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The Boys Showrunner Reveals Seth Rogen’s Advice for Writing Edgy Satire


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The Boys showrunner Eric Kripke reveals the advice he received from Seth Rogen about what matters when writing potentially offensive satire.

Eric Kripke, the showrunner of The Boys, reveals the advice given to him by Seth Rogen. Based on the comic book of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, the adaptation centers around a team of vigilantes who attempt to combat superpowered individuals who frequently abuse their abilities in horrific ways.

In its first two seasons, The Boys regularly included scenes which pushed against the expectations of what audiences would be comfortable with. Heading into season 3, the Amazon Prime Video series is poised to continue the tradition of featuring gasp-inducing moments with the introduction of Herogasm, a miniseries from The Boys comic. In new remarks, Kripke elaborated on what makes the boundary-defying elements of the adaptation distinct.

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Related: The Boys: Why Vought Lied About Homelander’s Origins (& Why He Played Along)

During a wide-ranging conversation with Screenwriters’ Festival Online, Kripke responded to a fan question about whether there was ever a concern of pushing too far or being too offensive. Kripke responded that there was, arguing a distinction had to be made for what the storyline itself aims to accomplish. To illustrate his point, the showrunner discussed a piece of advice he was given by The Boys executive producer Rogen. You can read Kripke’s full quote below:

There definitely is. You know, obviously, it depends on who you are and what your personality is, and what your material is. My experience… it was actually heading into The Boys. It was advice from Seth Rogen, actually, who, y’know, is no stranger to stuff that’s like a little edgy and a little out there. And what he said was: “As long as the audience knows that your heart is in the right place, if you can communicate where your heart is, they will put up with a lot.” And so… I would say like, if it has a good heart, and everyone knows it, you can get away with really crazy shit. The other thing, and it’s a George Carlin thought, not mine. But you know, the point of satire — and brutal satire and edgy and offensive things — is to punch up, not down.

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Kripke’s remarks, both in referencing Carlin and Rogen, address some of what has helped to make the superhero satire broaden its appeal. Unlike the source material, which often favored shock value for its own sake, The Boys has so far been very deliberate about what it chooses to mock. Initially, for its first few episodes, the series presented itself as primarily a sendup of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies that have come to dominate pop culture. But, as The Boys has progressed, the show has made its mockery of capitalism and celebrity culture crystal clear. This was evident in a The Boys season 2 scene that calls out clumsy attempts at Girl Power. It is even clearer in a speech given by Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) where he coldly, bluntly, points out money is the driving force behind everything.

In this way, by removing some of the rough edges from the comics, The Boys is still able to provide a memorable and entertaining experience while perhaps encouraging viewers or reminding them to think of their world a little differently. In the show, the superheroes, along with their handlers and their superiors, become a way of expressing criticisms which are frequently damning without becoming too didactic or single-minded. Along with excellent performances and strong character development, the formula has catapulted The Boys to success.

More: The Boys: The Courtroom Scene Reveals Homelander’s True Character

Source: Screenwriters’ Festival Online

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Updated: February 23, 2021 — 4:34 pm

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