we’ve never had that. The biggest thing we took away from working on those shows is the fact that when you have fun writing and producing a show, the joy shows up on the screen. It’s true. We had more fun writing and shooting “Blue Mountain State” than we’ve ever had in our lives, and it shows when you watch the episodes.
How envelope-pushing are the escapades in “Blue Mountain State?” Will it make the gang in “It’s Always Sunny” look like saints and angels?
Spike let us get away with a lot in this show. And we mean A LOT. It’s pushing the limits of good taste. For example we have an episode titled “Pocket Pussy” where the entire team gets an STD from passing around the same Pocket Pussy. We pitched this idea to Spike expecting them to say, “We can’t do that,” but instead they said, “Perfect. What else you got?” “