How Do You Describe the Indescribable? Simply say, NOW APOCALYPSE
— March 8, 2019
By BILL HARRIS
Special to The Lede
Try to describe NOW APOCALYPSE. It’s a dare. You first, creator Gregg Araki:
“To me, it was very SEX AND THE CITY meets TWIN PEAKS, with an alien,” Araki said at the recent Television Critics Association winter tour. “That's kind of how I described it.”
That actually paints a pretty fair picture of NOW APOCALYPSE, an intensely unusual sexual-comedy that makes its debut on STARZ and Crave on Sunday, March 10.
Canadian Avan Jogia plays Ulysses, a millennial whose stagnated life in Los Angeles consists mainly of dating-app debates and constant sexual adventures (occasionally misadventures). Locked in different but similar stages of repetitive existence are Ulysses’ best friend Carly (Kelli Berglund), his roommate Ford (Beau Mirchoff), and Ford’s girlfriend Severine (Roxane Mesquida).
The ups and downs of the characters’ day-to-day shenanigans notwithstanding, Ulysses’ increasingly troubled dreams make him wonder if there actually is something bigger at hand. Perhaps a dark and monstrous, even reptilian, conspiracy?
“The show is about friends in Los Angeles who are looking for love on apps, and my character is so stoned that he thinks there might be aliens in the dating scene,” says Jogia, taking his own shot at summarizing NOW APOCALYPSE. “It turns out, (Ulysses) is like, ‘that makes a lot of sense to me.’ ”
Araki co-wrote NOW APOCALYPSE with Karley Sciortino, who writes Vogue’s online sex and relationship column, Breathless. Sciortino is also the executive producer and host of the documentary series SLUTEVER, which is also available on Crave.
Araki, an influential filmmaker since the early 1990s, says the general theme of impending doom hanging over regular people has been evident in a lot of his work through the decades, such as White Bird in a Blizzard and Mysterious Skin. But he loves other kinds of stories, too, and NOW APOCALYPSE is a combination of a lot of things.
“I’m very interested in that sort of SEX AND THE CITY, GIRLS, INSECURE, kind of HBO, R-rated, sex-comedy genre,” Araki explains. “But I feel like, in 2019, you can’t really do that show any more, because it’s so done, that you run out of story so quickly. You hit a dead end with the characters, and everybody has slept with everybody, and everybody has cheated on everybody, and now it’s Season 2, and there’s nothing left to do.”
“So for me, with the whole alien, UFO conspiracy, there’s also a David Lynch-ian, creepy, almost supernatural aspect to this show. That's the wildcard, or the special sauce, that keeps it all, like, 'What is going on?' It’s set in a universe where almost anything can happen, and the show is super unpredictable. Imagine that the only limit is our imagination. That’s the show I wanted.”
Well, that’s the show he got.
“My life is extremely boring, people are shocked at how boring my life is, which is exactly how I want it to be, so then I can make these wild fantasies and create these things," Araki says.
According to Jogia, that juxtaposition led to an amusing exchange during the casting stage for NOW APOCALYPSE.
“When (Araki) sent me the script, he was like, 'Hey, I wrote this thing with you in mind.' And I was like, 'What do you think my life is?' ” Jogia recalls with a laugh.
“It’s escapism. I think there's something that's cool about, keep your life boring, and make your art interesting.”