WandaVision creator Jac Schaeffer considered filming all nine episodes in front of a live studio audience like the decades of classic sitcoms that inspired the Marvel Studios series, but the "pipe dream" was "never gonna happen." Like The Dick Van Dyke Show-channeling series premiere, "Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience," the first episode of the black-and-white Marvel sitcom filmed in front of a live studio audience populated with friends and family bound by NDAs. Subsequent episodes shot on soundstages and backlots with a laugh track, including "Don't Touch That Dial," a spin on Bewitched, and "Now In Color," a homage to The Brady Bunch and Good Times.
"One of the things that was wonderful about that audience is it was mostly a friends and family audience. So my parents were there, my husband was there, some dear friends were there, and they also were encouraged to dress in 1950s theme," Schaeffer told THR's TV's Top 5 podcast about the WandaVision premiere. "So there was this lovely celebratory party atmosphere to the whole thing. Anytime you ask people to be in costume, they feel like they're part of something, and it was a lot of parents, a lot of aunts and grandparents, and so that was part of the design."
Schaeffer continued, "It was very early on in the room that Mary [Livanos, producer] and I were like, 'What if we did this in front of a [live audience]? Could we possibly do this in front of a live studio audience?' And it felt like a pipe dream at the time. We were like, 'What if we did it for all of them?' (laughs) That was never gonna happen."
In "Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience," antics and mishaps ensue when newlywed couple Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) put together a last-minute dinner party entertaining the hard-to-please Harts (Fred Melamed and Debra Jo Rupp).
"I think people came ready with smiles on their faces, and I think a lot of the people in the audience didn't know much about Marvel — because again, friends and families and parents — so it put the pressure on us that it had to be a good show," said Schaeffer, a writer on Captain Marvel and Black Widow. "And the first two episodes are so physical, especially for Paul and Lizzie. They're incredibly physical comedic performances, and they're all over the set, and it felt very much like a play."
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