A cool addition to Supergirl this year has been the inclusion of a National City dive bar where aliens can congregate in peace to meet, drink, and hook-up, both with friendly humans and with other extra-terrestrials.
It's a setting that production designer Tyler Harron said was originally intended to be a one-off, but which has taken up permanent residency on the show's set in Vancouver as writers have decided they liked it as a setting for the J'Onn J'onzz/M'gann M'orzz storyline.
The set is intended to look grimy and industrial -- and wow, does it, especially up close -- and, perhaps becuase it was done for a one-off, there are elements of it you might recognize from other shows (more on that later).
"I've been in places like this, so it was really important to me to get a really nasty texture, and dirty feel," Harron laughed. "The tables I wanted to be a little bit bashed and really dirty, to feel like there's gum underneath -- there isn't, but to give it that feel like you don't want to touch anything here. You might catch something, or something might catch you."
Besides a commitment to filth, Harron talked about creating little touches that surprised even executive producers Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti.
What were some of them? Well, read on, dear reader...!
THE CHINESE RESTAURANT
A good chunk of the set is actually reused from Harron's first job with Berlanti Productions -- The CW's short-lived sci-fi drama The Tomorrow People.
The bar itself, the booths, and some of the other little touches on Supergirl come from the Chinese restaurant on the short-lived drama, which starred current Frequency headliner Peyton List and former The Flash standout Robbie Amell.
Harron added a few extra touches to make the bar feel grimy and industrial, matching the aesthetic that the scripts asked for -- as well as the location of Supergirl's production itself which is a former warehouse.prevnext
Last year when we visited the set of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, we looked and looked for Interlac on the Waverider and were surprised not to find any.
On the set of Supergirl? Well, that's a different story.
Interlac was kind of everywhere in this bar: graffiti on the wall that says things like "Designed by Tyler Harron" and "Kryptonians Suck," drink menus, and more.
Harron told us that he had brought it to the table, suggesting it be used because "even though it's from the future, we've got Mon-El, we've got the Legion of Super-Heroes, so why not?"
We're going to go ahead and assume he means the Legion flight ring that appeared in season 1 in Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Don't read too much into that.
Either way: Interlac is pretty cool.prevnext
There's one more piece of Interlac that Harron was particularly proud of. It's pretty big, and it's been on screen, and yet people hadn't yet noticed it.
That's the word "Bar" in Interlac outside of the bar.
It's perhaps harder to notice because the bar's exterior is covered in lots of other graffiti, there's piles of garbage and other things that you see...well, in an alley outside of a dive bar. You get it.prevnext
DARKSEID IS COMING
There's a bit of graffiti written in Sharpie marker on one of the hallway walls in the bar. It's small and pretty hard to read -- intentionally -- likely indicative of set dec that's not really meant to be seen by the average viewer.
You can see the hallway in the first pane of this slideshow -- and you can tell from that exactly how hard it would be to see on TV, especially if there were actually people in the shot.prevnext
WHERE'S THE JOKE?
"Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?" asks another piece of Sharpie-written graffiti on the hallway wall.
Like the Darkseid message, it's likely something that nobody could actually see on screen and so it serves primarily as a gag for those on set who might be waiting on a shot, or performing as an extra in the hallway, and trying to suss out what that awful handwriting means.
If you're not familiar with it, "Have you ever danced with the devi lin the pale moonlight?" is what Jack Nicholson's Jack Napier asks of his victims immediately before killing them in 1989's Batman.
It's the thing that ties The Joker back to Jack and allows Batman to realize that by defeating the Clown Prince of Crime, he's also bringing his parents' killer to justice.prev