Co-creator Goldberg, voice actors Jason Mantzoukas, Jenny Slate, and Jessi Klein, and executive producers Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett attended a PaleyFest Fall TV Previews panel on Thursday, while Kroll joined via Skype to discuss how the animated sitcom came together.
The show fictionalizes bits and pieces of personal memories from the entire creative team’s teenage years. “Our policy in our writers room is we were extremely open to sharing,” Goldberg said.
Added Levin, “Whenever we interviewed a writer for the show we’d always say, ‘Tell us about what it was like when you had your first period, or what it was like when you were caught masturbating.’ That was the litmus test because they had to be able to freely open up. We made the room a really safe place where everyone could talk about that.”
Upcoming episodes incorporate both male and female stories of puberty. “There’s a lot of stuff, especially for girls, that goes really underground. It was a chance to say, ‘You don’t need to be ashamed of anything,'” Flackett told Variety.
To voice her character Missy, Slate recalled her own childhood of being a “dork” who was best friends with her parents.
“I remember having really frank discussions with them where they were like, ‘Now is not your time to shine. You are going to be fine in adulthood though because you’re building an identity.’ And then I would go to school and be like, ‘I’m fine because I’m building an identity!’ And everyone would be like, ‘You’re a dork!’ But it does all work out. They were right,” Slate said.
Kroll said creating the show was a therapeutic experience. “My hope is that people can watch this as a little bit of catharsis of what they were like and how far they’ve come,” he said.
Flackett added, “Everyone’s always surprised it’s a very emotional show in the midst of being filthy.”