After nearly two years since the Season 1 finale, Adult Swim’s Three Busy Debras is finally back. The comedy follows a trio of affluent suburbanites all named Debra who operate like best friends, but in action are more like three deranged parasites that survive off one another's company, while nearly destroying each other for their neuroticisms.
For Season 2, the Debras are ready for more brunching and scheming and to take Lemoncurd head on, tackling a milk drought, romance, depression and a whole lot more. Ahead of the new season premiere, LA Confidential chatted with creators and stars Mitra Jouhari, Sandy Honig and Alyssa Stonoha all about Debra, Debra and Debra.
How does it feel to finally have Season 2 coming out?
Alyssa Stonoha: We gave a sneak peek at SXSW and we were like, “I just realized we've never watched this, any of the show at all, even Season 1, in a room with people before.” It was so exciting.
You wrote the script from April to June of 2020, and then finally got to shoot in June 2021. What was it like to go back to a script that has been sitting for about a year?
SH: There were so many jokes you forgot about, and then there were a lot of things that were fun to get to revisit with fresh eyes, especially once we could actually meet up outside in person and go through them together and laugh and read through them and punch stuff up.
AS: When we had our preliminary meetings over Zoom with our crew and we were walking through the scripts and they were just remembering their favorite jokes and sharing them, it was like, “Oh, you guys like it? Thank god. OK, cool. It is kind of funny. Cool.”
Can you walk us through writing Episode 4, “To Have Debra, to Hold Debra?”
MJ: It felt like a nice way to kind of go back to our roots. And we all love theater, we love drama. We really wanted to do something in that style. But we also liked the idea of having a contained episode. It's not just the three of us that episode, obviously, but to have something that really felt like just about the dynamic between these three women.
SH: I don't remember how it came about, but the original idea was we were writing this episode and we were like, “Oh, we're spending a lot of time at the table.” And then someone was like, “Well what if we never left the table?” And that was the choice, and we commit to being here the whole time, but making it feel different and feel like each act is a distinct, different visual, but it all takes place in the same room.
AS: Like really, really heightened drama. The Debras, when it's dramatic, they're really dramatic with each other and just heightening that drama and just really leaning into it. Because also the way it starts, it's a really big dynamic shift and a really big surprise, so it's just like, “Yeah, of course, they would react completely over the top because this is something that's very unexpected starting the episode.”
SH: It's fun to just do a lot of big gags and stuff because when you're contained to one room.
Do you have favorite episodes from the new season?
SH: That was one of my favorites.
AS: I also love “Women's History Hour” a lot.
SH: Yes, that one I really like. I got to direct that one and I was very excited because it was one of my favorite scripts.
MJ: I specifically love Alyssa's performance in “The Great Debpression.”
AS: And all those women in it. That was the most fun.
SH:And we all trained for years. We did really, really in-depth research to figure out what depression feels like so that we could write about it.
Why set the depression episode in the mall?
MJ:I think with our writing process, we really try to start from a very real place, which is feeling sad for that episode. And the reality is these women do not make a lot of space for each other emotionally. And the real thing is I often do use shopping or things that are not actually addressing my emotional issues to try and fix them.
SH: Debras are just like, “OK, well, you're feeling depressed, which means you look ugly. So we need to go take care of that now.” And also, what's the worst environment you could possibly imagine when you're depressed and it’s a brightly lit mall with music playing and your friends ignoring you.
MJ: And the nightmare would be for these women to actually talk about how they feel and a great place to not have to do that is a place that is full of overstimulation. Sensory overload.
Why do you think affluent suburban women make for a rich source for comedy?
MJ:Well I think a lot of really funny stuff comes out of boredom and tedium. I also think there's a lack of self awareness with our particular characters.
SH: I think especially very, very rich women that are inside all day long with nothing to do historically tend to go a little insane. And it's fun to get to take ownership of that and be like, “Oh, well what if we were controlling how insane they were and how they behaved and making it silly and fun” rather than like, “Oh they're crazy. Lock them up.”
AS: The huge carry through from the original play and the show is wearing all white and starting very pristine. And just seeing how their behavior affects how they look, like the physical ramifications of their insane, aggressive, non-self-aware behavior like getting filthy, getting beat up and bruised up— just getting to see that change over the course of an episode, I think, is really fun.
SH: And coming at it from a silly, light-hearted point of view.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Three Busy Debras premieres on Adult Swim on April 24 and is available the next day on HBO Max.
Photography by: Courtesy Adult Swim