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‘Wrecked’: Making TBS’ Absurdly Funny Comedy Requires the Cast to Vomit, Battle Cabin Fever, and A Lot More

The ensemble behind this TV series are giving up a bit more than their time and their talents in the Fijian wilderness.

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Jessica Lowe and Ally Maki in “Wrecked.”

Mark Taylor (MTSP)

The “Wrecked” cast has plenty of stories to share from the set of the TBS survival comedy. A lot of them involve bodily fluids.

For example: “Asif [Ali] vomited from heat stroke,” cast member Zach Cregger told IndieWire. “On the first day of Season 2.”

For the last two seasons, “Wrecked” has brought its cast to Fiji for a grueling three months of production, depicting what happens when an eclectic band of strangers find themselves marooned in the wilds of the South Pacific.

As Ali explained: “The first day is always the hardest for us, because we live here, in L.A., and then you get [to Fiji] and for those first four, five days, we’re doing fittings and readings and stuff. We’re all just living under the sun like, ‘We’re just gonna go to the pool and take four-hour naps.’ And then you get to the first day of work and it’s direct sunlight. Jungle sunlight for 14 hours, and our bodies are like, ‘Hey man, would have loved if you could have weaned us into this!’”

Ali plays Pack, who was an industry-climbing sports agent, so it makes sense for his character to be susceptible to extreme temperatures. But that tropical heat affected far more than the performance. “My body was just like ‘Sorry,'” he said. “I thought I was being cool, ’cause I was like, ‘I’m gonna walk away from the group, and they’re not gonna know…'”

“And then everyone’s like, ‘Asif is vomiting in the bushes,'” Ally Maki said.

“I walked over there, and I projectile vomited, because I thought I was alone, and then I look up, and there’s three Fijian dudes just looking at me. They were security and they’re like, ‘Are you okay?'” Ali recalled. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah, yeah. I’m fine.’ And then I threw up again.”

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Will Greenberg and Asif Ali in “Wrecked.”

Mark Taylor (MTSP)

That’s not the only embarrassing moment for the cast. Other production adventures include bug bites so bad that they required laser scar removal. After returning to the comforts of LA, the stars were subjected to a more low-risk task of wits, perseverance, and endurance: an escape room.

Prior to sitting down with Ali, Maki, and fellow cast members Zach Cregger and Jessica Lowe, IndieWire partnered with the “Wrecked” quartet to get through one of the dozens of escape rooms now found all over Los Angeles. Each room is different — featuring different styles and difficulty levels — but most come down to solving a series of puzzles and riddles with the goal of unlocking and “escaping” a themed room in a set amount of time.

On “Wrecked,” the stakes are a little bit higher than a game — for three years now, “Wrecked” has fascinated viewers with its high-concept spin on “Lost,” with both a dark and a wacky side. Season 3, currently airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m., finds the remaining castaways from a crashed flight now struggling to survive being hunted by crazy rich men on an island compound. (Think “Hunger Games” plus “The Deadliest Game.”)

The afternoon’s choice of an escape room activity mirrored the show in some unexpected ways. Maki, who plays Jess, part of the show’s longest-running couple, drew a direct parallel to the show: “I feel like it’s a three-month long escape room, because every day, it’s new challenges that they’re throwing at you,” she said. “How do I navigate this day?”

Added Cregger, who plays Owen, a flight attendant from the plane that crashed in the series’ opening episode, “It’s an escape room where everyone has chronic, explosive diarrhea.”

Not to brag, but the IndieWire/”Wrecked” team did very well when it came to navigating and solving the escape room, though the cast acknowledged that their characters would have struggled a great deal more to escape. “We do actually have one episode where they lock us in a cage, and we just spend the whole episode talking about something that matters,” Maki said. “We get focused on one specific topic, and that’s a whole bottle episode.”

That episode, airing this Tuesday, features the cast fighting over what their last meal should be; as you can see below, the results are more than a little absurd.

“Art really imitates life and vice versa with this show,” Cregger said. “We are trapped. We’re not trapped in the conditions of the characters but it’s an intense experience to go to Fiji, very far away from our lives. And we’re staying in a very nice hotel, and that’s all wonderful, but there’s really nothing to do except be around each other. Cabin fever is very real, and so really got exposed to each other’s best and worst sides. As soon as the pilot.”

“It’s been almost like a camp. Like an intense acting camp,” Ali said.

Added Maki: “An adult, weird summer camp.”

“This is not a normal show, where they say ‘cut’ and we go get to be in our zone and get to go watch TV in my trailer,” Cregger said. “They say ‘cut’ and then we go and we sit in the tent together in the jungle with no air conditioning and just sit. There’s never a break.”

“Which is a testament to how close we are, because even if we could go our trailers, I don’t think we would,” continued Maki.

“I would. It’s so hot,” Cregger interjected.

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The cast of “Wrecked.”

TBS

But that intense spirit on set helps when it comes to the show’s tone, which balances full-out silly comedy with legit life-or-death stakes. As Lowe described it: “It’s not cynical. It is very silly and sort of what we need right now. Escapism and silliness… It’s definitely not a dramedy, but it is hard to categorize.”

But as Ali noted, creators Jordan and Justin Shipley always make it clear that while the show might have a recognizable goofy streak, the tone and the stakes do still matter. “That’s the one note you’ll get,” he said. “If you don’t do it, someone will come and be like, ‘Hey man, high stakes, everyone’s gonna die at the end.'”

Added Maki, “Sometimes it feels like you’re doing a drama because you want to play it as real as possible, and I think that’s what makes it work.”

It’s the beauty of this odd show, particularly for the performers. “I think every action star secretly wants to be a comedian and every comedian wants to be an action star. On this show you get to do both, which is awesome,” Lowe said.

Plus, the diverse nature of the cast is “beautiful,” Maki added, “because I feel like none of us would maybe not be friends in real life but now I have eight other best friends who I don’t think I ever would have met, had it not been the show.”

Unexpected bodily responses aside, Cregger explained that the show is still a privilege, despite the grueling production. “It is awesome that we get to go to Fiji and do this,” he said. “I hope we do it again. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Wrecked” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on TBS. 

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