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A.P. Bio's Glenn Howerton And Patton Oswalt Dish On The Show's Wild Season 4 - Exclusive Interview

In "A.P. Bio," school is in session, but not the way you might expect. Glenn Howerton plays Jack Griffin, a disgraced Harvard philosophy professor turned reluctant biology teacher under the tutelage of Whitlock High School's goofy yet lovable Principal Durbin (Patton Oswalt). Fans of Howerton's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" flocked to the show for a similar kind of edgy, raunchy humor — just inside an Ohio classroom instead of a Philadelphia bar. After three seasons, "A.P. Bio" is still serving heavy doses of the chaotic comedy fans have come to love. Now, the series is gearing up to launch a new round of Jack's petty revenge schemes and his unlikely friendship with Durbin — as well as the kids in his class.

During an exclusive interview for "A.P. Bio" season 4, Looper spoke to Glenn Howerton and Patton Oswalt. The duo dished on the new season, doing wild improv on the show, and the series' ingenious thematic episodes. Howerton even dished on the possibility of an "A.P. Bio" co-star appearance on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Meanwhile, Oswalt compared a particular "A.P. Bio" character to his Marvel villain, MODOK.

The chaos continues for Jack Griffin

Glenn, Jack Griffin has gone through significant growth since Season 1 while you still retain some of that chaotic nature of his character, which is reflected in the show as a whole. How have you gone about finding that balance, and where do you hope Jack will go in the future?

Glenn Howerton: I think he'll continue to feel closer and closer to the people that he's formed relationships with in Toledo, which is going to cause just more and more attention. It's like the Chinese finger thing, or whatever. You know what I mean? The more he starts to fall in love with the people of Toledo, the harder he's going to pull against that — to retain his identity as a person who's better than the people who live in Toledo.

I mean, the writers have done such a great job of setting this thing up, where it's like the closer he gets to true happiness, the harder he's going to push against it. And it's a really amazing thing that's quite sustainable and really fun to play with as an actor.

Well, it's fun to watch too. Can you tease anything from the upcoming season?

Patton Oswalt: I'm just going to say the word "tornado" and leave it at that. That'd be my tease. What's your tease?

Glenn Howerton: My tease. Well, what is my tease? I'm just excited for people to see Joe Manganiello on the show and Bruce Campbell. That's my main thing because I love those guys both so dearly. And so for audience members that are Bruce Campbell fans and Joe Manganiello fans, you also have something to look forward to in that.

Ad-libbing with the best of 'em

You both have significant writing credits throughout your careers. Are you able to flex those muscles at all on the show? Is the set open to ad-libs?

Patton Oswalt: They let us ad-lib a lot of stuff. There's a lot of my scenes that they'll go, "Let's just do multiple fun takes and see what happens." I think the same thing happens with Glenn, especially with the students. I know that they let you do multiple reactions to things. I've seen some of it. It's amazing.

Glenn Howerton: Yeah. Yeah, no. Mike is great about that. I think he recognizes the fact that if you've got a certain comedic instinct ... Look, he has full control in the edit to put in whatever he wants. So it's like, why not let us kind of go on a rail? I'll usually do at least one take, where I go completely off the rails, just in case there's something in there that ends up being comedy gold.

I am a firm believer that if you, as an actor, are having a lot of fun, that energy really does come across. So even if my character's angry or being mean or whatever, if I'm having fun as an actor, it's fun for the audience to watch.

Patton Oswalt: Yeah. And also, Jean [Villepique], Lyric [Lewis], and Mary [Sohn] are amazing at tagging scenes with things.

Glenn Howerton: Incredible.

Patton Oswalt: I mean, there are so many things that they had to cut out just for time that they added to scenes — these amazing lines. So yeah, it's a very open set as far as that. And then, of course, Paula Pell, for God's sake. Obviously, they've got to be open to letting us riff.

Glenn Howerton: Yeah.

Onscreen fan fiction

The show takes so many risks to create some really unique episodes of TV that we haven't seen a million times. The fan fiction episode is one that comes to mind immediately. I love that one.

Patton Oswalt: Oh my God, that episode. One of the weirdest things I've ever shot because we were going back and forth between fantasy and reality. So you had to figure out exactly "What's the tone I do in each of these scenes?" And it's so fast, and there are so many cuts. God, it was nuts.

Glenn Howerton: Yeah.

What have been some of your favorite twists on the show? And is there anything that was planned out that didn't happen because of logistics or anything like that?

Patton Oswalt: Oh, wow.

Glenn Howerton: Well, I mean, we got shut down after the eighth episode in Season 3 because of COVID. So there were two episodes that were written, that were supposed to be the episodes that played at the end of Season 3, that ended up being what we did first in Season 4.

But no, I don't think there's anything really that Mike has wanted to do that he hasn't been able to do. As a matter of fact, the things that we do on the show now are so wild, and so out there, it's the kind of thing that you'd really ... I feel like he's really earned it with those first few seasons, to really push it and push it and push it. And he continues to push it in Season 4. And the more he pushes it, the funnier it gets to me.

Patton Oswalt: It also feels like, as you said earlier, now that he's streaming, he really feels like, "I have to step things up. People are coming to see us, and I have the freedom to really do some nuttiness," and he just runs with it. He does not neglect that freedom at all.

Glenn Howerton: No.

It's always Durbin in Philadelphia

Glenn, might we see any of your "A.P. Bio" co-stars in any future episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," and can you tease anything from the upcoming season?

[Howerton laughs as Oswalt makes an excited fingers crossed gesture.]

Glenn Howerton: Look at Patton. We're actually in the middle of shooting Season 15 right now. No, no plans to cast anyone from "A.P. Bio" yet. I'm so sorry, Patton. Patton, I'm sorry. Did you want to be on the show? Do you want to do it?

Patton Oswalt: [Very demurely] I would ever so like to act with you Philadelphia fellows.

Glenn Howerton: I think it'd be super fun to have them on there. I always get super paranoid about stuff like that. I'm like, if I do that, is that weird? I guess audiences probably would love stuff like that, but I always get paranoid that it's...

Patton Oswalt: Look, by the way, I would be super hesitant, only because "It's Always Sunny" is such a ... The level of comedy in that show, the bar is so high. I never want to be on a show that good and then be a weak spot. So I would be very cautious because that is an absolutely brilliant show.

I don't think you would be a weak spot.

Patton Oswalt: You'd be surprised.

Glenn Howerton: Not at all. No way.

MODOK's villainy seems a bit familiar

Patton, you often play fun, lovable, goofy characters like Durbin, but you took on a more villainous role in Marvel's "M.O.D.O.K." What was it like voicing a Marvel villain, as opposed to playing a goofball like Durbin, and what kind of challenges do each of those roles pose?

Patton Oswalt: Well, with MODOK, he's such a damaged character. Yes, he's villainous, but you can see his vulnerability in his private moments. He just won't admit to it. In a way, MODOK is a mutant hyped-up version of Jack, in that he's someone who is trying to hide the actual empathy and optimism that he has to life under this shell. In MODOK's case, it's a literal shell of cynicism and aggression. It was just a mutant version of what we do with Jack Griffin on the show.

Fans can binge the fourth season of "A.P. Bio" when it drops on Peacock September 3. If you need to catch up before the new season, class is in session now with the first three seasons streaming on Peacock.