After trying to fit in with a group of millennials at a local college in Community, Joel McHale is back trying to fit in with another group of 20-somethings in CBS' The Great Indoors.
The new 30-minute comedy, which will premiere on the network this fall, follows McHale's Jack, an aging editor who's brought into a younger newsroom full of millennials (people born between 1980 and 2000). The show will focus on the relationship between Jack and his younger reporters as they learn to work with each other despite the generational divide between them. Most of the jokes will center around insulting millennials, and according to executive producer Mike Gibbons, they're prepared for some backlash.
"It is a concern that's been brought up to us," Gibbons said when asked about how millennials might take the jokes. "We got a real millennial in the focus group and when he was asked what he thought of it, he said, 'I don't like all the jokes about us being coddled and sensitive. It's stuff that we've heard before.'"
Gibbons added that he thought it was ironic this person’s major problem with the show was that people of his age group were portrayed as too sensitive. He promised there were an equal amount of jokes aimed at people within the Generation X category that millennials may appreciate.
"The idea for this show came to me when I was working as a head writer at [The Late Late Show with James] Corden," Gibbons said. "I went to go pay a writer's assistant for a coffee, and I pulled out my wallet and he went, 'Ugh, cash? Do you have Venmo?' When did cash become ugh? When did that happen? When did being a 40-something mean you were an 80-something? That's what we're exploring."
For lead actor McHale, he couldn't care if people were offended by the show or not because the comedy speaks for itself. When asked if he thought millennials, who remain at the butt of most jokes, were going to tune in week-after-week if they were being made fun of, McHale said it was a goal to offend at least one person.
"If we're offending millennials and that's the reputation of the show, then that's the best thing ever," McHale said.
According to co-star Stephen Fry, however, offending millennials isn't the show's main priority as much as exploring the generational divide that exists between millennials and Gen Xers is. Fry said he thought it was a little insulting to think that millennials couldn't take a joke about themselves.
"If we didn't think millennials could laugh at themselves, then that would be the real insult," Fry said. "We wouldn't have made it if millennials didn't already laugh at themselves."
Many of the jokes within the show focus on some of the more outlandish millennial behavior, but Gibbons said the creative team weren't inventing anything. The producer said it was easy to make fun of a generation that was full of smart people who he hoped would get it.
"We asked that focus group guy if he would come back a week later to watch it and his hand shot straight up," Gibbons said. "Millennials are very smart and they have a voice that's super important, but they also can't resist taking four photos a day of themselves and sharing them on Snapchat. If we write about them, they will come. They can't resist anything about themselves."
The Great Indoors premieres on CBS on Oct. 27 at 8:30 p.m. ET.