Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Lodge 49’s Wyatt Russell on loving the Thermosaurus, plus Steven Universe gets the movie he deserves

Wyatt Russell; the Crystal Gems and Steven
Wyatt Russell; the Crystal Gems and Steven
Photo: Jackson Lee Davis (AMC), Screenshot: Cartoon Network

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Monday, September 2. All times are Eastern.


Top picks

Lodge 49 (AMC, 10:01 p.m.): Have we mentioned how much we love Lodge 49? Once or twice, maybe? Maybe the fact that Danette Chavez has given each of this season’s episodes either an A or an A- thus far gives it away?


Well, we love Lodge 49 and its terrific cast. Among them: one Wyatt Russell.

We spoke with Russell about what it’s like to work on one of TV’s most unpredictable shows, Dud’s relationship with Blaise, and the once-in-a-generation beauty that is the Thermosaurus.


The A.V. Club: What’s it like working on a show where, at any moment, you could just get attacked by a shark? It’s hard to imagine those table-reads.

Wyatt Russell: Oh, it’s really funny. [Since reading the pilot], I expect the insanity that comes with each script, but you’re always sort of waiting for that moment where the insanity drives into and merges with the reality of the situation. Every time we get a new script, I’ll walk me around the halls of the lodge, and our other sets, and think, “Man, when do we get to shoot that?” Every time I read a new script, I can’t wait to get to do it. It’s a very good feeling. And knowing the other characters, the other people—when you see something for their character, and they’re going to do something special, my first reaction is always, “I can’t wait to watch it when it comes out.” Because these other actors, they’re all amazing. And that’s really special.


AVC: How would you characterize Dud’s relationship with Blaise this season?

WR: Their relationship’s really special in that they’re two people who are searching for answers. They’re not content just sitting back and letting life happen, and not trying to figure something out about it. The only issue when you get two of those people in a room together, is that it’s a good example of why you’d need checks and balances in any relationship. Sometimes you need that person who is going to say, “Well, hold on, hold on, hold on. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” instead of two people feeding each other’s desires entirely. That’s not the greatest thing. But they both have huge hearts, they’re very special to each other, and it’s fun to be able to explore that this year with Dave [Pasquesi], as I was doing last year with Brent [Jennings]. Each character is sort of different with Dud, and it’s pretty great to be able to explore all that.


AVC: How does Liz’s journey parallel Dud’s this season?

WR: I think at the end of the day, the bigger team [of the characters] is all looking for the same thing, which is love and acceptance. and a sense of peace with ourselves about why we’re here, and what we’re doing while we’re here. If you’re going to go real big—big ideas, big questions—then we’re all looking for the same thing, and going about it in different ways. But specifically this season, Liz is looking at her path in a way that she has never before, realizing that she’s never had that person to look up to, like Dud had with Dad. She never had that female role model like a lot of people do when they’re growing up. And Dud doesn’t quite understand where she’s coming from necessarily. They give each other a lot more space this year, to discover different parts of themselves that are going to be important for their next stages of life.


AVC: Moving away from big ideas: what’s the difference between playing drunk and playing hung over?

WR: [Laughs.] You know, playing drunk is one of the hardest things to do. There’s a disorientation to it. You have to be aware of where you can have your eyes, where you pick up information, slower than [you would] usually in your own world. You’re not listening as much. Playing hungover is easy, but [not fun]. You have to give in to all of the stuff you feel whenever you’re having a bad day, and you’re tired, and you’d normally say, “You know, gotta power through today.” For me it’s like, “Ah, I will give in to this horrible headache.” Normally, I can’t give in to those feelings. When you play hungover, you can give in to all those feelings. Like, “This is the worst day ever.”


But Dud doesn’t get drunk as often as people might think. He doesn’t go overboard too much, in the way Liz often goes overboard. So it’s not so much hangovers as he’s not a morning person, maybe.

AVC: Is there only one Thermosaurus, or did props get multiple Thermosauri? How attached are you to that prop?


WR: There’s only one Thermosaurus in the world. I mean, there are two on set, but for Dud, there’s only one. The one we have is for real from the 1980s, so every time Dud uses it, I feel like I am definitely drinking plastic. You can taste the plastic in every sip. And yeah, I am attached to it. There are a ton of scenes where I’ve said, “Hey, can I get Thermosaurus for this scene?” It’s gotten to the point where everyone else even says, “Hey, do you think he’d have Thermosaurus here?” And I always say, “You know, I think he would have Thermosaurus here!” He’s got his own story, his own character, Thermosaurus. He’s great.

Steven Universe: The Movie (Cartoon Network, 6 p.m.): They

Are the Crystal Gems

They’re here to save Monday

And if you think they can’t

They’ll do it anyway

That’s why the people of this world

Believe In

the importance of tuning in to see the fruits of Rebecca Sugar’s labors. As always, the cast includes Zach Callison, Deedee Magno Hall, Michaela Dietz, and Estelle, as well as returning guest cast members such as Patti LuPone, Christine Ebersole, Lisa Hannigan, Aimee Mann, Uzo Aduba, Charlyne Yi, and many others; Chance The Rapper also contributed to the proceedings


And Steven!

Regular coverage

The Terror: Infamy (AMC, 9 p.m.)

Wild card

Are You The One? (MTV, 11 p.m.): This highly entertaining season comes to an end all too soon.

If you want to catch up, there’s no time like the present. Just ask our own Liz Shannon Miller:


Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

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