Horrific and Bubblicious

Catching up with the 'Holliston' gum gag

'That's my Bubblicious!' Joe Lynch (l) and Adam Green on the streets of FEARnet's 'Holliston'
'That's my Bubblicious!' Joe Lynch (l) and Adam Green on the streets of FEARnet's 'Holliston' (Image courtesy of FEARnet)

So if you caught the second episode of FEARnet's new sitcom Holliston on Tuesday, you'll have seen what we're going to call the gum gag.

In a show that has yet to exhibit fear of bodily fluids, this may be the finest (or at least stickiest) moment yet. The key prop is a piece of bubble gum, which is passed mouth-to-mouth between the cast.: First it goes from Joe Lynch to co-star Laura Ortiz, who then passes it to show creator Adam Green, who spits it directly in the mouth of Corri English. No special effects, no stunt gum, just four actors prepared to share one stick of watermelon Bubblicious.

Green and Lynch talked to the Chronicle just before episode one debuted, and the chat turned to that infamous candy. Now we're ready to share the horrible, bubbly truth about that moment.

Austin Chronicle: Gotta ask about the gum gag

Adam Green: Gag being the appropriate word.

AC: How many times did you have to do that?

AG: We did it about five times. The spit in the mouth was once, and that was improv'd. The whole scene we shot five times, and each time we really passed the gum to each other. One of the things we thought about after the fact was that we should at least have used some mint gum, not watermelon Bubblicious, because it was the slimiest, most disgusting … The very first time we did, my character's in my room when Joe gives it to Laura, but I walk out and say 'Give it.' I could see this look in her eyes of terror and apology, and I'm like, 'What's wrong?' And she spits it out and you see this strand of saliva come with it, and I think, 'Holy shit, I have to put this in my mouth.' With Corri, the very last take we did I just went for it and said, 'Oh, do you want some gum?' and pointed at my mouth and she went, 'Oh my god, he's really going to spit this in my mouth.' If you ever go back and look at it again, you can see it register in her eyes that I'm really going to do this. We nailed it first time, and then she blew a bubble right afterwards! That was one of those days that we were really on our game.

Joe Lynch: And the fact that no-one broke. The fact that we were so quote-unquote professional, that we were all trying to crack each other up in the best way possible, that would make the show better, like that moment. That was just a moment that you can't get unless you completely trust each other as performers and trust everyone else not to crack up. I saw it out of the corner of my eye and once we left I burst into laughter. Everybody did. But if we had broken by going 'Oh my god, that's disgusting' then that whole thing would have been ruined and we'd never have had that moment in the show. I go, 'Oh my god, I feel terrible for everybody because I'm the originator of this moment and it's all going to come from my disgusting, abscess-infused mouth.' So here I'm spitting that gum out like Craig T Nelson in Poltergeist 2 with that tequila monster, just bleeeeurgh, and Laura takes it, and then it's got to go to Adam, and then it's got to go to Corri. One of the things that gets a little lost, and that's just because of timing and the way we structured the show, is that we always wanted to do one take in one take. When we were filming the show we were doing 12 to 15 pages a day. People say 'Oh my god' but that's not really a big deal when you consider that we're staging it like a play. So we're all doing these huge scenes in one take, so it's not stopping and starting and stopping and starting like a movie. We never did pick-ups. And the whole gum thing is at the tail end, so we've got two or three pages of lines, then the gum thing, then that whole scene plays out and then we leave. So doing it five times, you wish that there was one take, even on the DVD or something, where you could show point A to point B to point C to point D, 'Holy crap they really did it.' It still comes across but, man, that's dedication to a crew and a crowd.

AG: I think they're doing that on the DVD.

JL: Woo-hoo!

AG: It will show the whole thing from one angle, so that you see that we did the whole thing and there was no cutting and it was awful.

The first two episodes of Holiston are available now on iTunes. New episodes screen on FEARnet at 9.30pm Central on Tuesdays.

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