David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik earned their stripes more than a decade ago for their work on two of the most popular series in television history. Crane co-created the NBC series “Friends,” while Klarik received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations as a writer and producer on another NBC show, “Mad About You.”
The two got together in 2006 to work on “The Class,” a short-lived CBS comedy, and are now at the helm of one of the funniest shows on television, Showtime’s “Episodes.”
In the program, British husband-and-wife writing team Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tamsin Greig) Lincoln, won two BAFTAs (the British Emmy) for “Lyman’s Boys,” a program about an elderly, overweight and sympathetic instructor at an exclusive British school. The series attracts the attention of American network executive Marc Lapidus (John Pankow), who says it is the greatest show he’s ever seen and insists the couple come to the United States to adapt the show for American television.
Of course, there are problems. Instead of an older, respected teacher, Lapidus insists that the central figure be a young hockey coach. Instead of” Lyman’s Boys,” the show will be called “Pucks.” And instead of the honored British thespian who portrayed Lyman, the role will go to
“Friends” veteran Matt LeBlanc played by, well, Matt LeBlanc. Crane and Klarik spoke to the Forward’s Curt Schleier about the series’ real-life inspiration, Jewish humor and being partners in work and life.
Curt Schleier: You always hear about executives giving writers “notes,” but would they really buy a successful show and then completely change it?