Bonus: Behind the Scenes of Season 2

The end of another season means another behind the scenes episode! Featuring cast interviews, partner interviews, roommate interviews (but not cat interviews), bloopers, weird voice filters, and general silliness.

We'll be releasing a mini-series about the show after Solutions to Problems later this summer, with an official Season 3 start date coming soon!

Solutions to Problems theme song plays, and is then interrupted by a deep computerized voice saying “remix” repeatedly. The song then switches to an 8-bit version of the theme.

Austin: (over the theme) Welcome to the highly unpolished Solutions To Problems, which is horrible, but not horrible in an uninteresting way.

Michael: Hey, it’s Michael. I’m on the streets of Boston, Massachusetts, and I’m going to talk to our friends and see what they think about Solutions To Problems Season 2.

But first let’s hear from the cast and crew about what they think about this season.

[sound of passing cars]

Computerized voice: Now playing, interview with the cast and crew of Solutions To Problems, interspersed with bloopers and outtakes.

[large sweeping sound of a passing car as the theme fades out and airy background music fades in]

Nathan (from a soundcheck, in a deep pitched voice) Hello and welcome to... microphone tests.

Nathan: (normal voice) Hi, I’m Nathan Comstock. I play Loaf on the show, and also I have been writing the show.
Austin: I’m Austin, I play Janet.

Michael: Are you just Austin?

Austin: I’m Austin Hendricks. Just Austin wasn’t good enough for Michael.

Nathan (from a soundcheck, in a deep pitched voice): Today we will be testing a microphone

Michael: I’m Michael F. Gill, I produce the show, I edit the show, I do the music. And I’ve also, in this season, written the show.

Austin: Oh I guess I also help write the show. I do slightly less then one-third of the show.

Chloe: (from a soundcheck, in a deep pitched voice) I’m going to say some things now.

Michael: Integrating myself into the writing process, I’ve mostly been doing letters and mini-episodes… voicemails. It turns out that Austin and Nathan are exceedingly great at dialogue and conversation, and there was no reason to butt in there, because, why mess up the incredible dynamic that they have.

Austin: Aww, you did contribute some dialogue though.

Michael: Maybe 5-10%.

Nathan: But more importantly, all three of us worked together to shape the arc of the season, now that the season sort of actually has a little bit more of an arc than Season 1 did. And Season 3 is going to be...different.

Nathan (from a soundcheck, in a deep pitched voice): Solutions To Microphone Problems.

Valerie: Hi, I’m Valerie Loveland, I play Frankie. I am less overworked than I was when I played Frankie before, but poor Frankie, she is as overworked as ever.

Austin (during a soundcheck, imitating Janet): With all the pay cuts, am I really paid enough to have emotion? I think the answer is no.

Valerie: The main thing that I like about Frankie this season is [that] she is a cat person with a silky, luxurious tail.

Austin: It’s always Loaf that mentions her features. Is Loaf like hitting---What is that?

Nathan: I think Loaf is definitely like on some level attracted to Frankie. He’s trying to be professional about it, but like yeah, he’s got a crush.

Austin: It was really fun to have Frankie for the whole dating episode. Because I feel like we kinda let Frankie be a little bit of the straight man type character in Season 1, so having her also be extremely weird was very satisfying.

Valerie as Frankie: (with echo/delay effect) Semi-sapient, semi-sapient succulents, semi sapient succulents.

Valerie: Last season I did not read anything extra because that is my method with podcasts, because then I become self-conscious about it. But I was invited to read the whole thing this time, and it was great to get the sneak peek.

Nathan: Each of us really tends to be like the expert in the voice of our own character and to catch the things that don’t sound right for them. And I think it’s important to give the recurring character actors the same thing. Valerie certainly caught some things that Frankie would not have said the way we characterized her in the first season that we did not catch.

Austin: (during soundcheck, with echo/stuttering effects) But what is Janet’s voice except my voice with actual emotion?

Nathan: I have this idea that in this universe everyone is kind of totally ok with dating people of other species, and dating other species, but no one really wants to date a human. It’s just something you do when you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, you date humans.

Austin: Yeah, Janet calls herself a lesbian a lot, but I think, the term lesbian, by necessity, must be a lot looser (laughter) in the future. Like on some level, it probably just means “not human men.”

[sound effect of a phone ringing]

Austin: (in a lower voice, from soundcheck) The voice of the phone was Michael F. Gill

Ramy: I’m Ramy Abdelghani, I play Officer Nassif.

Austin: (in a lower voice, from soundcheck) Don’t call me Officer right now.

Ramy: I like my character. Seems like a real pain-in-the-ass, just a stick-in-the-mud, but in a fun way. I have this theory that maybe Nassif is slowly going insane. Because there was probably a timeline where Nassif was just this content time agent who was just happily being obsessive over every little detail, never--

Austin: Really thriving in bureaucracy.

Ramy: Exactly, and then all this wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey nonsense started happening that he didn’t expect, and now in each iteration of it, it’s slowly chipping away at this buttoned-up facade he has. Also because I picked like, a voice that’s really hard to get emotions out of, because I wanted to try something that sounded really different.

Ramy: (in a comical “tough-guy” voice, during soundcheck): Let’s party!

Ramy: Being able to, not just do a fiction podcast, but to actually do 2, hopefully more seasons of a fiction podcast, has been very creatively fulfilling.

Chloe: Hi! I’m Chloe Cunha, and I play Melody. I am a comedian, a poet, and I’ve done some other fun little acting projects as well. So yeah, an actor too

Chloe as Melody: (with spacey echo and reverb)  I’m a robot! Woah! That’s cool!

Chloe: I listened to the first season, I liked it a lot. This is uh, awkward, but true, I listened to it in the shower a lot.

Michael: Our analytics say we do get a lot of shower listens.

Nathan: I really like the dynamic the new recurring characters added to this season. I do think each of their relationships with Janet maybe came out more fleshed out than their relationships with Loaf, which….Janet is such a big personality and I think it’s a natural tendency to play other big personalities off of her

Chloe: Mmm-hmm.

Nathan: I don’t think Loaf got lost in the shuffle, I think this season definitely delved into his story in a different way.

Chloe: I was going to say, I think Loaf’s mysteriousness is part of his charm, too.

Chloe as Melody: (with a robotic voice filter) Humans are much easier to conquer if they think that you’re just a you bleebdly bloobly bloop bloop bloop.

Chloe: Melody plays like she’s annoyed and “whatever” all the time, but I feel like she actually sort of secretly enjoys her coworkers and actually likes her job. So this is an interesting question: what does Melody see in Janet? I think there’s something perhaps kind of fun about the fact that they are both kind of, kind of rough around the edges.

Austin: There’s a bunch of jokes about having sex with aliens in the dating episode, but, at the same time, we don’t know if Janet actually has sex in her relationships.

Chloe: We don’t, that’s a good point.

Austin: And it’s not something I even feel like is important to clarify--

Chloe: It’s kind of a PG show.

Austin: I think it would be fun in some ways if she, really wasn’t having sex at all, because it’s just not something she cares about.

(Short recording of Chloe singing some nonsense words during soundcheck)

Nathan: Chloe, Austin, and I actually, by sheer coincidence, are all twins.

Austin: But not each other’s twin.

Chloe: Not each other’s twin. That would be funny though.

Nathan: We each *have* a twin.

(Short recording of Chloe singing some nonsense words during soundcheck)

Chloe: So I’ve got this podcast called Yes Homo, it’s about LGBT comedians. I was also in a lesbian vampire movie called Blood Of The Tribades. It’s on Amazon Prime. If you wanna watch that, you should. I’m kind of naked in it so, heads up I guess.

Ron: Hi, I’m Ronald Prudent, I play Mr. Xorfus in Solutions to Problems. QA tester here in Boston, and video games are my favorite pastime.

Nathan: If Solutions To Problems were a video game, what kind of video game would it be?

Ron: The first thing that comes to mind is dating sim. (laughter)

Austin: I love that!

Ron: Dating yourself could be a weird dilemma.

Nathan: What about a dating show where the main character is Janet and all the people she could date are also Janet?

Austin: Look, we’ve talked about this before, I’m not into Janet on Janet.

Nathan: What if the main character is Melody and all the people she could date are different Janets?

Austin: Ok, that’s, I love it.

Bridget: (with an alien voice filter) You’re not likely to find Solutions to Problems in the back of your textbook, but hopefully it will provide solutions to your even problems and maybe your odd problems too.

Ron: Mr. Xorfus, we talked about how he used to like Janet. So he doesn’t hate Janet, he didn’t begrudgingly hire Janet. He hired Janet with good intentions. Somewhere down the line Janet became a person that he was not happy with.

Nathan: There’s really no guarantee whatsoever that the version of Janet who interviewed for the job is the same version of Janet we have now.

Austin as Janet: (during recording) That’s why our letter writer was confused about the legal fleas. On Zerblax...

Michael: (in background during recording) I think you said “fleas” instead of “fees.” (laughter)

Bridget: Hi, my name is Bridget Kraynik, and I play Loaf’s broodmate on Solutions to Problems. (in a strange high-pitched voice) Normally I sound like this. (regular voice) And this is my serious deep recording voice. (in a strange high-pitched voice) Just kidding.

Bridget: This is actually the second time that I’ve played Nathan’s fictional sister. The first being when Nathan and I were Sokka and Katara from Avatar The Last Airbender, in Halloween, 2008.

Computerized Voice: The world has been divided into four nations.

Bridget: I definitely feel like my character definitely channels that sort of irritated family member that’s mad at you because you’re not doing what they want you to do. So I tried to channel some of that and tried to channel a little bit of my Mom being happy to see me, my Dad being happy to see me when I come to visit, now that I’ve moved across the country from them.

Phoenix: (quietly with a tinny voice filter, during soundcheck) Talkin’ Problems, the Solutions to your problems, with Solutions to Problems.

Phoenix: Hi, I’m Phoenix, Phoenix Bunke, and I play Samantha on Solutions To Problems. And I now live in Utah, which is an amazing state, and if you get a chance to go there, you definitely should. I am also a freelance editor, by night mostly, by, you know, 1 am to 4 am in the morning.

Phoenix as Samantha: (with a delay effect that pans her voice to the left and right speakers) Thanks, scary much dude. Thank you scary mush dude.

Phoenix: Samantha is still trying to figure out...she’s trying to figure out something that engages her emotionally in a way that is not a stereotype. Being around Janet and Loaf more, I’m not sure that’s going to be very good for her (laughs) development as a human. It will certainly make her more interesting. I am not sure it will make her a better person.

Austin: She’s kind of like our anti-Nightvale intern. Because the Nightvale interns are completely disposable, and Sam is kind of the complete inverse of that, she’s functionally immortal, probably.

Michael: (on location) Anisha, is it true that you are Austin’s partner?

Anisha: Yes. (laughter)

Michael: Do you know the name of the podcast Austin does?

Anisha: Solutions to Problems.

Michael: Have you listened to it?

Anisha: Yes.

Michael: What do you think about Season 2?

Anisha: (laughs) I didn’t listen to Season 2. (laughs harder)

Michael: What do you think happened in Season 2?

Anisha: Time travel…I don’t know, there’s an alien, maybe? (laughter)

Michael: April, is it true that you are my best friend?

April: Yes, absolutely.

Michael: Do you know the podcast I do?

April: Solutions To Problems.

Michael: What is it about?

April: It is about a call-in show, where you ask aliens questions.

Michael: Did you listen to season 2?

April: I can’t distinguish the seasons.

Michael: What do you think happens in the show?

April: I think that space aliens learn how to interact with other space aliens, in order to achieve life goals.  

Michael: Suzanne, is it true you are my friend?

Suzanne: Yes.

Michael: You are the special friend of my best friend.

Suzanne: (laughs) Yes.

Michael: What do you think about the future of the show?

Suzanne: I think the future’s bright.

Michael: What about the past of the show? ‘Cause it’s a time travel show.

Suzanne: Mmm-hmm. Past? So far, to date, same goes for the future.

Michael: You think there’s multiple futures for the show? It can go either way, because the timeline diverges in many different ways. Give us many different versions of the future of the show.

Suzanne: Ok, one version is it stops tomorrow, which would be a shame. Another version would be it goes on for 25 years which would be lovely. Yeah, I don’t want to see the show end, I think it’s fun.

Nathan: (on location in Nathan’s house) Kristin, is it true that you are my wife?

Kristin: (laughs) Yes, it is true.

Nathan: What did you think of Season 2 of Solutions to Problems?

Kristin: I loved it.

Nathan: Because it’s a time travel show, what do you think about the future of the show, and what do you think about the past of the show?

Kristin: (laughs) Didn’t I already answer that?

Nathan: Is there a timeline where you hate the show? Is there a timeline where the show is terrible? Is there a timeline where you love the show but the show is terrible?

Kathan: I mean, I guess there’s a timeline where I never met Nathan, so I don’t even know about the show, but that is a sad timeline indeed.

Nathan: (scoffs) There’s plenty of people who’ve never met me who listen to the show.

Austin: (in a high pitched voice) Do you like Solutions To Problems, but wish it wasn’t funny, and wish it was really sad? Because, boy, do we have an hour for you!

Austin: (normal voice, in studio) So, a couple shows we’d like to shout out. One of the big ones is Greater Boston. We’re a Boston-based show. I take the Redline almost every day.

Nathan: I also would love to shout-out We Fix Space Junk. They’ve been incredibly supportive of us. I think they’re probably the reason that we have lots of fans in the UK. If you like our show, you’ll like their show. It’s a little more plot-based, and-

Austin: It’s a lot more plot-based.

Nathan: It’s a lot more plot-based--it *has* a plot. (laughs) Basically it’s about...I stole this from Tumblr, I don’t know who originally said it, but someone said it was about an evil student loan company that has taken over the galaxy, which is pretty much true.

Austin: Big shout out to Brittany, who sent us some money, and also just writes really lovely things about us, thank you so much for your support. Big shout out to Drew at The Podcast Dragon, which is a podcast review newsletter, who’s given us some really great reviews this season, and we really appreciate him listening.

Michael: Shout out to the “Podcasts We Listen To” group on Facebook.

Austin: Also, shout out to Ely, her newsletter is The Audio Dramatic. She actually did a voice for us this season which was super fun. I highly recommend having her on your podcast. Also, shout out to Wil Williams at Wil Willams Reviews.  

Nathan: I do want to shout out Nerys, I think that’s how it’s pronounced, because she’s always tweeting really nice things about us, and maybe she’s also part of the reason we seem to have all these followers in...Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Ireland (laughs).  

Michael: All the shows we recommended are on our twitter feed, which is stp_podcast. We also have a website at stppodcast.com, which has transcripts for every episode, as well as links to our social media, and our paypal, if you want to donate some money to us.

(theme song starts to play in the background)

Michael: (back on location) Alright, that’s it. I’m making my way home, back here in the greater Boston night. Next, we will be releasing a mini-series about the radio show that’s after Solutions To Problems, and then after that, it will be Season 3. And hey, may all your problems be solved...by our podcast.    

(theme song fades out)

Nathan: Hi!....This is Nathan. (laughter)

Michael: (laughs) Say your name. Just “Hi, your name.” That’s all we need you to do to start off with.

Nathan: Ok….Hi listeners! (laughs again)

Michael: Austin should start off with it.

Nathan: Ok, let’s let Austin start off. (laughs)

Austin: When I was on Adam’s podcast, I consistently failed to say my name literally every time. I would laugh. Sorry Adam.

Episode 19: All About the Disruption of Narrative Causality

Content notes: Discussions of racism [2:20-8:30] and stalking [8:30-14:00]

Janet and Loaf listen to letters about living inside the ramifications of genetic engineering, and how to measure your compatibility with someone who was in a time loop when you met. Also, Officer Nassif is back to weigh in on the time travel shenanigans, including a time capsule letter that's turns out to be more personal then expected.

Read More

Episode 18: Hot Messes Together

Nothing topsy-turvy at all happens to Janet and Loaf before the show, and it surely doesn't affect their performance in answering letters about universal translation gone awry, workplace infidelity, and the experience of living as a certain species. There aren't even any special guests who break into the studio to confront them about the problems they are avoiding in their personal lives. What a relief!

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Episode 16: The Shiniest of Aprons - A Dating Special

CN: This episode contains frank discussions of sex. Listener discretion is advised. 

Frankie joins Janet and Loaf to answer a flurry of dating-related queries. Are algorithms romantic? How does one politely address the logistics of interspecies relations? Is resplendent plumage enough to get you out of paying the check? All this and more on this special episode.

Read More