The Boys Are Back: ‘Where The Bears Are’ Returns for Season Two

The main cast of "Where The Bears Are" all leathered up for Season 2. From left: Ian Parks (Hot Toddy), Ben Zook (Nelseon), Joe Dietl (Wood) and Rick Copp (Reggie). Photo courtesy of WTBA

The main cast of “Where The Bears Are” all leathered up for Season 2. From left: Ian Parks (Hot Toddy), Ben Zook (Nelson), Joe Dietl (Wood) and Rick Copp (Reggie). Photo courtesy of WTBA

One of the biggest web series hits last year was the bear sitcom/murder mystery “Where The Bears Are.” The series following three bear friends in LA during a murder investigation took off with more than four million views of the series’ YouTube channel and a loyal following of fans, both gay and straight. The second season started this week to the great relief of fans who needed their Hot Toddy fix. (Watch the show, you’ll see why.)

Rick Copp, who plays Reggie in the show and is one of the writer/producers, took time out of a very busy schedule of editing season two and getting ready for more filming and promotion to talk with the Great Lakes Den.

Great Lakes Den: First, how did you guys come up with the idea for the show?
Rick Copp: We were sitting in my hot tub in Palm Springs on Thanksgiving Weekend in 2011 having a few cocktails and bemoaning the fact that it’s so hard to get anything done in Hollywood anymore unless you do it yourself.  Joe and I have been trying to get a few indie films off the ground for some time now and raising the budget was frustrating so in our drunken haze we just decided to do our own web show.  I had the title “Where The Bears Are” in my head for a couple of years and once we decided to play the leads ourselves it all just started taking shape.  We were coming up with one-liners all weekend.  And we knew it was a sign to move forward with this crazy thought when we walked into a bar in town called Spurline that plays show tunes and they were playing “Where the Boys Are.”  So we pooled our own resources, held our breath and just pushed forward.

GLD: How did you conceive of the characters? Are they based anyone you guys know?
RC: Nelson, Reggie and Wood were inspired by “The Golden Girls.”  Ben is a huge fan and I worked as a writer on the show in the late 80s early 90s.  Basically Nelson is inspired by Dorothy, Wood is an off-shoot of Rose and Reggie is basically Blanche but a lot bitchier.  That’s why we refer to the show as “The Golden Girls” meets “Murder, She Wrote.”  Detective Winters is a nod to a character I created in a series of gay mystery novels I wrote about a gay former child star who solves murders in Hollywood between acting auditions.  The first one was called The Actor’s Guide To Murder and the main character has a hot detective boyfriend named Charlie and I always thought of him as a hot Tom Selleck type with a mustache so Chad Sanders fills the role perfectly.

GLD: Here in the Midwest, it’s been popular with both gay and straight people. Are you surprised at the response?
RC: Frankly we’ve been stunned by the response.  None of us could have predicted how popular the show would be become.  We are so grateful to the gay press for talking about us so much not to mention the Huffington Post which gave us a shout out early on in our first season.  We’re overwhelmed by the support of the fans and it was only because of their generosity buying DVDs and t-shirts and hats at our online store at that we were able to even do a second season.

GLD: Last year Hot Toddy was the suspect. Who’s under suspicion this season?
RC: This year we have a ton of suspects.  Last year the big question was “Is Todd the murderer or isn’t he?”  We were inspired by the movie Jagged Edge with Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges from the 80s where Glenn Close got involved with a man who might or might not be the murderer.  This year it’s more of a whodunnit.  We have Todd’s ex-boyfriend, a closeted gay married politician, a personal trainer, a dominatrix, a rugby player, a non-profit guy, a jealous detective, and maybe even the killer from last year who may or may not be a figment of Nelson’s imagination.  The list goes on and on and it’s fun to see the Bears investigate each one.

GLD: You had great guest stars last year, but you outdid yourselves for this season. How did you get actors like Margaret Cho to join in?
RC: Margaret is a friend of Ben and Joe’s from way back and she wanted to do the show last year.  But unfortunately because of her shooting schedule for the Lifetime series “Drop Dead Diva” we just weren’t able to work it out.  But she made herself available this season and she’s terrific as a trash-talking dominatrix.  I’ve been a huge fan of hers for years so it was a special treat for me working with her.

GLD: The show is completely financed by you guys, but you’ve also been asking for people to buy the DVD and merchandise. Have people stepped up to support the show?
RC: Yes, we are so grateful for the support.  We really hate asking for money, but it’s the only way we can continue with the show.  We just don’t have the means to continue financing it ourselves so the only way we can keep doing it is from fan support.  We’re still not at the finish line paying for season two so we have to keep begging.  We also paid people this year as opposed to last year and we paid for bigger sets and locations so our budget nearly tripled.  But as long as people keep buying merchandise and downloading season one on iTunes and Amazon, we’ll keep doing more seasons.

GLD: Are you guys as close as it seems in the promos and show? You’ve all got amazing chemistry.
RC: Thank you.  That’s nice to hear.  Yes, Joe and I have been friends since the late 90s.  We met through a mutual friend and then worked together on a Fox TV pilot.  I met his boyfriend Ben shortly after that. They’ve been a couple for nineteen years.  We all just clicked and began hanging out together so the friendship you see on screen is real, just heightened a little bit for comic effect.  None of us are really close to the characters we play.  Except maybe Joe.  He is really, really stupid.  Kidding!  They would both say I’m really a whore like Reggie, so don’t listen to them!

GLD: You’re all active in the entertainment industry. Where are some places we can see some of the main cast’s work?
RC: Ben recently wrote the Adam Sandler movie Jack And Jill, which was a hit at the box office.  Joe can be seen in a number of national commercials.  I write a lot of animation.  I have a Scooby Doo movie coming out later this year called Scooby Doo! Mecha Mutt Menace.  And I also write a series of mystery novels with my sister under the pen name Lee Hollis about a single mother in Maine who writes a cooking and cocktail column and solves small town murders.  The latest  book Death Of A Coupon Clipper will be out in July.

GLD: Any details about this season you can tell us? Whet our appetite a little?
RC: Without giving too much away, Todd moves in with the Bears and so his relationship with Nelson goes to the next level.  But his ex Ivan shows up again to complicate matters.  Wood, who hooked up with Detective Winters at the Christmas party last year (in a special 20 minute episode that was featured exclusively on the Season One DVD), also starts dating another Detective (played by the incredibly sexy George Unda) and has to juggle both men.  Reggie’s rule to never get seriously involved with anyone gets shaken up by a handsome non-profit guy.  Believe me, those were some of my favorite scenes to play given the actor playing the love interest, Mark Rowe.  And the wonderfully talented Scott Beauchemin who played Cyril the killer last season makes a return appearance.  But we’re not sure if he’s real or just in Nelson’s imagination.

A bit thanks to Rick for taking the time to talk with us. And if you want to watch the show, you have plenty of options. You can watch at the show’s YouTube channel, Vimeo channel, and at We also post each episode as it comes out here on the Den and on our DVN Friends playlist.