Netflix’s ‘Obliterated’ is an action-packed comedy series that follows the misadventures of a group of elite operatives who are tasked with saving Las Vegas from a nuclear threat. They are the best of the best and perfectly up to the challenge, except that all of them are inebriated. Their impaired senses, with some of them suffering from the inability to make clear decisions, make things difficult for them, but it’s nothing they cannot handle.
Created by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg, the show is tense and hilarious at the same time. It’s also bound to make one wonder if there really could be a circumstance where an operative has had to work a mission as risky as this while trying to sober up themselves. Is there any shred of reality in ‘Obliterated’?
Obliterated Calls Back to Hollywood’s R-Rated Action Comedies
‘Obliterated’ is a completely fictional story that stemmed from the minds of Heald, Hurwitz, and Schlossberg, who have worked together on Netflix’s ‘Cobra Kai.’ The trio brought their previous experience of working on R-rated comedies to the show and wanted to create something that would present an explosive mix of that to the audience, especially considering that stuff like that isn’t made anymore in Hollywood. The trio was inspired by the action movies they saw growing up and wanted to bring that “summer blockbuster” feel to the TV show.
Calling it a mix of ‘Die Hard,’ ‘24’ and ‘The Hangover,’ the creators revealed that they wanted to tell a story based in Vegas to “add to that pantheon (of so many iconic movies and series set in Vegas) by merging big action and suspense in the most fun, wild party environments the city has to offer.” The idea was to focus on a team, with each character bringing something different to the table, be it in their special talent that enhances the capability of the team or in the way they are intoxicated on the night that the city is threatened with a nuclear bomb.
“Even if you’re the so-called best of the best, you’re gonna be way up against it if called back into action with a system full of liquor and drugs. Our team deals with every conceivable self-imposed obstacle as a result of accidentally partying before the mission is over,” Heald said. The show’s basic concept is that you might be great at something, but it becomes extremely difficult to do it if you are “contending with blurred vision, poor brain processing, decreased coordination, nausea, hunger, thirst, and bladder control.”
Because location is a crucial aspect of the story and Vegas becomes a character unto itself in the show, the show’s creators decided to shoot the entire thing in Vegas. They had to face some challenges, like “[from] wrangling partygoers at a day club to shutting down the Las Vegas strip for car chases and explosions,” but it was all worth it in the end.
Offering a wild ride to the audience in the form of an elite team that is incredibly high on drugs and alcohol trying to save the world means the story needs to get wilder with every moment, but at the same time, it must also be believable. To bring that element of believability, or even relatability for some viewers, the creator trio tapped into their own wild experiences in Vegas.
Hurwitz revealed that there were small details or some scenes that were inspired by something they’d done at some party or another situation, like grabbing their friend’s phone to say something improper to their spouse and stir trouble for them. Schlossberg mentioned Heald falling naked into a glass table, and Heald hinted something about falling into a scorpion pit. They didn’t go into the details, but it was enough to suggest that they might have lived some of the experiences the protagonists have in the show.
Apart from the comedy element, they also tried to make the action feel as real as possible. Kevin Kent was brought on board as the military adviser, and the actors collaborated with the stunt coordinator to tailor the action according to their characters so the action and the laughs go hand in hand. Considering all this, it’s clear that while the entire story and characters of ‘Obliterated’ are made up, some of its weirder scenes have a connection to reality.
Read More: Where is Netflix’s Obliterated Filmed?