Fox’s Cooper Barrett’s Guide To Surving Life began its 13-episode run on January 3, preceded by the December 21 online premiere of the pilot, and so it is that the cast and producers came to TCA to talk about the show.
The single-camera series draws heavily from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Hangover series, with frequent fourth-wall breaking and an action-comedy orientation, but the center of the show is an attempt to capture that phase of life after formal education but before one actually has one’s, er, life together. The panel frequently touched on that topic. with co-star James Earl joking that he still doesn’t have it together before admitting that for him, the first real adult goal he had was to stop needing roommates. Series lead Jack Cutmore-Scott also talked about his moving to New York City from London after finishing college, and how much of a relief it was to discover that he wasn’t alone, that almost no one he knew had any kind of plan for how to actually accomplish their goals.
Meanwhile, about the close-knit friendships depicted on the show, co-executive producer Bill Callahan described it thusly: “When you’re 22, most people aren’t in relationships, so your family and the people you’re loyal to are your friends.”
One of the standout gags from Cooper Barrett’s Guide is the pet pig the main characters adopt early on and name after James Franco. Asked where that came from, series creator and executive producer Jay Lacopo said he’d seen a photo of a woman in Santa Monica in a newspaper who had a pot-bellied pig for a pet and couldn’t get the image out of his head. Meanwhile, co-star Justin Bartha quipped that the real James Franco was unavailable, forcing them to hire the pig.