The award-winning gay web comedy Old Dogs & New Tricks (OldDogsNewTricksTheSeries.com) ended its second season last month with a four-pronged cliffhanger that left each major character in crisis, with hints of divorce, drug abuse, sex addiction, and ‘lesbian bed death.’? Heavy stuff for a comedy series once described as “The Birdcage Meets Sex & the City.”
We talked to the show’s creator/writer/star Leon Acord — who plays neurotic talent agent Nathan — to get his take on the show’s shift to the “dark side” during its past season, its chances for a third, and whether Nathan & Damian could ever recover from that painful breakup.? (You can contribute to the third season now at www.indiegogo.com/projects/old-dogs-new-tricks-season-3)
Q:? In its second season, ODNT seemed to move from straight comedy to more serious material.? Was this the plan all along?
Absolutely.? I wrote the scripts for both the first and second seasons at the same time, so yeah, we always knew that we were going to go to some dark places eventually.
Q:? What are your thoughts about the show’s evolution.
I think you see hints of where we were going in the first season. Several folks noted they sensed a sadness underneath the humor. I personally love comedies that turn a bit serious when you least expect it. And I think it makes the comedy funnier as a result, because you care about these characters more after seeing them through a crisis.
Q: Have the fans objected?
Not at all, at least not to me. The comments we got through season one tended to be “so funny” or “made me laugh out loud.”? in season two, the comments have been more along the lines of “that really happened to me” or “just like my life”!? Those comments are much more gratifying as a writer and performer.
Q: What was your favorite moment in the second season?
Well, I’m also the writer and producer so I have different favorites.? As a producer, I love the hotel scene when Brad and Ross almost hook up–Curt and David are wonderful and so funny.? Jeffrey Patrick Olson had so many wonderful moments, especially his “we are family” speech in the wedding episode.? Ryland’s performance in the season finale is so painful to watch. I adore every scene Bruce and Amanda are in.? And I think Doug Spearman brought real complexity to a role that could have been a cardboard cut-out.
As an actor, my favorites are any scene with the four dogs–the pool cafe was particularly fun.? I’m just so relaxed working with those guys, my face always looks shot up with Botox in our scenes together.? There’s just an ease, and so much to react to.
As a writer, I’m thrilled viewers really invested in the Nathan-Damian relationship, instead of dismissing it as a middle-aged gay man’s wet dream, which is what I feared. Or, I thought, folks would assume Damian was a gold-digger. But most have accepted them as a viable couple.
Q:? Speaking of Nathan and Damian, are they a couple? Can they be?? After the scene in the finale, its hard to imagine them “making up.”
Ryland is back for another season, but Nathan and Damian’s relationship could never be the same.? Even if they tried — and I’m not saying they will — they’ve said too much to go back to that innocent romance.? Maybe that could lead to a more mature relationship if they did give it another shot.? But Nathan has made some pretty big mistakes and Damian isn’t exactly blameless either.? Don’t forget, Damian is still Nathan’s client, so they will be forced to interact professionally whether they like it or not.
Q: You attracted some pretty impressive guest stars in your second year, including Greg Louganis and soap icon Ian Buchanan.? Any dish?
I wish I had stories I could sell to the tabloids!? Alas, everyone was so friendly and professional, its was so lovely, its boring!
Q:? We rarely see middle-aged men in sexual situations.? Yet that seems to be the thrust (pun intended) of your show.? Any thoughts or lessons from the experience of playing a sexually active middle-aged man?
We’re just being truthful.? Explicit, maybe, but honest.
Q: The season finale had viewers in arms.? Where do you go from here?
We were all taken by surprise by the audience reaction. We actually weren’t planning a third season, at least not yet. But after that cliffhanger, our fans were like “Are you kidding?”? And they’re right. Maybe we should’ve have a more conclusive ending. But I’m very moved by folks’ involvement in these guys’ lives.
Q:? What can you tell us about season 3?
Ian Buchanan is coming back for a few episodes to give Nathan a taste of grown-up romance.? The actress Gloria Gifford is on board for a few eps.? Brad hits rock bottom financially.? Ross’ career begins to ascend as his personal life goes into the toilet. And Muscles will have a series of humiliations that will lead him to consider moving back to Ohio.? All with the holidays as a backdrop.? And we have some new guest stars we’ll be announcing soon.? But, of course, that’s all tentative until we raise the budget!
Contributions can be made at www.indiegogo.com/projects/old-dogs-new-tricks-season-3
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