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Tim and Eric used "bad" sitcoms of the 1980s and 1990s as inspiration for Adult Swim's Beef House

  • The New York Times describes Beef House, premiering Sunday, as "a bizarre spoof of family sitcoms, complete with laugh tracks, 'awwws' and a multicamera format. The sets have three walls. The living-room couch is its center of gravity." But that's where the similarities end. "We both grew up watching all kinds of sitcoms: Family Ties, Who’s The Boss? And what’s interesting is when we started writing this we didn’t have one sitcom in mind," says Eric Wareheim. "Because we watched a thousand hours of that growing up, we knew how the sitcom format worked. When we started diving into the writing of it, it was just like, oh, this is how it goes because we already have so much information in our heads." Tim Heidecker adds: "We grew up in the ’80s and early ’90s and there was not a lot of choice about what you watch on TV. I think we probably just turned on the TV and watched whatever was on. There were certain sitcoms that were a little more for kids versus something like Designing Women or Murphy Brown that felt a little too serious, but then you go and watch the TGIF/ABC slate of Perfect Strangers and Growing Pains. I don’t know if I’d say I’m a huge fan of Growing Pains. That was just what you watched. It wasn’t really an option, it’s just what you did." The pair also looked to fairly recent sitcoms that tried to emulate the past, like Fuller House, The Conners and Last Man Standing. "Yeah, no one is laughing at these shows. Like Tim is saying, I watched The Conners and I couldn’t even smile," says Wareheim. "I tried to enjoy it, but it’s so far from funny. That’s why we made Beef House—our tagline is, 'A sitcom, but funny.' We tried to use the same rhythm that every sitcom is using, the same ideas of a group of people trying to figure out a problem and different kinds of friendships."

    TOPICS: Beef House, Adult Swim, Eric Wareheim, Tim Heidecker