‘Fairfax Season 2’: Why viewers shouldn’t watch once, but twice
Evil AI girlfriends, a city divided by a latrine and Off-Brian war, a dodgeball death, bathroom fires, a ride of dragons, parachuting, the werewolf Derica, a presumably dead Principal Weston, surprise appearances from Guy Fieri, with a school dance on top of the mix too. The 8-episode second season of Fairfaxwhich debuts on Prime Video Friday, June 10, pulls out all the stops as friends Dale, Derica, Truman and Benny enter another year of romance and sexual discovery.
“With everything on the show, we’ve always come to it from a half-love, half-fun place,” says Teddy Riley, who co-created the show with fellow executive producers and longtime friends Matthew Hausfater and Aaron Buchsbaum. “And as long as we stick with both sides, we’ve generally come out in the right place. That’s the beauty of comedy.
He continues, “And we’ve all been through all of that, so we have the hindsight to be able to laugh at those awkward moments and touch those places in an animated show that were maybe very sensitive.”
Season 1 centered on a new kid in town – Dale – finding his people in middle school and the gang embarking on a quest to become influential influencers. With stranded orcas, concerts dedicated to pollution, a worldwide search for golden Doritos and ruthless political campaigns over school spirit, the first season ended with Dale, Derica, Truman and Benny returning from a successful day to visit Latrine’s COO with their hero Hiroki, to experience the block’s new obsession with “Off-Brian”, a brand created by former Hiroki employee Brian.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Buchsbaum said. “It looks like we’re still on the release of our first season right now. The joy of it all bled well in the press for the second season. And it was such a relief to have a fresh tomato on tomatoes We have a scene at the end of our first season where JB Smoove says something like, “If it’s not certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, I’m gonna be pissed!” We really announced it, so God thanks, it was Certified Fresh.
Riley adds, “Most of the criticism either came from people who totally understood what we were looking for, or from a group of people saying, ‘This is woke leftist bullshit. And we’re like, ‘I think we scratched a nerve.’ But it was awesome. Especially seeing the people who have connected to it all over the world.
In the new season, a war rages between the Loyalists of Latrine and the Defenders of Off-Brian. Meanwhile, the four ride-or-die friends face a possible split from their own when Truman’s AI girlfriend threatens to disband the team.
“Let’s be honest, most of our decisions as kids are in some way the result of who we have crushes on and what interests our crush,” Buchsbaum says. “For all those things we like to say about ‘culture,’ the root always comes back to those raw emotions you feel as a kid. We just give it our little twist and really let it live and marinate in the world of Fairfax. It allows you to explore it all and have fun with it and have a conversation about it, but also have a laugh about the fact that, again, this girlfriend is the product of Welch’s attempt to market to the children.
The second season also touches on an extremely relevant topic of “performative grief”, when Principal Weston, a normally hated authority figure, is announced as presumed dead.
“We had a great conversation with our writers about this around the time Kobe Bryant died, and it was also on the heels of Nipsey Hussle and David Bowie, just talking about how everyone is felt so obligated to post something on Instagram as soon as someone died,” says Buchsbaum. “And it was kind of a race to see who could post first.”
Riley adds, “The sadder you are, the more likes you get. There was this very rewarding system that we started to see and a pattern of behavior, regardless of fame.
Buchsbaum continues, “And that led us to this place: ‘How does performative mourning manifest in Fairfax?’ Clearly, Principal Weston is someone everyone can agree he hates. He dies and all of a sudden it’s this race to see who loves him more or loved him the most and had the best relationship with him.
From the beginning, Fairfax – produced by Emmy Award-winning animation production studio Titmouse (Midnight Gospel, Star Trek: Lower Decks) and artist Somehoodlum — took comedic jabs at influential culture and celebrates the inclusive nature of the Gen Z community through stories that can be told to anyone who’s ever been a teenager. Thus, a school dance was to make its appearance.
” Whether it be stranger thingsWhere Euphoria, or any John Hughes movie, there’s always a school dance,” says Hausfater. “And it’s used because it’s a great way to bring everyone together to work out the final details. So we started to say, ‘What a Fairfax dance be like? And how can we give our turn to the school dance episode? And it was wonderfully placed at the end of the season so we could amp up the drama.
He continues, “We built Season 1 around forming this group of friends. So what better stake than tearing it apart, potentially? Because we made you take care of yourself. And so we found [a school dance] would be a great way to get together at the end of the season, asking ‘Are they going to come back together to solve a much bigger problem?’
The three creators attribute most of the success of the series’ story to their writers, such as Shana Gohd from ArcherEvan Waite from family guyPeter Knight (also executive producer) of BoJack Rider. “That’s one of the benefits of having such a strong writers room and bringing in writers who are way cooler and way more globally connected than us,” says Buchsbaum, who also praises FairfaxSomehoodlum artists and consulting producer for their attention to detail and subtle jokes made with cleverly designed posters, tattoos, signs and t-shirt graphics.
“We have amazing deck artists, background designers, and character designers who turn everything up to 11 and make things so funny,” says Hausfater.
Riley adds, “It really is a show that is meant to be reviewed and we hope people will. It’s one kilometer per minute. There are so many visual jokes. There are so many sound jokes. We packed as much as we could. The fact that people even spot these little things coming and going in a second is so gratifying and that’s exactly why we do it.
However, there are some things that Riley, Hausfater, and Buchsbaum will take credit for.
“The one thing we knew we wanted when we designed Young Polluter’s tattoos was that we wanted him to say ‘Diarrhoea’ on his back with poop covering a globe,” Buchsbaum notes with a laugh. . “That we will take credit for. Other than that, Matt is right. Our artists are truly amazing. The only thing we really did was tell them, “Yes” and “More please.” Even in the fifth episode of season 2, the characters are in the movie theater and there are these posters on the wall that are so funny. I’m not going to spoil you now, but each of these posters has been carefully thought out for hours by our artists.
There’s also a lot more Somehoodlum-colored eye candy for viewers this season.
“In episode 6, Hiroki’s spirit palace is crazy and, I don’t want to spoil too much, but there’s a flea market episode with a huge musical number at the start that’s so visually cool” , explains Riley. “Everyone has raised their bar this season. There are just some great visual sequences. Knowing which colors go really well together is one of the [Somehoodlum’s] the strongest as an artist and whether it’s as big as the entire world of the show or down to the kind of pink that something should be, he’s a great partner.
Buchsbaum adds, “It’s so rare to find an artist so open to collaboration and letting someone step into their world, play with their style and push their boundaries. It’s a dream scenario.
Whether it’s delving into previously smaller role-playing characters from the first season, exploring the limits of teenage angst arcs, Fairfax the creators built and then tore down many sandcastles in their storytelling sandbox with season 2. And, despite working with COVID and having to restructure their production pipeline, Hausfater, Buchsbaum and Riley say that it’s the chance of a lifetime.
“Doing the show was the best experience ever,” says Riley. “We felt like we knew what we were doing at the end of Season 1, so we felt like in Season 2 we really had to point to a target and go in that direction. And whether it was the music department or the art department or the writers room, everyone was excited about it. Every day was a challenge but, looking back, the greatest experience ever.
Victoria Davis is a full-time freelance journalist and part-time Otaku with an affinity for all things anime. She reported many stories ranging from activist news to entertainment. To learn more about his work, visit victoriadavisdepiction.com.