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Amy Sherman-Palladino Recalls Working on the 'Abusive, Evil' Set of a Kirstie Alley Sitcom

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 25, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 25, 2023 |


Amy Sherman-Palladino’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will end its run tomorrow amid what is turning out to be one of the most eventful series finale weeks in a very long time. It’s been a great run punctuated by a final season that’s been its best since the opener. It was not, however, her decision to end Maisel as she told Marc Maron this week on his WTF podcast. That decision came from the higher-ups at Prime Video because Maisel is an expensive show to produce and, as Sherman-Palladino joked, the streamer has orcs to pay for.

Before Mrs. Maisel and Gilmore Girls, Amy Sherman-Palladino was a staff writer on several series beginning with Roseanne. She came in on that show during its third season after Roseanne Barr divorced her first husband, got involved with Tom Arnold, fired the entire writing staff, and brought women into the writers’ room for the first time. It was a tumultuous period, according to Sherman-Palladino, and the way she tells it, it did not sound like Rosanne was a particularly good person to work for. Sherman-Palladino reported that, though she was there for four seasons—longer than any other writer—she did not rise to the level of showrunner. Barr refused to hire women in that role, but also Sherman-Palladino knew Barr had a history of turning on her showrunners, making their lives a “living hell,” and firing them.

For the most part, however, it was a good learning experience. After working on a couple of other shows, Sherman-Palladino was eager to get a showrunner credit and ended up taking that job on the first season of Veronica’s Closet, which starred the late Kirstie Alley. She described it as “the worst experience of her life.”

“There was some real crazy on that show,” and it wasn’t just Kirstie Alley. For instance, the late Ron Silver—who is Jewish—demanded that he not be referred to as a Jew on the show (even though Silver played Alan Dershowitz on another project for which ASP said he received an Oscar (he did not)). She instead had to call him an “Armenian.”

It didn’t get any better. “It was horrible,” Sherman-Palladino continued. “I didn’t get to pick my staff … and I had a room full of people who all wanted to be on Friends and had no interest in writing on a show for two women in their 40s who were not hot … every pitch was a fat joke. It was constant. I had no control over the room because these people had no loyalty to me.”

One of the writers on that staff, in fact, was a “serial rapist. He’s in jail. Eric Weinberg. And the weird thing about Eric is, you could look at him and know he was a serial rapist … no one misses him.”

“It was toxic. He was there, and the young men worshiped him, and it was an endless beating your head against the wall trying to make that show good. He was a dick, but also Kirstie [Alley] was Kirstie, and she had her own belief system, and [the writers] didn’t appreciate that belief system.”

But, she added, “The show could’ve been something terrific if anyone had given a shit. The talent was right there.” Unfortunately, things only got worse when the trades announced her replacement midway through the season, while Sherman-Palladino still had the first season to complete. “It was abusive … it was an evil place. It was horrible … It was too ugly.”

There is a happy ending, though. After she left, Amy Sherman-Palladino went home and — when she wasn’t watching Ed Norton make out with Courtney Love outside of her window (Norton lived across the street) — she wrote Gilmore Girls, although she did bad mouth the final season of that series, of which she was not a part.

Source: WTF with Marc Maron