Yesterday, we raved about the Encyclopedia of Hypothetical Police Procedurals, a.k.a. our new favorite humor blog about goofy cop shows that don’t exist, but should (like the outer space-set NYPD Blue Moon!) We’re obsessed, and we had to reach out to authors Luke Burns and James Folta for more.
io9: Where did the idea for the Encyclopedia come from?
James Folta: Whenever Luke and I were hanging out, we would always come up with ideas for police shows and riff on them. Eventually, and to the delight of our friends who were forced to listen to these endless bits, we started writing them down and the project was born.
Luke Burns: For a long time, we had a running joke where we’d try to come up with the most ridiculous police procedural we could imagine. The tropes of police procedurals are so familiar and specific, it was a lot of fun to just riff on the genre. The real breakthrough came when we hit on the idea of formatting each show as an encyclopedia entry. That format gives us a very specific tone to work with and allows us to do a lot of world-building in a way that hopefully feels organic. When we came up with that, we felt like it was time to start writing them down.
Where do you continue to find inspiration?
Folta: At first, we were both worried that we’d run out of ideas quickly. But I think if anything, getting out all of our early ideas forced us to go further, to weirder and more interesting places. Now, ideas can come from almost anywhere. I’m always on the look out for something that can turn into a fake cop show. It’s also been fun to continue to work on fleshing out the world that our shows exist in. If I feel stuck, I’ll go back to old entries and think about what sequels might be made and what other shows the fake actors, writers and producers might have also worked on. I love the producer we invented, Dylan Thompson, who made shows continuously throughout his fictional life, starting with his first show “#035 The Dirt Bike Boys” that he made when he was six. Populating this little fake Hollywood that our shows exist in is really interesting to us.
Burns: We were definitely worried about running out of ideas, but there are plenty of shows that actually exist that are way more ridiculous than anything we’ve come up with. The great thing is that you can turn pretty much anything into a police procedural. It’s fun to take some small detail from a show or movie or just from life, and then see if we can build a whole show around that one tiny thing. We’ve always tried really hard to keep the shows premises from being too obvious, but as we’ve done more and more entries, our ideas have just naturally gotten weirder and weirder. I think they’ve also gotten weirder as a result of us trying to keep ourselves interested.
What’s your favorite entry?
Folta: One of my favorites is “#018 CopCop”: Part Cop. Part Cop. All Cop. I think it’s one of our entries that best gets at the thing we love so much about procedurals: a totally ridiculous premise, treated with way too much seriousness and with unnecessarily high stakes.
Burns: I love “CopCop.” It’s a really simple, silly premise that was a lot of fun to explore.
P.S. If you live in New York City, you can catch the monthly comedy show that Burns and Folta co-founded and host, “An Evening of Humorous Readings.”
Top image: hypothetical script page from hypothetical cop show “CopCop,” as he confronts his nemesis, the evil RoboBot.