For over a decade the Broken Lizard comedy troupe has been creating inventive comedies that have resonated with audiences. Their talents have typically been reserved for feature films, but the group has found new ground with their television show, Tacoma FD. The TruTV comedy series looks at a ragtag group of firefighters and conjures the same infectious, affable energy that fuels their movies. At first glance the show may just look like a minor pivot away from the antics of Super Troopers, but there’s a real heart to Tacoma FD that helps ground the outlandish exploits of this fire department.
Last year Tacoma FD grew to be one of TruTV’s most popular comedies and the cast and crew are hard at work at bringing season two to life for a 2020 release. While the team is only two weeks into production, they already say that the laughs that they’ve experienced have been harder than anything in the first season.
“Now that we’re in the second season it feels like they’re writing more for our characters,” says Eugene Cordero, who plays Andy Myawani. He continues, “So much of the first season was just introducing everyone and getting to know the cast. Now that’s done and we can just have fun.”
Marcus Henderson, who portrays Granville “Granny” Smith corroborated this, but elaborated on how it’s affected how they shoot scenes: “In addition to our improvised takes, we also get the scripted take—which wasn’t always happening in season one—but there’s a looser feel. It’s always like take three where the best stuff comes together. We’ve found a rhythm.”
Tacoma FD season 2 will further define its characters, but it will also experiment with some longer arcs that carry over through episodes. Hassie Harrison says that her character, Lucy McConky, is going through a number of changes this season that linger in some capacities. At the same time, the show isn’t going overboard in the serialization department. “You’ll still be able to watch any episode and understand what’s going on,” assures Gabe Hogan (Ike Crystal). “It’s still very episodic.”
Series creators Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan are most excited to explore more of the real-life stories that they’ve inserted into the show’s second season. Obviously being funny is paramount, but Lemme and Heffernan underscored how important it is that all of their stories come from truth.
“There’s a lot of jokes in this world,” Lemme says, “but it’s also very real. It wouldn’t feel right to us if actual firefighters watched the show and it didn’t feel authentic.” They continue to weigh this balance between absurdity and reality in the show’s second season, which has also received an expanded order of 13 episodes, up from season one’s ten.
The cast of Tacoma FD wanted to keep many of season two’s surprises under wraps, but they did gleefully talk about the guest stars that they have lined up for this season. “All of the cops are back this year,” Harrison drops, “but we have even more fun additions who all fit in so well.”
On the topic of the cast’s strong chemistry and how well they mesh with their guest stars, a larger challenge was posed in the form of attempting a live episode.
“That would be something, wouldn’t it?” Heffernan says. “We’ve all got lots of stage experience and that rush you get before doing a live show is like nothing else.” This is hardly any sort of confirmation on the matter, but it’s worth pointing out that TruTV does have a history with doing live episodes and it wouldn’t be that outrageous. “We’re open to try anything,” reiterates Lemme over the gamble.
Live or not, Tacoma FD is set to return to TruTV in 2020 and with what they’ve assembled it looks like season two will leave the first one up in smoke.
Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, and Bloody Disgusting. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and that Hannibal is the greatest love story ever told. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.