Four years after the release of Too Many Cooks, Inverse spoke with 10 key people who helped bring the surreal sitcom parody to life, from creator Casper Kelly to the puppeteer who made Smarf, to the extra who stole the show as a surprise villain. The result is this 6,000-word oral history about making weird art on the fly that you think no one will see — and having it “go viral” at around 20 million views.
Among the stories in this history assembled by Inverse: Too Many Cooks later became a musical. The creators finally confirm they just ripped off the logo from Full House. The actor who played the killer would keep a machete in his car for selfies. The song nearly turned into the theme from The Office.
Below’s a pull-out from our feature. This one’s about the single hardest shot to get perfect in Too Many Cooks.
**The Hardest Shot to Get Perfect in ‘Too Many Cooks’
Nothing about making Too Many Cooks was easy, but one scene in particular proved to be extra challenging. An early scene where the camera spins around a kitchen table as various family members (and a fireman and a police officer) filter in and out, proved nearly impossible to film.
Matt Foster, crew member: “I think the hardest shot to capture was the camera spinning in the middle of the kitchen table. That was unpractical. Behind the camera two people are changing out in chairs. That included people in costumes and a puppet. We had about six takes. And there was basically something busted in five of them — but we got one to work.”
Casper Kelly, creator: “The shot where you’re rotating around the table was very tricky. People had to constantly run away, and we had to do a few takes to get that right.”
Alex Orr, producer: “It took some time to figure out the way the camera spins around the table and the characters are changing out. Gosh, I had a video of that somewhere. It was me sitting on top of the set on a ladder barking at people to lay on the ground or jump up as the camera moved around. The camera was on this crummy plug-in turntable someone had for something else. That was tough.”
Paul Painter, editor: “Someone rigged up a mechanical Lazy Susan. Everyone had to enter and leave before the camera got around. There were no cuts in it or CGI.”