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Dispatches From Elsewhere Q&A — Jason Segel (Creator/Executive Producer)

Creator/Executive Producer Jason Segel, who also plays Peter on AMC’s Dispatches From Elsewhere, talks about Peter’s response to the game’s ending and how Jason himself is also “you.”

Q: Why does Peter respond the most severely out of everyone on the team, including Fredwynn, when they find out the game is in fact a game?

A: Almost more than anyone on the team, Peter was the one who had this hole of meaning that needed to be filled. Simone needed some place where she felt like she belonged, Janice needed help figuring out what the rest of her life might look like, Fredwynn needed achievement. Peter, out of all of them, was living in a world without meaning. The game filled that hole for him, so to then have it ripped away was especially painful.

Q: In Episode 9, we learn that Lee and Clara are actually the same person. Why was it important to show Lee’s story through the lens of Clara?

A: The whole show is about journey and transformation for all of the characters. So, it was important that the person who they’ve come to idolize share her journey and her transformation as well. The whole show is an exercise and this Russian doll structure of everyone revealing that they have had a complicated journey. You shouldn’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides. Everyone’s story becomes more complicated once you start telling it. The whole Lee/Clara revelation is an attempt to show that it’s never as easy as it looks from the outside.

Q: What was it like telling the story in this way?

A: It lines up with my philosophy on life, which is that you’re born with a real sense of purity and desire to take on the world on your terms and, slowly, that inevitably gets compromised by the realities of life. There comes a point for most people where they look at how they’re living and realize, “Wow! I let my compass get re-calibrated by one degree and now I’m way off course.”

Q: Peter and Simone ultimately decide to go for it and be together. Is there anything you would say about the evolution of their connection?

A: They both have been on a journey of acceptance and to find someone who can see them for who they really are. Throughout the series, both of these characters come to really see each other and reveal themselves to each other. I think that’s the foundation of something really special for both of them. I don’t think either of them have really felt known to another person.

Q: What can you say about the new view of the story by the end of it?

A: Episode 10 exists as a standalone. It’s like a return to Kansas, in the Wizard of Oz model. It’s like a crossing of a dimension and back into our reality. I think the whole point of the show is those last couple of episodes. What happens when you pull the game away? These characters have come to think, “This is the thing that’s going to save me.” When you pull that away, what lessons did they take from it?

Q: What was it like ending the story by taking the viewer into your world and your experience writing it and then turning it back onto the viewers and their perspective?

A: The show, at its heart, has always been about us recognizing that we’re not so different from one another. Beneath all of the things that we’re told to focus on that make us different, it’s the same. That is what I believe in life. The finale is really meant to focus on that and there’s some amount of me saying, “Look at me. I’ll start with me. Now let’s all try.”

Q: Now that you’ve made the show, what impact has the experience had on you?

A: As Lee said, I think we’re all still in the middle of our stories. It’s all still unfolding for me. I don’t think I have quite enough distance to know what I take from it yet, but I know the making of it was one of the most special times in my life. Making things is where I feel most at home and how I express myself best.

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