By Chase Scheinbaum
Published: 2019.04.01 06:44 PM
Josh Malmuth on the set of Abby’s | Photo courtesy of NBC
Abbyâ€™s,Â a new NBC sitcom set in a makeshift bar in South Park aired its first episode on March 29. Wouldnâ€™t you know it, the showâ€™s creator, Josh Malmuth, a veteran of comedy hit New Girl,Â is a son of San Diego, now living in L.A. The settingâ€”an unlicensed bar in a suburban backyardâ€”is more â€śCheersâ€ť than â€śBaywatch.â€ť
â€śI didnâ€™t want it to feel surf- or beach-centric,â€ť says the Carmel Valley native. â€śI wanted it to be a different side of San Diego maybe people hadnâ€™t seen before,â€ť We caught up with Malmuth to find out more.
I just love it there. Writing for TV, itâ€™s more practical to live in L.A., so maybe itâ€™s a way to keep one foot in San Diego. Thereâ€™s a really interesting mix of people down there. Youâ€™ve got the strong military influence, and also the younger generations who are doing really interesting things in food and beer. South Park is really multi-generational and diverse, I knew it would be a good setting for a show of people hanging out at the bar. I wanted to create this place where an audience could come and hang out and have a good timeâ€”San Diego has that feel built in.
Abby, the main character, was a marine. Thatâ€™s how she ended up in San Diego to begin with. Her stalwart regular is a guy named Fred who worked doing commercial fishing and deep sea fishing charters with tourists. Another character is an engineer who works at Qualcomm. I wanted it to feel relatable to people who arenâ€™t in San Diego also, so I tried to balance a specific sense of place with things everyone has in common.
A couple of people on the crew are from San Diego, and another one of the writers, Russ Finkelstein (Malmuthâ€™s fellow graduate of Torrey Pines High School). Russ used to a do a lot fishing and spearfishing, so he was my go-to person for that stuff.
We shot it outside, with an outdoor audience, which has never been done before. Part of the experience was dealing with planes, and a few skunks walked through the set when we were shooting.