Garret Dillahunt has the simplest and purest explanation for reuniting with his “Raising Hope” co-star Martha Plimpton and creator and executive producer Greg Garcia on new show “Sprung”: He just wanted to have fun.

“I called [Greg] in the summer of the lockdown, wanting to have some fun again because it had been a while, and I remembered the last time I had such fun was with Greg,” Dillahunt told Variety at the premiere of the genre-bending comedy on Amazon’s Freevee streaming service (reflective of its eccentric tone, it was held at L.A.’s Hollywood Forever Cemetery). “I called him. I said, ‘Buddy, life’s too short – we’ve got to have fun. If I’m not having fun, what’s the point? Let’s do something.’”

That something turned out to be “Sprung,” a fresh, unconventional post-pandemic tale built around a group of prison inmates serving sentences for low-level offenses who are suddenly freed during COVID-19 due to overcrowding concerns. Nominally led by Dillahunt’s reserved Jack — who despite being caught up in a minor pot bust, learned every trick of the criminal trade behind bars — the newly freed ex-cons, disoriented by their sudden release and the state of the locked-down world, form an unconventional family under the roof of Plimpton’s deliriously out-there Barb, mom to one of the inmates. Soon, they start earning karma points by running elaborate schemes to trip up those who are abusing the fractured social system.

“At the time when I wrote it, COVID was just hitting. I was reading that they were letting people out of prisons,” said Garcia. “I already had an idea about a character Garret would play that gets out of prison after kind of an unjust marijuana sentence. I just thought, well, let’s just rope it all into this and use what’s going on in the world. We’re all sharing the same experience, but maybe it’d be fun to see it through the lens of some people that aren’t sharing the same experiences.”

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Garret Dillahunt, Phillip Garcia, Shakira Barrera, Martha Plimpton, Clare Gillies and James Earl attend the red carpet premiere of Freevee’s “Sprung” at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Aug. 14. Getty Images

Garcia and Dillahunt assembled a cast and crew, but when the initial actress playing Barb wasn’t clicking after four days of production, they called Plimpton, who was working in London. “We said, ‘Can you be on a plane and be here in three days?’” Garcia recalled. “And then she called me from the plane. I sent her the scripts – I assumed she’d read them before she agreed. But no, she called me from the plane and said, ‘Who am I playing?’ And she got there the next day, and we went through wardrobe and makeup and hair, and then the next day we were shooting.”

“I had about 36 hours,” laughed Plimpton. ‘But it was all there in the script… I just had to find a physical life for her. Where does her center of gravity hit? I’m a hair actor, so what color hair does she have? That kind of thing. And it was sort of very organic: I was reading the scripts on the plane, and as I was reading it all just kind of came.”

“I think [the pilot script] said in an early draft, ‘Barb, a Martha Plimpton type’ — we even had it written in there,” said Dillahunt, who was delighted to craft a new kind of comedic chemistry with his co-star after years of playing “Hope’s” married couple Burt and Virginia Chance. “I’ve worked with her more than any other actor… I was worried that we’d seem the same, but then you watch it you’re like, ‘Oh, this guy’s much smarter than Burt. She’s completely different than Virginia.’ It just works. She somehow doesn’t get far from herself, in a way, but then you totally believe whatever character she’s doing.”

“As far as I’m concerned, Garrett can do anything,” offered Plimpton. “He’s my kind of actor: he jumps right in and he does it and he commits and he’s fully present and physically hilarious. And so it was really fun to just try on these new characters together, create this totally new dynamic with these new cast members who are wonderful, and it just felt easy and breezy.”

Garcia also found yet another value-added element that comes with past showbiz collaborators, having recently co-crafted the storyline for musician Jimmy Buffett’s short-lived Broadway jukebox musical “Escape to Margaritaville.”: “In one of these episodes, we do [Buffett’s song] ‘Cheeseburger In Paradise’ in the credits, and Jimmy actually gave us the ‘friends-and-family’ rate, so we were able to afford it, so that was nice.”