This year’s Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award winners will be announced on April 22. We’ve been catching up with many of the writers nominated in the comedy and drama categories. Todd and the Book of Pure Evil‘s Craig David Wallace is nominated (along with Ian Malone and Charles Picco) for their episode “B.Y.O.B.O.P.E.”
Can you describe the episode “B.Y.O.B.O.P.E.” and how it fit into the Todd & the Book of Pure Evil season
In case you haven’t figured it out, “B.Y.O.B.O.P.E.” stands for Bring Your Own Book Of Pure Evil. For the longest time it was just called the House Party Episode, but then Ian came up with the most excellent title. We always wanted to do an episode that takes place entirely at a house party, especially since the show pretty much always took place at Crowley High. This was a pretty big episode in the mythology of the show: It’s where Todd loses his virginity, and where the gang find out that the only thing keeping Todd from becoming Pure Evil is him losing his virginity, so of course, hilarity ensues. It was also really unique in that the Book Of Pure Evil affects all these people in the background, but the gang is so caught up in their own stuff that they never even realize it, which was a real challenge to write but really satisfying. But the real memory of this episode is that it was one of the few that we shot on location – we took over a family’s house in Winnipeg, and it was a total blast for all of us to shoot.
What was the biggest triumph in this particular episode?
Oh so many things. But what I will always remember is being on set and needing a real button on the scene where Wanda is watching a dude chug down a beer and asks him “What else can you do with that mouth?” Literally, all the writers were on the back porch arguing about what it could be, and Charles kept pitching “I can suck my own dick.” He would not back down. Eventually, I said “Fine, he can say ‘I can suck my own dick’ but then the crowd has to cheer.” Charles went in to tell Warren Sonoda (the director of the episode), and he gave Charles a puzzled look and asked “Seriously?” Charles insisted, so Warren told the actor, who looked at Warren and asked “Seriously?” Warren shrugged, and they shot it, and it was AWESOME. At that moment I realized that I was working on the best show in the entire universe, and I would never have it this good ever again. So yeah, it’s bittersweet. Oh, and I get to say I was nominated for an episode where I wrote “It doesn’t count if he puts it in her bum, everyone knows that.” Now that is a once in a lifetime achievement.
What does this recognition mean to you?
Well, I won this award last year, so to be nominated again is mind-blowing. But even better this year, my co-writer on this episode Ian Malone is nominated along with me, and also Charles Picco who broke the initial story with us. And there’s so many contributions from the other writers from the show (Max and Adam Reid, and Garry Campbell), the producers, and the cast and crew that it feels like we threw a big party and somehow got nominated for an award for it. But really, overall, it just makes me really proud of the work that we did on the show as a whole. It was such a great experience and such a great show, and I really miss working with everyone involved.
If there was one Canadian show that is no longer on the air that you could see honored at this year’s awards, what would it be? (If you have a specific episode, even better).
It’s a bit of a trend that ONLY shows that are no longer on the air are nominated in the Comedy category at the WGC awards. Last year there were five shows nominated and they were all off the air, and this year only two shows (Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil and Less Than Kind) are nominated and both shows are over. But as much as I’m proud and excited to have an episode which I co-wrote be nominated this year, I really feel that our musical episode this year “Two Girls One Tongue” was unfairly passed over. It is by far the most jaw-dropping piece of crazy daring and just plain out there writing I have ever seen on television. The writer of the episode Charles Picco is sheer genius, and you put him together with Shawn Pierce, our amazing composer who wrote the music and James Genn who directed the episode, and it’s magic. MAGIC!