A to Z: the abc of a relationship


Can you imagine meeting the love of your life before you officially meet her? He probable has. Andrew (Ben Feldman) seems to remember Zelda (Cristin Milioti) from a party, but she doesn’t know if she was that girl or if she wasn’t.

Anyway, in “A to Z” we are going to watch their dating life. That is why the show is a relationship comedy more than a romantic one, due to we are not going to watch a couple come together or seeing them resolve a rift. We are going to delve into the eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour that they date.

Social media is going to play an important part on the show, because Andrew works at an internet dating company and because they are going to talk about modern app dating.

In a conversation with The Outsider Argentina, Ben Queen, the creator of “A to Z”, spoke about the idea of the show, the characters and the first reaction of the audience.

How did you come up with the idea of the show “A to Z”?

I wanted to do a relationship comedy, something inspired by my experience with my wife and the idea of seeing something from beginning to end sounded like a fun idea. There’s been a lot of “will they or won’t they” rom-coms on t.v. It seemed like time to try another straight up relationship show. I also liked the idea that it would be comprehensive and the idea of learning about something from “A to Z” seemed to say it all – from soup to nuts, the whole deal. And then naming them Andrew and Zelda… it’s all very cutesy I suppose but the stories we are telling are much more grounded and realistic so I’m okay with that.

“A to Z” is more than a romantic comedy, how can you describe the show?

I pitched it as a relationship comedy. Most rom-com’s, by definition, are about watching a couple come together, or seeing them resolve a rift. A relationship comedy is about watching them date and all that stuff. That’s really what the show is. It’s taking a look at that period right after you meet someone and fall hard all the way through until the moment in which you are forced to make a commitment to that person or not. That’s the first season of the show – their dating life. The first season is the eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour that they date. After that we have a lot of fun things that will happen as well – if we’re still around. 🙂

How did you create the characters of Andrew and Zelda? Are they based on real people?

As I’d mentioned before, I started with my wife and I. The story of the pilot happened to my wife and I. We met, fell in love and then found out that we’d both been to the same concert years before. I remembered seeing a girl at that show and thinking “I wish I were here with her”. I put all my desires and wishes on this random girl who I didn’t go talk to. I’m convinced it was my wife. Her take on this was “Yeah, maybe it was me and maybe it wasn’t.” That was the creation of the two characters and the show.

What can you tell us about their friends?

Stu and Stephie are their best friends. Both will have their own relationship stories with other characters as the show goes on. The stories need friends and the ensemble of the show is really strong. Everyone on the show is grappling with love and relationships. In a perfect world, this show can stick around and we can turn it into a little bit of a “Love Actually” situation where we’re following everyone’s love lives.

Andrew seems to remember Zelda from a party, are we going to watch some flashbacks of their lives?

There are flashbacks in almost every episode, sometimes to their childhood, sometimes to revisit aspects of the same episode from different angles. Time is a fluid thing with the show and I love bouncing around. We’re trying to do so in a way that doesn’t feel completely like the “comedy pop” vernacular of sitcoms today but something that can flashback to deepen character, stuff like that.

Why did you decide to use a narrator in the story?

The Narrator was simply to help establish in the pilot the sense of importance that this couple has. I wanted a voice to tell the audience “This couple is special. They’re important. We’re not just showing you any couple.” Our Narrator (played by Katey Segal) says right up front that Andrew and Zelda are “one of the greats”. That makes me want to see what that means. I also wanted the Narrator to be omniscient and show us things about their relationship that even they do not know. I like the story behind the story. I want the audience to not be ahead of the story but to have some extra perspective sometimes. Katey is so good too. I’m lucky she’s doing this show.

Social media is an important part of the story, how will it interact in Andrew and Zelda’s relationship?

Andrew works at an internet dating company – something akin to Eharmony if it had been bought by Tinder. It’s a crazy company but we’re trying to talk about modern app dating which network shows are not doing now. We’re also trying to use social media as a way to tell story in a big way – not in any sort of cynical way to sell the show to be honest but as a way to portray real life for people in their 20’s. And we’re taking a lot of time, money and energy to make sure that when they use Waze they use Waze and when they post something it’s on Instagram and not “Flinstagram”. I want it to look at feel like reality – the more you feel you’re watching something that exists in the real world the more invested you are in the relationships.

The pilot was already released, how was the reaction of the audience?

I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback – there’s a lot of wonderful, passionate fans out there already. I hope they check out the show when it premieres on Oct 2 because they will not be disappointed.

“A to Z” premieres October 2 at 9:30/8:30c on NBC.

Samantha Schuster