During the panel for Gould’s new IFC horror comedy series Stan Against Evil, The Simpsons scribe took a few jabs at the iconic film director. And the room of reporters actually laughed at the joke, which is a rarity during the two-week-long television network press conference.
“The show looks so beautiful,” Dana Gould said while discussing Stan Against Evil. “As is the IFC model, we shot every episode and cross-boarded it. We shot all of the episodes like a big movie and then we pieced them together with the same director for every episode and we had a team who worked with a really wonderful director of photography, oddly named Tim Burton, who, unlike the real Tim Burton, knows what a second act is.”
After a pause, the room of reporters erupted in laughter when they realized what he said.
“Oh yeah, I said it. I’m just saying, only a genius could make Planet of the Apes,” Gould continued with a straight face. “It’s hard to take that premise and make it boring. Only a genius could make it.”
But all jokes aside, he continued to call the new IFC series “beautiful and so rich visually.” Stan Against Evil follows Stan Miller (Scrubs alum John C. McGinley), a perpetually disgruntled former sheriff of a small New England town who was forced into retirement. Stan has trouble relinquishing his authority to Evie Barret (You’re the Worst’s Janet Varney), the tough and beautiful new sheriff in town, but they form an unlikely alliance when both begin to realize things are not quite right in their quaint New England town. Together, they valiantly fight a plague of unleashed demons that have been haunting the town, which just happens to be built on the site of a massive 17th century witch burning.
“This is a show that I’ve had in my head for a long time,” Gould said. “People primarily know me as a comedian and a comedy writer but I’ve always been a horror junkie. The original concept for this show, I originally envisioned it based on this premise: what if my dad had to fight monsters? What if my dad was Buffy the Vampire Slayer?”
According to Gould, he crafted the main character after his gruff and tough father.
“He is my dad,” Gould said. “I lived with this character. When my grandmother was passing away, he called me up and said, ‘You better get yourself on a plane; your grandmother has one foot in the grave and the other one on a banana peel.’ He’s the real deal. So I didn’t have the create the character, I just had to remember him. He’s still around. 85 years old and can still put you through a wall. And that’s how my brothers and I gauge his health. ‘How’s dad doing? Can he still break your jaw?’ ‘Oh yeah.’ ‘Oh, he’s fine.'”
And Gould credits one classic movie with having a major impact on the series. “If there’s any one film that this show is informed by, it is An American Werewolf in London,” he said.
Stan Against Evil will air the rest of its eight-episode first season Wednesdays at 10 p.m. through the fall, and season two premieres with two back-to-back episodes Wednesday, November 2 at 10 p.m. with a special airing of the premiere episode on Halloween night, October 31 at 10 p.m. on IFC.