Ken Marino is the public face of “Burning Love,” the hit comedy series that began on Yahoo and has since been picked up by E! for a run on TV. Marino is both the award-winning show’s director and the star of its first season, playing the fatuous Mark Orlando.
Yet his wife, Erica Oyama, is the series’ unspoken creative anchor, its co-creator and lead writer. She crafted the milieu of this faux reality show, creating indelible characters like Willow, a homeless woman played by Malin Akerman, and Robby Z, an irrepressible party motivator played by Paul Scheer.
The third season of the show, “Burning Down the House,” debuted on Yahoo Friday, so TheWrap took the opportunity to speak with Oyama about her new movie and her latest foray into the realm of "Burning Love."
How is season three going to differ from the past two?
Season three might be my favorite season because we get to bring a bunch of characters back to the mansion. Everyone is pretty proud of themselves, having been on TV before. They have a little bit of swagger from being ‘reality stars’ so they are even dumber than they were before.
The best date in season two was a class on puppet making. Is dumber even possible?
It happened, so yes?
How many of your characters do you base off of people you’ve seen on reality TV?
A lot are based off stereotypes of characters that have done these types of shows. On ABC’s “Bachelor Pad” – R.I.P. – there was a group of super fans that came on, about six people thrown into the mix with all these reality stars. We had fun this season where we just made it one guy who is a super fan that joined the show and is treated like a second class citizen. He’s not based on any one of those people, but he’s a product of that idea.
Who plays the super fan?
He’s played brilliantly by Armen Weitzman. He’s done a lot at Upright Citizens Brigade and was on the Sarah Silverman show. He’s the next big thing.
You’ve brought so many great comedians on the show for both small and large parts. Was it hard to convince anyone to come back for season 3?
We shot 2 and 3 at the same time so some people like Rob Heubel and Joe La Truglio […we] just took up more of their time. We went to dinner with Rob before we started and he said ‘how many seasons is this?’ He was confused.
A lot of the girls from season one are so excited to come back, and we brought in new characters. Leslie Bibb plays a drunk southern party girl. Alex Anfanger plays a virgin guy.
Are you glad to have your husband back in front of the camera?
I loved watching Mark Orlando come back and be even more outrageous before.
Is there a character you’re most proud of besides the stars of the two seasons?
I love Lexie (Beth Dover). I’m so happy she’s back to crazy it up. These shows are so psychologically difficult for people to navigate through. Lexie represents how much people are tested mentally.
Obviously Michael Ian Black. His host character is above and beyond what we could have ever imagined. He’s sort of the star of this season and he’s around a lot introducing challenges, guiding everyone through this really confusing game they are playing.
How did you start writing?
I started writing in college when I came out from Alabama and I was originally auditioning and planning to be an actress. I started taking film classes and had always written as a hobby. When I was taking screenwriting classes, I felt like something clicked and I just enjoyed that more.
You and Ken (left) just agreed to turn ‘Go the F*ck to Sleep’ into a Movie. What’s the plan?
We’re parents so we have been through that time when you don’t sleep and know who frustrating that can be. We do have a plan. It’s not going to be any sort of a derogatory thing towards kids, but we have a lot of experience. We have a good angle.