When is what we do in the shadows Season 3?
The third season of FX's hit vampire sitcom What We Do in the Shadows kicks off on September 2, and the show's simply too funny to miss. USA TODAY‘What We Do in the Shadows’ season 3 premieres on FX: How to watch
When does what we do in the shadows return?
What We Do in the Shadows returns to FX on Thursday Sept. 2 with two episodes starting at 10 p.m. ET. New episodes are also available to stream the next day on FX on Hulu. Entertainment TonightHarvey Guillén on a Bolder Guillermo and 'What We Do in the Shadows' Season 3
Guillermo’s newfound status as a kickass vampire slayer is a major sore spot for the Staten Island vamps as FX’s What We Do in the Shadows emerges from its coffin for Season 3.
Thursday’s two-part premiere finds Nandor and his bloodsucker roommates still reeling at the news that Guillermo is a slayer — and also saved them from certain death at the hands of the Vampiric Council. (“Still, he should not have done that much slaughtering,” Nandor notes.) They’re holding Guillermo captive in a cage in their downstairs crypt, afraid to even get near him: They just toss him raw chicken from a distance. Nadja wants to kill him, but Nandor argues that he saved their lives, so they’re at a stalemate. Guillermo doesn’t mind, though: He can actually escape through a hole in the cage and keep the house functioning while they’re asleep. Plus, he’s had time to rewatch Gilmore Girls!
Guillermo is summoned by the vampires, who inform him they’ve made a decision: They’re not going to kill him… for now, anyway. In fact, they’re making him a full-fledged team member — not a vampire, of course, but a bodyguard. They also put him under a four-way hypnosis to make sure he doesn’t hurt them, and Colin can’t resist tacking on a bit where Guillermo has to meow whenever Colin says his name. (Hypnosis doesn’t actually work on Guillermo anymore, but he politely plays along anyway.) He joins them as they journey to the Vampiric Council headquarters, where The Guide unveils for them the Master’s Throne. Only one of them can sit on it, though… and Nandor, Nadja and Colin all wrestle to take the coveted seat.
Love this show!!!! It makes me LOL!! Funniest show on TV right now!
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03 September, 2021 - 01:11pm
Ahead of Season Three of What We Do in the Shadows, the actor dishes on Nandor, Lazslo, and Nadja, plus the politics of becoming a vampire.
For more than a decade, Guillermo has served as the doting human familiar to Nandor the Relentless, a 758-year-old Ottoman Empire conquerer on the prowl for eternal love. In a drafty old mansion on Staten Island, Nandor and Guillermo live with three vampire roommates: Lazslo Cravensworth, a debauched vintage pornography enthusiast; Nadja, Laszlo's lusty and long-suffering wife; and Colin Robinson, a Dilbert-esque energy vampire who drains his prey's energy by boring them to near-death. Guillermo is criminally under-appreciated by this motley crew of dim-witted narcissists, who jeer at him, blame him at every turn, and think his last name must be "Buillermo." But hope springs eternal for Guillermo, who desperately wishes for Nandor to one day reward his devoted service by transforming him into a vampire.
Guillermo's transition from a nervous wallflower to a fearsome vampire slayer has been a slow burn throughout the series. In the Season One finale, Guillermo discovered that he was descended from the famous vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, and wondered if he was destined to murder his roommates. Season Two wrapped up in dramatic fashion when Guillermo slaughtered 70% of the most powerful vampires in the tri-state area to save his roommates from execution. Now, Season Three is launching with a whole new Guillermo: after stepping into his destiny by saving the vampires' lives, he has major leverage over them—and may finally become one of their kind, at long last.
For Guillén, Guillermo's long and winding journey to newfound confidence is a journey everyone can relate to. The actor spoke with Esquire by Zoom to dish on Season Three, take us behind the scenes of the series' iconic moments, and celebrate how Guillermo represents "round, brown, and proud" kids everywhere.
Harvey Guillén: When they wrote the character, they had an idea of what they wanted, but they didn't even have a last name for him. I wanted him to feel complete and whole. I remember asking [creator] Jemaine Clement, "Can I give him a last name?" He said, "What do you want to call him?" Before I knew the trajectory of Guillermo and Van Helsing, I picked the last name De la Cruz. He said, "What does that mean?" I said, "It means ‘of the cross.’" He said, "That's perfect."
We usually get the script a week before we shoot. In the first season, we were on pins and needles. We shot out of order, so in one day, we could be shooting episode 102 in the morning, and by afternoon, we were shooting 106. As a human with an arc of emotion and aspiration, it’s a lot to remember. The director would say things like, "You’re super scared in this scene." I was like, "Why am I scared? What happened before this?" They’d say, "We can't tell you, but you're scared." For the most part, when you see Guillermo looking terrified in the first season, it's because he doesn't know what's happening next. Anything is possible, which makes it truly documentary style. It has to feel organic and grounded in that sense.
I love the way that Guillermo’s evolution is going. I love that we're peeling away these layers of him questioning the path he’s set for himself. The backstory they give Guillermo is that he wasn't happy as a kid because he was bullied. He was alone or he watched movies. He was teased. He liked things that weren't necessarily masculine by society. Interview with the Vampire is what he idolizes: to be young and beautiful and immortal. To have everything you want: lust, sex, power. Who doesn't want to live like that for a time? It's a perfect formula for a perfect life. But Guillermo is starting to realize that what he's been planning for himself isn’t what's meant for him. Sometimes you just have to let destiny take its course, and before you know it, the universe is tapping at you, saying, "Look over here. No, stop looking over there. Come this way." He’s at that crossroads right now.
HG: In Season Two, we introduced subtle accents of teal in Guillermo’s sweaters. It’s slowly going toward more bright and bold colors where you might think, "Whoa, that's a choice." He's using stripes now, as opposed to before, when it was just sweaters that were bulky enough to make him blend into the wall. In Season One, you didn't even know he was there. He was always there, but he blended into the wall because he didn’t want to stand out. The braver he gets, and the more he comes into his own, the bolder his choices get. Now that he’s a bodyguard, he feels like a badass, so we see rolled-up sleeves, fitted shirts, and a fitted vest. Until now, Guillermo never had custom pants. He always got what he could at the nearby Ross or JCPenney—just no frills. But when your life starts to change, you pay attention to detail. He’s very chic and sleek this season, which I really like.
HG: It's like a ballet. You have to step on the right beat or someone gets hurt. Tig, our stunt director, knows how the camera will capture the sequence and what angles are great for the movement. He knows how to choreograph for the camera. As a result, it looks really cool and badass.
It actually didn't take that long to learn the choreography—we learned it in just 45 minutes and shot it over three days. At first, they tested me. “Are you comfortable with some small stunts? Are you comfortable with holding the sword? Are you comfortable with falling down backwards? Can you jump out of a third-story window?" It escalated quickly, but I did all my own stunts that season, except for one for insurance reasons they said, "Absolutely not." It’s the one where I fall down the stairs and roll on my back. When I'm in that vibe as Guillermo the slayer, I feel so much confidence. Then I look at playback, and as Harvey, I think, "That looks dangerous. Is that me? What was I thinking? I could have broken my neck."
HG: It was really nice. That was actually an episode where I helped with the writing, just to have the right dialogue and chemistry in the household. It was very important for me to cast a Mexican actress as Guillermo’s mother, because we've learned from the DNA that he's Mestizo. It was important that she spoke Spanish, and that all the trinkets in the household felt very much like, "I've been to this house. I lived in this house. I grew up in this house." From the giant painting of the Virgin Mary to the dialogue, it was important that it feel natural.
With the buñuelos in the kitchen, things got interesting. We had an amazing set decorator and prop-master, but they got Salvadorian buñuelos instead of Mexican buñuelos, which are totally different. They shipped them overnight and didn’t have time to get the right ones. I said, "It's okay. We're going to fix this." I was like, "Can you get me a packet of flour, cinnamon, sugar, and some canola oil?" I made the buñuelos in that kitchen on set, right up to the last minute. To this day, people still comment on the buñuelos. They're like, "Man, when I saw the buñuelos in the background, I was like, 'That's my mom.'" Little things like this matter to someone and make someone feel represented.
HG: I think it’s coming through in his new sense of confidence. If you look at the way Guillermo talks to the vampires in Season One and Season Two, he's very submissive. His tone and inflections are almost a whisper. If I'm not wearing a microphone, you'll barely hear me talk. When I'm rehearsing the lines and we're not mic'd, people will be like, "What did you say?" He's afraid of making a mistake and he's not confident enough to be full-voiced.
The vampires mistreat him and call him names. They don't even know his last name and he's been working there for eleven years now. That does something to your psyche. You're a product of your environment, and he lives and works with these people. If people keep telling you that you’re terrible, you start believing it, even though deep down inside, he knows that he’s not terrible. But can't speak up, because if he speaks up, guess what they do? When he makes the vampires look dumb or when he corrects them for being wrong, they demote him. Remember the movie Matilda, where she loves to read and the parents are like, "No, use your looks”? That's the environment Guillermo is in. Guillermo is Matilda.
HG: We're all Guillermos. You've been a Guillermo at one point. You might be a Guillermo right now. You might be a Guillermo tomorrow. But we've all been a Guillermo at one point in our lives. Who hasn't been overlooked for a promotion? Who hasn't been infatuated with someone from afar? Who doesn't sometimes lack the nerve to say how they really feel in the moment?
HG: I think Guillermo and Nandor are on a tightrope, and the balancing act is very crucial. One day, you're like, "What's going on with you two?" And the next, you're like, "They’re just really good friends." Other times, you’re like, "Nandor is such a dick to Guillermo. That's a toxic relationship." Like any kind of relationship, whether it be romantic or platonic, there are different layers to it. Different people mean different things to you for different reasons. Because they spend so much time with each other, all those different layers start to blend, and they start to get murky.
HG: I think we will. I think it's part of his trajectory, as it is for all of us. There's no right time to come out, and there's no right time to ask yourself about your sexuality. There’s no deadline or timeline for being queer. Being queer isn’t what defines the characters; it’s just natural, as it should be. For so long, queer characters on television have been the token best friend or the sassy hairstylist. People can be queer and live their everyday lives just like heterosexual people. They happen to have sex with people of the same sex, or they're bisexual, or they're pansexual, but their sexuality is just part of their life.
I love the way the writers make it seem like it's just natural. We never focus on Laszlo and Nandor going into the bedroom together because they were like, "Well, I didn't get off. Do you want to help me out?" It's not like, "Oh my god, are they...?" It happened that time. It might happen again. It’s two consenting adults—[er,] two consenting vampires—and it’s no big deal.
HG: I was so happy about it. Then we found out that this was a history-making moment, which blew my mind. I was like, "Wait, that can't be right. All these years?” It's a good thing, but it's also a bad thing, because it’s 2021 and this is the first time. But let’s do it—let's open that door. When a role opens the door or leaves it ajar for someone who feels that they're not represented, for another round, brown, and proud kid coming up behind me—if it leaves the door ajar for them, then come on in.
HG: They just love him. One of my first conventions was Dragon Con; I went a couple of years ago for the first season. The most touching moment was when a group of people in their late teens or early twenties came up to me dressed as Guillermo and other characters from the show. They were all Latinx. One of the girls who was dressed as Guillermo was crying, and she said, "It fills my heart to know that I see myself on television now."
That really broke my heart, because I can relate. When I was little, I didn't see myself represented on television. It didn’t look like an avenue I could take because there was no one like me on that road. Who was the leader of the caravan? I wasn't compared to other actors coming up in the business, like, "You're like a young Jack Black." Or, "You're like a young John Belushi." I thought, "Where's the Latinx actor that I can be compared to? Where's the Latinx film star that I can be idolizing?” If you don't see yourself represented on television and film, you have to become the first.
HG: I think that episode is brilliant. It’s written by Stefani Robinson, one of our executive producers, who’s a brilliant writer. She's a talent and a force to be reckoned with. All the episodes can stand on their own, but "Jackie Daytona" is so great because of the formula. It put Laszlo in a different environment. The idea that no one could tell it was a vampire behind the bar just because he had a toothpick and jeans… that’s hysterical. Matt Berry is comic gold, so it was going to be a hit, whatever disguise he took.
"Jackie Daytona" could have been an iconic episode by itself, but then you add Mark Hamill, and the rest is history. He became such a fan of the show after his kids got him into it. The first day on set with him, we lined up outside the house like it was Downtown Abbey, where everyone lines up to greet the car pulling around.
The boys on the show love, love, love Star Wars. Mark got out of the car, and instantly we could tell what a lovely person he is. He came up to me and exclaimed, “Harvey!” He gave me a huge hug. He hugged all of us, but I remember he hugged me first, which was huge.
HG: I think he might, although it may be too soon to bring back a favorite like that. We always sprinkle in some things that are fan favorites, or things we can come back to later. If you look at our guest stars, there are always opportunities for a lot of them to come back, even if they seem like they've ended. No one really dies or goes away in the world of the undead. The possibilities are endless, so Jackie Daytona can come back, absolutely, if his services are needed. But Stefani said it best. She said they thought about it and determined that it likely wouldn’t happen this season, because we already had a full slate of ideas and new characters. Why not bring in new characters and keep that on the back burner for the future?
HG: I'm super excited for this season because there are so many storylines happening. We’re with the vampiric council, as well as past partners that might make certain ex-lovers or old familiars a little bit jealous. We're dealing with self-growth. We're dealing with a lot of realizations. I think it's going to be a great season for all the characters. I'm excited for people to see where this will-they-or-won’t-they storyline with Nandor and Guillermo is going. I'm really excited for this scene that Kayvan Novak and I got to do this year, which is at once hilarious, exciting, and maybe even a little frightening.
HG: I’m on the show and I still find those things! I've been on that set for four years now, and every day we’ll discover something new. We find little trinkets and oddities because that set is amazing. I was on set this year looking through the papers we have in the library when I discovered a map for Disneyland from 1973. There are first edition books there, too. I was like, "Should this be in a museum? Should we have these?"
HG: FX is under 20th Century and Disney, so technically, anything could happen. Look for that in Season Four, maybe. The vampires head to Disneyland.
03 September, 2021 - 01:11pm
03 September, 2021 - 01:11pm
The vampire housemates in FX’s horror comedy What We Do in the Shadows, based on the film of the same name by Taika Waititi and series creator Jemaine Clement, have been chided for their lack of ambition since the series’ first episode. Tasked with taking over the Western Hemisphere, they could barely get their acts together to take over Staten Island. In Season 3, they’ve finally achieved some real power (through no fault of their own), and the new dynamic provides an excellent opportunity to further develop the characters and their absurdly mundane world of magic and monsters.
The catalyst for the change and most improved character is Guillermo De la Cruz (Harvey Guillén), who started the series as a servant — or familiar in vampire lingo — to the elder vampire Nando the Relentless (Kayvan Novak). Guillermo was a pathetic character, obviously being strung along with promises of eternal life that Nandor never intended to make good on. But rather than maintain the sad status quo or having Guillermo abandon his master, the writers gave nuance to his character with the revelation that he’s a descendent of Abraham Van Helsing and has inherited his ancestor’s vampire hunting skills.
Giving powers to the mundane character in a supernatural show is a genre cliche usually required to keep up with power creep. But What We Do in the Shadows subverts that trope since the vampires spent Season 2 oblivious to the escalating danger they were in as Guillermo secretly protected them, right up until the finale where he had to reveal his true nature in an epic spectacle of violence. Season 3 picks up soon after, with the bumbling vampires trying to decide his fate while also fearing retribution. “I just want to protect you from yourselves,” Guillermo pleads as office drone energy vampire Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) and the sex-obsessed Laszlo Cravensworth (Matt Berry) hurt themselves more than Guillermo in their ill-thought out attempts to intimidate and punish their prisoner, even as the always confident Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) looks on with exasperation and urges a quick execution.
One of the series’ greatest strengths has always been the ability to propel action forward at a breakneck pace to get plenty done within a 25-minute episode. “The Prisoner,” the first part of the Season 3 premiere, is no exception. In a surprising message from the Supreme Worldwide Vampiric Council, the vampires are told that “Vampire must never kill vampire. But when a vampire kills like 37, 38 vampires, well, these are vampires who know how to get things done.” Rewarded with control of the East Coast, the vampire housemates have an entirely new source of conflict with the rest of the area’s undead and each other.
The second episode of Season 3, “The Cloak of Duplication,” provides a glimpse at just how much material the writers can get from this plot twist. The Guide, played by Kristen Schaal of Bob’s Burgers and 30 Rock with her signature vaguely ominous perkiness, serves as something of a quest giver, instructing the new leaders of their responsibilities like ensuring upstart young vampires pay their dues. Of course, they’re still just as easily sidetracked. An artifact in the Council headquarters that lets the wearer take on someone else’s appearance provides fodder for a goofy farce as the other vampires try to help Nandor with his love life.
Nadja has always not-so-secretly been the most competent vampire in the core group, and she really shines in her new role where she’s free to turn her frustrations with others into sudden violence while lashing out at her disappointing colleagues for not being prepared to do what it takes to rule. Guillermo’s no closer to his dream of being a vampire, but he’s confident in his role of stake-wielding bodyguard. Guillén gets to show off more of his comedic chops, since instead of always being something of a put-upon straight man, he’s now free to poke fun at his ignorant “masters” rather than just being servile.
Laszlo also demonstrates the same cocky, carefree attitude that served him well as his alter ego Jackie Daytona, enjoying the privileges of power — namely the Council’s legendary pornography collection. Bizarre, archaic looking artwork is a regular feature of the show — originating in the movie — and the penis images from the ancient Knobnomicon continue that absurdly weird tradition.
Laura Prudom gave the Season 2 premiere of What We Do in the Shadows a 9/10, writing that it "returns with just as much wit, gore, and utter absurdity as it displayed in its first season, finding increasingly ridiculous and hilarious situations to throw our gang of vampires into and expanding Guillermo’s role in intriguing ways that will clearly pay off towards the end of the season. "
Colin, who feeds off boring and annoying others, continues to provide some of the show’s weirdest non sequiturs, like obsessing over the contents of the imprisoned Guillermo’s poop bucket. He also gets some time to shine when dealing with a young energy vampire who primarily feeds by making people’s eyes glaze over when he goes into far too much detail talking to them about weed. Having lost control of his familiar, Nandor seems to be in a bit of a slump, but that feels more like fodder for a season-long conflict than a failing of the writing or Novak’s performance.
Have you watched What We Do in the Shadows [TV Series]?
02 September, 2021 - 10:00pm
Things have changed between the characters as this new status quo is established, however. Although obviously it’s going to take a while for Guillermo to get over his self-proclaimed “codependent” tendencies, there’s been a change in the character’s demeanor. His eye rolls are more frequent, his jokes are more sarcastic, and he seems less afraid of the vampires than he used to be—and with good reason. They should be fearing him. In the first two episodes of season three, most of the show’s leads carve a deeper groove in terms of their characters’ personalities: Laszlo is crankier than ever, Nadja more bloodthirsty, Nandor more melancholy, Colin more chaotic. But while the show is slowing down his transformation by (at least superficially) restoring the master/servant dynamic between the vampires and Guillermo, his character is still in flux.
There’s still a distance between Guillermo and Nandor as well, and Nandor’s loneliness leads to the central gag of episode two. A 24-hour gym is a brilliant setting for a What We Do In The Shadows episode—kudos to this show for, once again, coming up with novel variations on the vampire theme—but what stood out the most to me was the way “The Cloak Of Duplication” used character-based comedy to satirize male entitlement. Colin’s insults, Laszlo’s pickup lines, Nandor’s pathetic projection: Each of them takes a different, equally noxious approach to talking to a woman they don’t know. And the guys’ blind confidence that “she must not like men” is a pretty good punchline, until it comes back around and becomes a very good punchline at the end of the episode.
Another standout element of this first batch of new episodes is what appears to be a bigger budget for VFX and set design. (That’s what an Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy gets you!) I’d have to go back to previous seasons and see if the main rooms in the vampires’ mansion have been redecorated, but Laszlo and Nadja’s chambers have definitely been upgraded with a drum kit and some new wallpaper depicting what appears to be a Bacchanalian rite. (Sexy!) The new sets inside the Vampiric Council headquarters are also impressive—decorating the Chamber of Curiosities must have been a dream job for some lucky Canadian oddities enthusiast—and with more Victorian-style settings to choose from, modern settings like the gym stand out even more.
“The Prisoner” keeps the vampires together for a plot-driven group episode, as befits a season premiere; “The Cloak Of Duplication” is a looser, more character-based half hour of comedy, one that slips into cartoon territory when it dubs different cast members’ voices over Kayvan Novak’s body. Both episodes are sharply written, combining cutting satire—whether it be about incompetent bosses or squabbling hipsters—with silly jokes about penises and poop and lots of profanity. What We Do In The Shadows successfully kept its momentum going with a focused, character-driven arc in its second season, and while the characters are still jockeying for power in these first two episodes of season three, there’s a relaxed confidence to the writing and performances that comes with not just living up to expectations, but exceeding them.