I really enjoy doing set visits from various tv shows and ABC’s The Kids Are Alright was such a blast while I was out in Los Angeles! We had the opportunity to chat with Production Designer Michael Whetstone, Set Decorator Claudette Didul, and Creator/Showrunner Tim Doyle. Also during the tour of the house etc we hung out with a few actors from the show!
Oh and I can’t leave out costume designer Susan Michalek my favorite part. She talked about recreating looks for the whole cast. You guys the set looked so real, they also have a real backyard with grass and shrubs where they do a lot of scenes with a treehouse, sand box and more! Step inside to see some cool shots I took while on set….
Actor Caleb Foote who plays Eddie Cleary
Production Designer Michael Whetstone talked about the feeling he wanted for set…
The way a TV show works is you make a pilot. And then you wait and see if it gets picked up. So this house is based on a house that we found for the pilot back in March.
And I think it was built in 1932. It was very, very small. It was one of the first ranch houses in Studio City or something. And our director loved it.
Tight. He wanted it to feel crowded. When you’d walk through it, you’ll… Usually when you go to stage, you say oh, I’m gonna make it 25% bigger for shooting. We didn’t really do that. I’ll show you a few secret things we did to make it more shootable.
Claudette Didul talked about nostalgia…
The show is really all about nostalgia, and when everyone comes in, it’s not the designs that stand out, it’s, like, oh my god! My grandparents had that.
We do hit situations, though, where we have a lot of gags on the episodes. And we have to duplicate things. So sometimes it’s hard to find period, duplicated light fixtures and stuff like that. So we do have to cheat. You know, we’ll run to Target, perhaps, to get something. Or, you know, lampshades aren’t always vintage. ‘Cause a lot of times, 50 years later, they’re falling apart.
We actually lucked out with a couple of estate sales. We literally took this whole drapery rig right out of the house as is, and it is so fragile that I couldn’t get it dry cleaned.
Actors Caleb Foote, Jack Gore, Christopher Paul Richards, Andy Walken
Christopher Paul Richards
Susan Michalek on costume designs:
So it’s set in 1972 and there’s a family who are sort of stuck in the late sixties except for the oldest son Lawrence. You probably all saw the pilot, right. He brings the 70s into the family ‘cause they’re sort of stuck in this smaller world. But Caleb’s character is a little bit in the seventies too.
It’s all supposed to look like hand-me-downs except it’s happier because it’s on ABC. So it’s sort of colorful hand-me-downs. There’s just a ton of research we did for it. Because, you know, you have to. Even though I was alive at that time.. (to Caleb) you weren’t. So sort of dull and slightly sad fitting room.
On vintage clothing:
A little bit but the volume we need so much that what we really get from is all the rental houses in L.A. So ABC has a costume house and Warner Brothers has a costume house and then there’s some private ones too, so there are about eight or ten in L.A. Their buildings are the size of football fields and really high with racks of clothing where we go get most of it.
So when I’m putting a show together, like lining up the clothes, I’ll put them on the wall so I can see what goes… like I don’t want two characters in the same color. And there’s so many of them I like to get different colors, so it all looks good.
And we keep track of everything that shoots on set, [it] has to be kept track of because we don’t shoot in order. We’ll shoot one scene from a script one script day [and the next scene] several days apart from each other. This is sort of an organizing center of it all.
Synopsis: Set in the 1970s, this ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.” Times are changing and this family will never be the same. There are 10 people, three bedrooms, one bathroom and everyone in it for themselves.
The series stars Michael Cudlitz as Mike Cleary, Mary McCormack as Peggy Cleary, Sam Straley as Lawrence Cleary, Caleb Foote as Eddie Cleary, Sawyer Barth as Frank Cleary, Christopher Paul Richards as Joey Cleary, Jack Gore as Timmy Cleary, Andy Walken as William Cleary and Santino Barnard as Pat Cleary.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT (airs Tuesdays at 8:30|7:30c on ABC; also available streaming and on demand)
https://twitter.com/TheKidsABC (#TheKidsAreAlright + #ABCTVEvent)