Why Chuck Lorre Wrote About Getting Older With ‘The Kominsky Method’: ‘Some of It Is Funny’

TheWrap Emmy magazine: Sitcom hitmaker talks living in the streaming world, says there’s “great freedom in telling a story when you’re not worried about the time”

Patrick Ecclesine

The cover story on Chuck Lorre first appeared in the Race Begins issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.

Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method” has given older viewers something they don’t see too much: a show that’s catered to them.  The series is aimed at a demographic that has largely been forgotten by network television.

“The Kominsky Method” stars Michael Douglas as an aging acting coach and Alan Arkin as his best friend and agent.

The show, which won a pair of Golden Globes in January, including Best Comedy Series, even prompted creator Chuck Lorre to make the move to single-camera and to streaming. Lorre is known primarily for his multicamera sitcoms like “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory.” “What got me interested was writing about getting older and all that that entails,” Lorre said.

The series touches on two things that were important to Lorre: aging and showcasing struggling actors in a more serious way. “There’s a great deal to write about, and I’m strange enough to think that some of it’s funny,” Lorre said. “Losing loved ones, endless health issues, feeling estranged from the culture — which is very much a youth-dominated culture — grown children, and the difficulties with grown children as opposed to small children. It was an arena that was really inviting as a writer.”

To viewers, Douglas’ Sandy Kominsky may draw parallels to another acting coach on TV, Gene Cousineau on HBO’s “Barry,” for which Henry Winkler won his first Emmy last year. Lorre said he deliberately didn’t watch “Barry.” “I didn’t want to be influenced by how they’re approaching the acting-school and acting-coach stuff,” he said. “I wanted this to be an homage to acting as a craft. It’s really easy to make fun of acting, really easy to show bad acting and say it’s comedic.”

Lorre likened working on a Netflix show, where all the episodes are available at once and not bound by a timeslot, to reading a book. “There’s great freedom in telling a story when you’re not worried about the time,” he said, adding that he doesn’t have to worry about either chopping something or adding filler. “It takes all that extraneous stuff off your plate, and you can just work on the story.”

Read more from the Race Begins edition of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.

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