Obliterated Interview: Series Creators on Their Raunchy Comedy Roots

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Obliterated creators Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald about the Netflix action comedy series. The trio spoke about returning to their R-rated roots with the show and the lessons they’ve learned from making Cobra Kai. Obliterated is now streaming on Netflix.

“Obliterated is a high-octane action-comedy that tells the story of an elite special forces team who thwarts a deadly threat to Las Vegas,” reads the series‘ official synopsis. “After their celebratory party, filled with booze, drugs, and sex, the team discovers that the bomb they deactivated was a fake. The now intoxicated team has to fight through their impairments, overcome their personal issues, find the real bomb, and save the world.”

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Tyler Treese: John, you and Hayden directed the pilot. Can you speak to the importance of setting the tone strongly in that first episode and delivering that crazy action and sense of humor? It never lets up from there.

Jon Hurwitz: Well, that was the key. With a new show like this … there’s never been a show exactly like this. We wanted to set the tone from the beginning, so we have the big action, but we wanted to start with a party. We started with the fun and have a big action set piece that’s mixed in with the party. Then, from there, there’s the real party. They think they’ve saved the day.

It was going back to all of our hard R-rated comedy roots and pulling out all the old tricks in a whole new kind of way. Go real far with it, but keep that tension going throughout the realization slowly dawning upon them that the threat is still there. Once they find out that the nuke that they stopped at the beginning was a fake and they’re back on the clock, blending drunk, messed up characters and a big high-stakes mission, it was really riding that line to keep the intensity there, but also keep the fun.

You’re definitely going to your roots here. Hayden, there’s a lot more adult humor here than Cobra Kai, obviously. I don’t think people are prepared for how many they’re going to see in this series. How great was not having any shackles? You’re on streaming, so you guys are able to go all out. I don’t think there were any outrageous ideas that didn’t go into this first season.

Hayden Schlossberg: There are some in Cobra Kai that we cut out. (Laughs). The truth is that Cobra Kai is such a heartwarming family show. It’s something different than anything that we’ve done before. We come from … our roots are Harold & Kumar, Hot Tub Time Machine, American Pie — those types of movies. With Obliterated, we’re coming off of two seasons of Cobra Kai, and we were just like, “We are pent up.” We wanted to just go full force and return to that Hangover, R-rated, American Pie kind of vibe that we grew up on.

Through Cobra Kai, we’ve done a lot of fight sequences and stuff, so we love the idea of merging big action with that hard-R comedy. You don’t really see a lot of that today. When we merge the two of them together, it’s kind of taking the best of what we did from Cobra Kai and all the fun stuff that we did back in the day.

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Josh, can you speak to merging and what lessons you learned from Cobra Kai that you were able to really use here? It is totally very different, but you do see part of that Cobra Kai DNA here.

Josh Heald: The biggest lesson I think we’ve learned is just juggling so many different characters with differing POVs that you want to be shifting the camera and shifting the story without losing the narrative. Cobra Kai has grown into a massive cast at this point where we have like 12 or 13 or beyond the series regulars, and you want to be able to tell all these stories and juggle it without feeling like it’s just disconnected.

Having that muscle of all of that interconnectivity just helped us tell this story that is on a much smaller timeline. A season of Cobra Kai doesn’t span that many months, but it’s at least months, Whereas a season of Obliterated is 24 hours and you have to feel that adrenaline. You have to feel that story drive, you have to feel that character drive, and you have to feel that interpersonal dynamic that works so well on both series.

John, the final season of Cobra Kai is coming up. You guys have been writing it. I was curious if you guys always knew where it would end up or if the ending has changed as the series developed

Jon Hurwitz: A little bit of both. When we first started writing Cobra Kai, we had our vision for where we would land some of these characters. But as you work on the show and you take the characters on different twists and turns, there are elements from our initial plans that are a hundred percent in there and certain scenes that we’ve been talking about for years. But it has evolved in all sorts of ways now that we have such a robust cast and we’ve gotten to know all these actors. We think we have really fun and fulfilling places to take these characters in Season 6.