Coming off of her work on Big Mouth, showrunner Kelly Galuska knew that creating the monsters would be the most important part of Human Resources. From Emmy the Lovebug (Aidy Bryant) to Petra the Ambition Goblin (Rosie Perez), Galuska and her team of writers had their work cut out for them.
Human Resources follows the world of monsters associated with human emotions introduced in Netflix’s other adult animated sitcom, Big Mouth. The workplace comedy involves monsters assigned to adults as the representations of their feelings, like the Lovebugs, Logic Rocks, Hormone Monsters, and Ambition Goblins. The penultimate episode of the season, “It’s Almost Over”, follows Yara (Nidah Barber), an ailing grandmother with Alzheimer’s, as Walter the Lovebug (Brandon Kyle Goodman) comes to terms with the loss.
While the humans were the main focus in Big Mouth, Human Resources‘ focus on the diverse cast of monsters allowed for more personal stories about human emotions. In “It’s Almost Over”, Galuska and her writers told a deeply personal story about love and loss.
DEADLINE: There’s already such an expansive amount of these monsters in Big Mouth, how do you come up with more?
KELLY GALUSKA: That’s the thing that’s so fun about Human Resources; the number of emotions and feelings that human beings have are endless. So there are always more to explore, but the Lovebugs and the Logic Rock were the first ones we started with. Ultimately the show is about love more than anything else, so our way in is with the Lovebugs. But then as we went, the stories we decided to tell often grew new characters out of them. For instance, we wanted to do this episode about death, and ultimately that episode is about grief. So, it only made sense that such a powerful emotion needed to be represented in a character, and that’s how we came up with Keith from Grief, who Henry Winkler epitomizes so beautifully. He is a cozy sweater of a man, so that was lucky.
DEADLINE: I’m curious about how that character came to evolve, because it does start as a very apologetic character, and then begins to get more aggressive as he is ignored.
GALUSKA: Totally. In the room, we talk very deeply about our own lives, and that’s a lot of what ends up in the show. We talked about how grief is scary, because when you pay it attention, then you have to feel these bad feelings and you have to think about this deep sadness that you’re going to have, or that you have already. So, in the world of animation, we can show that if you ignore grief, grief gets bigger and bigger and bigger and is scary. But ultimately grief is who he was in the very beginning, which is a comfort and something that gets you through a terrible situation, not something that makes that situation worse. So that was sort of how he evolved to both grow and shrink back down to being this sensitive being.
DEADLINE: That episode with Keith from Grief, “It’s Almost Over”, is the one being chosen for Emmy consideration. What made that episode so special for you?
GALUSKA: I think it’s a very personal episode for a lot of us in the room. I have dealt with a grandfather with Alzheimer’s and many other writers in our room have experiences with dementia in their families. To me, starting the show with birth and wanting to show all of life and almost ending the season with death showed the beauty in death and her life. It’s important how we showed the point of view of Yara, the woman who was going through this and how she was a full person. I think so often when we think of elderly people, we don’t think about how that person that was a child once.
That was a woman who was passionately in love and had this amazing life. I think showing the full personhood of her was something that we all feel very proud of. And really showing that love, represented by Walter the Lovebug being passed on to her granddaughter in her death, just shows that when people are gone, they’re not really gone. That’s something that Human Resources uniquely could show because we have these representatives of emotion. It’s a very special episode to all of us, and it was exciting that it was special to other people who watched it too.