The creators of 'Fairfax' on clout culture and season 2
June 17, 2022
Celebrating the start of its second season, Final Draft sat down with Matt Hausfater, Aaron Buchsbaum and Teddy Riley, creators of the animated show Fairfax, a critically claimed “irreverent” comedy following the day-to-day life of thirteen-year-old boys: friends growing up in modern-day Los Angeles.
“Through our producers, Fairfax was born, but the concept really started thanks to our friendship,” says Hausfater. “Teddy and Aaron had been writing partners forever and then through various trials, tribulations and Twitter, I got connected. The idea germinated easily: we are all from LA. We used to loiter on Fairfax with $20 for an entire day when we were kids. Suddenly Fairfax has been transformed into a hub of cool culture, [and] we thought, ‘Wow what a great idea for a tv show’ and our producers thought so, too.”
“The second secret sauce,” says Buchsbaum, “is that we all loved the movie The Sandlot. We wanted to create a similar gang of friends – have them be our eyes and ears into this new weird world of Fairfax. We thought, what a great tool to create a show with a larger vision about what it means to be a kid, today. Let’s use this street that we grew up on that somehow became the mirror of what is considered ‘cool’ by today’s cultural standards.” He adds, “These kids, they aren’t living a subculture life – we’re just telling stories that we’ve seen a thousand times but with a ‘Fairfax-ian’ lense.”
The show deals with clout culture, a phenomenon so pervasive in the 2022-teenage experience, but clout culture was something we’ve all dealt with at some point in the school system. “I would have been canceled,” says Aaron. “I’m so happy Facebook and Instagram didn’t exist. In the 90s, it was basically cool to be a dick and I personally leaned into that. I loved a good insult comic. But had I had a platform to do it publicly like today’s kids? That… wouldn’t have been great,” he laments.
"I’m really jealous that these kids have TikTok and YouTube,” Aaron added. “Such easy access to great filmmaking tools.” Sharing a look between his co-creators, he continues, “We loved making Jackass-style videos when we were teens, but the camera, the editing, it was such a barrier to entry – having these tools just ready to be used on your phone? I would have loved that.”
“We can sit around like a bunch of old guys, but we really can’t knock the culture. You have influencers who are eleven years old who make $12,000 per week,” says Teddy.
The pace of Fairfax and the heavy but not over-the-top satire of the show keeps each episode feeling fresh and funny. When prompted, Matt admits, “[These characters] are totally based on both archetypes as well as real-life people.”
“Yeah, they’re totally based on our friends, growing up,” adds Teddy. “There hasn’t really been a show that represents the diversity of our friend group as kids. We grew up in Los Angeles, where your best friend’s parents shout down the stairs at their kids in another language.”
“There were elements that we wanted to really focus on to make it as relatable and as universal as possible,” adds Aaron. “This generation is so incredibly focused on activism, so we knew we wanted to have a character that really represented the passionate and truly noble side of this current generation.”
“…and then you have Benny, the complete opposite,” adds Teddy. “And that, too, is a part of the cultural zeitgeist.”
Writing the show is a group effort, literally. “We write as a group,” Matt says. “We do it as a team. Nobody takes episodes. We do it all together. We walked into season 2 with some leftover ideas from season 1. There was a lot going on in 2020 when we wrote the first season, so obviously, some kernels of ideas got left sitting in the writer’s room over the hiatus. We sort of picked up those where we left them and developed those ideas a bit more fully for season 2.
Leaning into the idea of ‘best friends’ that we had in middle school, the creators immediately recall their best friends. “All three of us are still really good friends with a lot of our middle school connections,” says Matt.
“We have chat-chains going,” adds Aaron.
“Chat-chains?” asks Teddy, “you actually just said chat-chains?”
“Well. The secret is out. We are chat-chain old.”
“What do you call them, now?” questions Teddy to his co-creators. “They aren’t chat-chains?”
“Not when you’re using the app with the green icon,” adds Aaron. “What’s that one called?”
“We are so old,” closes Matt. “Watch Fairfax.”
Written by: Vanessa KingVanessa King is an NYC-based producer, screenwriter, and professor who has worked in development with top-level industry talent for nearly two decades. Her work as a writer has received numerous awards, having earned her recognition from industry bodies including AMPAS/Oscar’s Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship (feature) and Sony Worldwide Entertainment’s Emerging Filmmaker Program (TV Series). In 2005, she co-founded the New York Screenwriters Co-Op, New York’s only free-to-the-public screenwriting workshop with over 2000 active members. Vanessa is faculty at Gotham Writer’s Workshop (NYC) and Staffordshire University (UK), where she teaches both television and screenwriting to students, beginner to post-graduate. She recently was Showrunner of the TV pilot “Two Roads”, a concept she co-created and co-wrote for Sony’s VUE Network. Vanessa is passionate about diversity and inclusion within the industry and was a consultant on Final Draft Screenwriting Software’s Diversity and Inclusion product build. She’s a board member of the Diversity List, amplifying top scripts written by female-identifying and BIPOC writers. She is a judge for the Hip Hop Film Festival, The UCLA Graduate Screenwriter’s Showcase and The 24 Hour Film Festival. She was named one of The Huffington Post’s 13 Women To Watch and for three consecutive years, has been named to Vanity Fair’s “Downtown 100”, a list that recognizing New York’s top networkers in the entertainment industry. Originally from Canada, she lives in New York City.