SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains SPOILERS for Season 4 Episode 4 of What We Do in the Shadows. Proceed at your own risk.
What We Do In the Shadows, the hilarious TV series that grew out of the Taika Waititi/Jemaine Clement-directed movie of the same name, has outgrown its cinematic origins. Now in its fourth season, with a host of Emmy nominations (surely this year it’s got to win?), it’s recently been renewed for two more seasons as the vampire mockumentary continues to go from strength to strength.
And naturally, the longer it goes on, the closer we feel and the more involved we become with the ragtag bunch of nocturnal bloodsuckers (plus one energy-sucker and a human familiar bodyguard) as we learn more about the characters and their stories develop. We caught up with the main players of the show (who aren’t from the UK, since the British cast weren’t available to make the trip stateside) at San Diego Comic-Con where we discussed Baby Colin’s development; love for Guillermo and The Guide; Laszlo’s paternal instinct; and whether there could be a baby vampire on the horizon. Oh, and we couldn’t let them go without broaching that epic fight between Guillermo and Nandor…
First things first. Colin. We’ve seen young Colin embrace musical theatre and Laszlo nurture that (perhaps a little too zealously). As the nightclub crowds lap it up, it’s fair to wonder whether the energy vampire has evolved into something else. In essence, says Mark Proksch who plays Colin, he’s still the same old Colin who, in Proksch’s words, would have “a field day at Comic-Con.”
“You compact going through life changes into a season of a show,” says Proksch about Colin’s evolution. “For me, the question was, how well does he handle those changes in such a short period of time, and still stay Colin Robinson? And I think the writers did an incredible job with that.”
Jar Jar Binks Was Once Kermit the Frog
So, Colin Robinson is the same but different, and might change further under the influence of his parentage. More on that later. But what about his talents? He might have developed new ones — who knew he had it in him to become a star of musical theatre — but what about his former skillset, has it remained?
There’s a memorable moment in Season 3 Episode 5 when Colin Robinson does a Jar Jar Binks impersonation, designed to drain his victims’ energy and I wonder if the creature that clawed its way out of the abdominal cavity of Colin Robinson is still able to do that impression, and whether he’s added any others to his repertoire – particularly now he’s embraced life as an entertainer.
“Oh, boy. Jar Jar Binks — that came from me, because it was something I used to do to annoy my friends back in college,” says Proksch.
“In the script originally, it was Kermit the Frog,” interjects showrunner Paul Simms.
“Which I also did and have done previously to annoy my friends,” adds Proksch. “So it worked right in there. You know, I don’t think Baby Colin or Toddler Colin is too aware of pop culture yet, and so that also had to play into how I ad lib with him.”
A Laszlo-Nadja Baby?
Laszlo’s fatherly side has been brought to the fore since the ‘emergence’ of Baby Colin. Which got us thinking. What if Laszlo and Nadja had a baby?
“We’ve done a lot of discussion about whether that would be biologically possible for two undead people to have a baby,” says Simms. “And we don’t have an answer yet. But the interesting thing about Laszlo ending up being this father figure is that he seems the least likely to have any paternal instincts at all. He’s sort of, in his own way, the most self-centered and short-tempered of the vampires.
“But in the same way as the previous season where Laszlo became friendly with Colin and all the viewers were like, ‘That makes no sense; they would never be friends’, and then found out that there was a real reason for him being friends [with him] — because he knew Colin was about to die — it’s fun seeing such a gruff, irascible character like Laszlo [display] little moments of soft-heartedness.”
Let’s say theoretically that Laszlo and Nadja did have a baby. What would it be like?
“Probably a black piece of coal,” laughs Simms. “I don’t know how vampire biology works! I don’t know. We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes with Laszlo and Guillermo as co-parents of Baby Colin. We’ll see how Baby Colin turns out — that might give us an idea of what their baby would be like.”
Guillermo Vs Nandor
Ah, Guillermo. There’s a lot of fan speculation over whether Guillermo and Nandor are actually in love, and while Harvey Guillen who plays the put-upon familiar has shot down that theory before, we have to ask whether that fight at the Night Market between the two of them was a display of sexual frustration in part.
“I guess it could be,” says Guillen. “I think it’s just boiled up to this point, where it didn’t start off as trying to fight off Nandor, it was trying to get out of there alive. And the writers made this really great moment where he’s reminded that he did kill him or almost kill him once before and I was like, ‘Well, I let you win and he’s like, ‘No, no, you didn’t let me win; I’m pretty powerful’ and they go back and forth. And it gets real to the point.
“It could be frustration, but also this season we show that two men can be affectionate towards each other and love each other and not necessarily make it physical and be in a relationship that’s, you know, dating or whatnot. Will they in the future? I don’t know. Maybe. That’s a Paul [Simms] question. But for now, he’s happy to be on his own road and find love the way that he wants to find love. And he does in future episodes — he may or may not … we can talk about how he finds his own version of what his first love is, and how that turns out is for us to find out.”
So does this mean that Vampiric Council representative, The Guide, played by Kristen Schaal, will be left broken-hearted? She’s holding a candle for Guillermo…
“Yeah, always,” says Schaal. “She’s gonna be alone and sad. I think she can’t give into her attraction for Guillermo though, because obviously, that’s not right. She can’t love this bad boy ‘cos he’ll kill her. But I think they’re gonna be friends. I mean, I don’t want to sexually harass Guillermo too much on the show, but probably a little bit more.”
Schaal says that there’s another amongst the group that The Guide is really fond of, which explains in part why she doesn’t just give up on the group and go and do something else, or be somewhere else.
“At the beginning, she was working for the vampiric Council. And then in Season 3, they got bestowed the Vampiric Council leadership. And so she had to stay in because of her punishment from hooking up with slayers,” says Schaal. “But then after that, I think there is a real, genuine affection between — well, not even between, [but] from her towards Nadja. I think Nadja’s just sort of killing the game, and she is enjoying being in her presence while it’s happening. And I think she is looking for a family somewhere. Otherwise, she could just start hanging out with her wraiths, which I think are also really good… they are her crew. But you know, she’s ready to branch out a little bit.”
This is interesting, because there’s a fan theory that believes The Guide is trying to use Guillermo to bring the vampires down.
The Guide Was Almost Evil
“You know what, actually, I think early on at one point we discussed is The Guide evil and is she actually trying to break them apart?” says Simms. “And then we’re like no, we like Kristen too much. It’s also more fun to see The Guide be this vampire who’s kind of lonely; who’s spent 200 years sitting there taking care of this old building just waiting for someone to be around and suddenly have all these fun vampires around who maybe don’t embrace her as much as she would like. That’s also the fun of seeing her be Nadja’s right-hand person running the nightclub — seeing the thrill of having a new friend.”
Schaal adds, “It’s also fun thinking about them like, these vampires don’t behave like normal humans because they’re immortal. So I think their pacing of relationships is on a different track than most people. Every choice they make is going to be a little different than what we would do. Nadja can take her time, and the guy can take their time being friends because they have all of the time.”
Except for Guillermo, of course, who is human and has, as Simms puts it, “an expiration date.” Unless Nandor relents and makes him a vampire, that is.
As for Nadja, presumably, she’ll spend eternity continuing to enjoy what she once revealed to be her favourite TV show – Priests Falling Over. Could a spinoff series be in order?
“We could get at least a season and a half out of that,” says Simms. “I think Nadja would particularly enjoy it. Wasn’t there a scene in The Exorcist where a priest falls down the stairs? Yeah, that’s right where she lives. That’s her kind of thing.”
Strap yourself in for that spinoff series coming to a streamer near you in the future.