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Web Series Spotlight: ‘Whole Day Down’ Enlists Willie Garson and Patrick Breen for the Artpocalypse

Aymar Jean Christian December 2, 2011 Features 2 Comments

Willie and Patrick had an idea — and it was not for a web series.

“We should open a gallery…. I have an art history degree. Fuck pilot season. I’m sensing a whole new direction for me….for, ugh, us,” Willie says.

“And I can wipe my father-in-law’s face in the excrement of his own mediocrity,” Patrick replies.

Willie and Patrick are only “slightly lamer versions” of Willie Garson and Patrick Breen, two actors who have been working in the business for a combined 50 years. Garson is best known for his role as Mozzie on White Collar and Stanford on Sex and the City. Breen too has a Sex and the City credit and was mostly recently seen on The Good Wife, though he too has dozens of other credits.

In their new web series, Whole Day Down, which Breen co-created with Tai Fauci (Palisades Pool Party), the two actors play out-of-work actors who decide to make a big career shift and start a gallery. Without start-up funds, they instead get permission to use a space one day a month — hence the title. The gallery is owned by Patrick’s unforgiving father-in-law, Mr. G (Dan Fauci), but the two get permission with the help of his wife Nadine (Elisa Donovan, who many will remember from Clueless and web series aficionados know from In Gayle We Trust).

The dark comedy is right on trend with the revival of quirk and pathos in the TV sitcom — i.e., Louie and 30 Rock, among others. Asked about their inspiration for the show, Breen cited Flight of the Concords and The Twilight Zone, while Fauci was a little more…expansive.

“The Mayan Calendar, the Earth’s reversing polarity, ‘The Holy Virigin Mary’ by Chris Ofili and The Critic starring Jon Lovitz,” she said.

Below you’ll find episode one and a very cheeky interview with Fauci, Breen and Garson about self-parody, satirizing the art world and the future of Mozzie on White Collar!

 

How did Whole Day Down materialize?

Willie Garson: This came about because we all love each other and have known and worked together basically since birth, mixed with Patrick’s and Tai’s creativity, and a chance to do something fun together.

Tai Fauci: My dad (Dan Fauci) pitched Patrick and I ‘short film satirizing the art world,’ and he wanted us to write it. Since I was currently dabbling in web entertainment, I suggested we make it into a web series. We ran with it from there all the way to the artpocalypse.

From Top: Patrick Breen, Tai Fauci, Willie Garson.

Patrick Breen: And I’m very lazy and have a short attention span, so writing anything over 8 pages is a challenge.

In your mind, what’s the message of the series, if any?

WG: The message, to me, is that pretentious people should never take themselves too seriously, except of course, if you are me, then it is valid.

PB: Any imperative warning is written in a forgotten language which will be translated only after the disaster has struck.

TF: Translation: The end is nigh.

How did you establish the idiosyncratic tone of the show?

TF: We created subtle speech patterns which we used to subliminally implant cockamamie ideas into the heads of our cast & crew.

PB: And my megalomaniacal insistence on getting my way.

What inspired you as actors and creators? (TV series, films, current/personal events, etc.).

PB: South Park, Twilight Zone, Flight of the Concords.

TF: The Mayan Calendar, the Earth’s reversing polarity, ‘The Holy Virigin Mary’ by Chris Ofili and The Critic starring Jon Lovitz.

WG: Basically what makes US laugh, that’s always a good starting point, that hopefully others will find amusing.

WDD parodies a lot of things, including the art world. What are your perspectives on contemporary art?

WG: Contemporary art is always a ripe target, but as art lovers, in real life, we tread the fine line, you never know what will be considered ‘genius’ later, although the situations Patrick and Tai come up with are generally safe from becoming art ‘movements.’

PB: It’s important that artists attempt to give form and substance to the zeitgeist, unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a hopeful future.

TF: Art constantly pushes the envelope and on occasion takes a dump in the envelope and mails it to your home. Take note that above the return address on that envelope, it reads Whole Day Down.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

WG: Just shooting White Collar and raising my son (who appears in episodes), and working on my reality show, which I sadly cannot talk about yet.

TF: Mostly Tai for hire and trying to feng shui my fallout shelter on the weekends.

PB: Unemployment.

Do you have plans for more WDD?

PB: We hope to finish a 13 episode season that takes us to the brink of The Apocalypse, somewhere between the opening of 6th and 7th seal, coinciding with the announcement of The 2013 Turner Prize.

TF: Absolutely, if we can get through these contract negotiations with Mr. Garson. It is the NBA lockout but ten times worse.

Your previous series, Palisades Pool Party, was a very different kind of show. What led you to this project, which is more “grown-up” (at least in the most superficial way)?

TF: Researching the inner workings of the modern teenager resulted in me constantly using words like ‘LIKE,’ ‘OMIGOD’ and ‘BFF.’ I could feel my brain deteriorating. Creating Whole Day Down was number seven in my twelve step recovery process. Offbeat humor saves.

Elisa Donovan

Both of you have had very long, productive careers but are mostly known for smaller roles in big projects. Was WDD a way to give yourselves meatier roles?

WG: Actors don’t really think in those terms, only interviewers do, we both have been fortunate enough to work for a VERY long time, in tons of different roles, we just like the chance to all work with each other.

PB: Yes, Both Willie and I had large roles as gallery owners in the movie Pooty Tang but were cut out in a sort of apocalypse of editing. WDD is mostly a revenge project.

Your characters appear to be slightly more extreme versions of yourselves. Where do the lines between character and actor disappear?

WG: We are both playing just slightly lamer versions of ourselves, the lame truths bubbling right below the reality of our daily lives.

PB: When we began we thought we were playing characters then, since we’re both very lazy it was easier to just play ourselves and use stuff that has actually happened. Willie did get my girlfriend pregnant a few decades ago. so we thought we’d use that.

Your character on White Collar is a fan favorite, but as of the latest finale, his presence on the show is in question. Can you let us in on what’s in store for Mozzie?

WG: Sadly, we just never know, but we trust our writers completely…the next episodes of WC have us wondering where our priorities lie.

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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.

2 Comments

  1. Valerie December 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I want to know if there’s room in Tai’s fallout shelter for a performance art exhibit I have in mind? ;)

    I love this webseries. It makes me actually laugh out loud!

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