Canadian filmmaker Matthew Clarke calls his viral YouTube web-series Convos With My 2 Year Old “an experiment that went completely out of control.”
Clarke says that he found himself, like many parents of toddlers, “in survival mode.” So he and his wife, actress Leila Harrison, decided that the best way to survive the tantrums and illogical arguments was to laugh.
“For me, this show is really a fun way to record this time, to hold onto these moments. And, by finding the funny in them, it makes them a lot less crazy-making,” Clarke said of the series, in which he reenacts actual conversations he’s had with daughter Coco, now 4, with another full-grown man, played by actor David Milchard. (As Coco has grown older, the name of the series has changed; it's now "Convos with my 4 year old.")
A longtime family friend, Milchard was the perfect choice to play Coco on the series, says Clark. Milchard is often dressed in grown-up sized footie pajamas and tutus, designed to match Coco’s outfits perfectly.
“He was the most opposite of a sweet 2 year old girl that I knew,” said Clarke.
The hilarious chemistry between Clarke, Coco and Milchard skyrocketed them to viral status within the first week of releasing their show in the spring of 2013, and has continued to propel them through three seasons and a recently released mini-series, in which the trio try their hand at story telling in a series of longer videos that tell of the time Coco painted mugs for Harrison for Mother’s Day, only to have the “mug store” go out of business before she could pick them up.
Their most current project, released earlier this month, is Convos Season 4, a new 8-week installment of the series, scheduled to release every Wednesday, ending on December 24th.
Clarke says Coco takes her internet fame in stride, and is just a “crazy, normal, hilarious kid.”
“She’s very creative. It will be very interesting to see what she does as she gets older,” said Clarke. “Also, she’s quite shy naturally. She doesn’t see the camera and think, ‘I gotta perform!’ She’s often opposed to doing things on cue, which I actually think is great. Usually, we just try to capture her doing whatever she wants, which is typically way funnier anyway.”
In the first episode of season 4, the cast acts out a funny bedtime scene, in which Coco and Milchard – both wearing fuzzy pajamas – try to avoid bedtime by claiming to be thirsty and wanting to pick out which stuffed animals to take to bed.
Clarke, who lives in Vancouver, B.C., says it’s hard to pick a favorite episode but he loves every moment of filming– from seeing Coco conquer childhood fears to showcasing the absurd yet completely logical arguments kids make.
“’Because I’m naked and I’m the boss,’ is a statement I have yet to find a flaw in,” said Clarke.
Such shenanigans are par for the course in Clarke’s home, where he and his wife recently welcomed a baby boy, Shepherd, to the family as well. How long will Clarke and his family give us the inside view of their parenting stories? The actor, filmmaker and busy dad says he’s not sure.
“I originally thought we’d only do 6 at most, but here we are. I just want to take it as it comes. There’s a lot of factors – does it still work for Coco and our family? Is it still funny? Is the audience still interested? For now, we’re still having a lot of fun and finding all sorts of new ways to play with this concept,” said Clarke.
Clarke says he’s looking forward to seeing fans take in season 4, but he’s not giving many spoilers away.
“There may or may not be a pool. And, there may or may not be an epic car ride. But you’ll have to tune in to find out for sure.”