With Netflix’s New Series ‘Uncoupled,’ Darren Star Continues Pushing TV’s Boundaries

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And we see that in the parallels between Michael and [his newly separated client] Claire.

Absolutely. That’s a big reason why we wanted a character like Claire in there, but also just to widen out the world — I mean, not to make it just solely about gay men. And I love writing female characters, so I couldn’t do a show like this and not have Claire — played by Marcia Gay Harden, who is just a gift and a national treasure, as far as I’m concerned. I wanted to draw that parallel, but also be able to tell somebody else’s story because breakups are just— they’re universal.

Right. But at the same time, I’m old enough to remember when it was a reported news story that a kiss between Matt and a friend of Billy’s had been cut from the Season 2 finale of Melrose Place. And now today, we’re seeing Michael fool around with different men, he’s talking about Grindr, and there’s a scene with a dermatologist that is going to be very memorable. When you were starting out at Fox, did you ever think these were aspects of queer life that would ever be portrayed on TV at all, never mind in a project that you made?

From that point in time, 30 years ago to now, 100%, absolutely. The world has moved on. And even at the time when Matt Fielding was on Melrose Place, there was a relatively, I would say, hypocritical stance in Hollywood, where gay people were living their lives in a very open way, but when it came to advertisers and talking about it to middle America, a corporate iron curtain came down in terms of saying, “We’re not really going to dramatize the truth of your lives right now because we’re afraid of the advertisers.”

That was 30 years ago. After gay marriage and everything, I think the world is more than ready to embrace a show like this.

One of the buzziest shows of this summer so far has been The Bear, set at a restaurant. You got to that setting first with Kitchen Confidential. [Star’s Bradley Cooper-starring adaptation of Anthony Bourdain’s classic memoir was canceled midway through its first season.]Were there stories you had especially hoped to tell if you’d had more time with Kitchen Confidential?

Well, I think the problem with Kitchen Confidential is ultimately that it was just on the wrong network. It was on a broadcast network. All the things we couldn’t say are exactly the things we would want to say in a show like Kitchen Confidential. So, as much as Fox, at the time, was eager to put it on the air, they were also quickly eager to cancel it the minute the ratings weren’t there. Network TV is a ratings-dependent business. And that’s despite the fact that the show starred Bradley Cooper — who I had a tremendous amount of belief and faith in, and I felt so lucky to be working with him because I knew he was going to be a big star. It was disappointing not to have the chance to tell the stories in the way we really wanted to tell them. It might have been a different story had that show been on HBO or Showtime. But I’m looking forward to seeing The Bear, because it sounds like they really got it right.

You created Beverly Hills, 90210, one of the most enduring teen dramas in TV history. Do you keep an eye on what’s going on in that genre, either as a TV creator or as the dad to a tween?

No. I’m afraid to watch. Being a dad to a tween, I’m a little nervous about watching the HBO show. Now I’m just blanking on the name of it.

Oh: Euphoria.

Euphoria. Everybody talks about it, but it just makes me nervous to even look at it. I don’t really follow the genre. I mean, except for the fact that I will be watching Euphoria, just to see how scary things really are.



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