How Amanda Peet Prepared for Her First Writing Venture on ‘The Chair’
Netflix’s The Chair has started its first season excellently. The show starring Sandra Oh in the lead role has great reviews from critics and audiences alike.
The show is David Benioff and DB Weiss’s first attempt at a TV series after the debacle that was Game of Thrones season 8. And the show’s been doing great — a redemption of sorts for the duo.
However, the comedy-drama isn’t just their accomplishment. Amanda Peet, a famous actress and Benioff’s wife, has to be given equal, if not more, credit for how the show has turned out.
The show’s reception among the audience is even more impressive given this is Peet’s first-ever venture behind the camera — this is her first attempt at writing and running a TV show.
But how did she do it? How did Peet come up with and create a hit TV show on her first try?
The Idea For ‘The Chair’ Came Up by Accident
The Chair is a comedy show, but that in no way means it doesn’t deal with some of the most burning issues of our day. The show deals with the grave and often controversial issue of campus “cancel culture” as well as others such as micro-aggressions and white privilege.
Peet was the origin of the idea of the show. But she had a lot of help along her writing way.
The actress-turned-writer came up with the idea while writing another show. She was trying to create a rom-com for Jay Duplass, another actor in the 6-episode series.
She tapped into a wider story about a conflict between different ideologies in the workplace and the generational gap between people adhering to similar ideologies.
Then, she turned it into a comedy — seems like that happened naturally considering she got her initial break in the industry through comedy. Some of her first jobs were on Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show.
Amanda Peet Had To Do A Lot Of Academic Research
After the initial idea came the part where she had to research for her script. And treading academics wasn’t a big deal for her, given her background.
Peet was brought up by a psychiatrist in New York. She reportedly had her own analysis sessions at 14 and went to Columbia University in Manhattan.
Nevertheless, she was “intellectually intimidated” when she started talking to academics for the show. First, she worked with Annie Julia Wyman, a former Harvard and Cambridge academic, to fine-tune her approach for the show.
She also talked to a lot of other academics. After the initial jitters, she was met with a lot of positivity and willingness from the academics she was talking to.
A lot of them spoke to her about their experiences in academia — the issues with tenures, experiences with students, and the system as a whole. These all expanded the possibilities for the show.
The show manages to capture the menial and seemingly trivial jobs that go on campuses while also portraying real-life issues such as anger, frustration, and mislabeling.
All these have resulted in a show that has won the hearts of almost everyone who has watched it.
With a Metacritic score of 73 (no negative reviews), 88% Average Tomatometer, an 82% average audience score, and 7.3 out of 10 IMDb ratings, The Chair is a certified hit.