Josh Thomas on whether everything's gonna be okay on season 2 of Everything's Gonna Be Okay
It's gonna be okay because Everything's Gonna Be Okay season 2 is almost here.
Josh Thomas' feel good Freeform comedy returns to screens April 8 with more antics from neurotic twentysomething Nicholas (played by Thomas), and his teenage half-sisters Genevieve (Maeve Press) and Matilda (Kayla Cromer). Season 1 ended with Matilda accepting her fate that moving to New York to attend Juilliard wasn't going to be possible for the autistic teen and Genevieve trying her hand, rather successfully, at standup comedy.
With a global pandemic in the mix in season 2, everyone's plans are thrown for a loop as the siblings, plus Nicholas' boyfriend Alex (Adam Faison), settle in for a lot of time at home. (Lucky it's such a nice house, amirite?) So is everything going to be okay? Will Nicholas and Adam's romance withstand the test of quarantine? Will Matilda and Genevieve find new outlets for their creativity? And will there be more drag performances from Thomas? We asked the creator/star to dish.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Had you written an outline of season 2 that didn't include COVID and then have to go back and rewrite? Or had you not started yet when the pandemic hit?
JOSH THOMAS: So we hadn't started writing. We started writing a bit into the pandemic. Everyone kept thinking that the pandemic was about to finish. At the beginning, it was like two weeks to save America or something and then actually it wasn't two weeks, as it turned out. We were really having a hard time trying to figure out, by the time this went to air, if we set it in the pandemic would people be like, "Oh, that's so gross. I don't want to go back to that." Or whether the pandemic would be gone and people would just feel a bit weird watching this show that's pretending that this isn't the world we live in. It was just every step of the way, looking around at what was happening and trying to figure out what people are gonna want on April 8, 2021. It was really hard to know.
Did it make it harder to write as well? Just not being able to be in the writers' room together?
I mean, of course it's annoying not to get to see your buddies. When you write in person, you get to see your buddies and it's quite playful, but we were just so happy to be working. It's all relative, isn't it? We were still happy to be there every day and to get to make something really felt precious.
So where do we pick up with season 2, story-wise? How much time has elapsed since the trip to New York?
I try and always be really vague about time. It's however much time you feel like has elapsed.
So, a decade?
Because we ended up setting the show in the pandemic, we don't make a big deal out of it. We have this whole storyline about people going off to college and stuff and we realized that wasn't going to be very dynamic or shootable. That was the other thing, it was like, what can we actually film where everybody's safe?
That makes sense. So how is Matilda doing with the decision not to go to Juilliard that she made at the end of last season?
She's not taking it well. She has some other stuff going on as well. Like everybody, her life has been put on pause so she's obviously not in a good place the beginning of the season.
Does she blame Nicholas at all for her not feeling prepared to move to New York?
She blames Nicholas, but I don't think she really believes it's his fault. She just wanted something to do, but I don't think she really knows what she thinks.
What's going on with Genevieve this season? Obviously she's stuck in a pandemic too, but what does her story arc look like?
Well, we left her in this nice place in the last season, where she was so excited to put herself out there and this season that's impossible. She can't do that. So we really lent into that a little bit and how she's going to try and find worth without leaving the house or continue on this journey. So she tries some stuff. Now that Matilda's in a bad place, they're all in this caring role.
In general, is it hard writing for teenagers? How do you get into that mind space?
I mean, I can remember when I was a teenage girl. The whole thing about teenagers is they make so many choices that are really hard to justify, right? When I was a teenager, I would do these things and you can't really justify them. Genevieve's maybe not so like that, but good storytelling for teenagers is them making decisions that are out of character and impossible to justify, but then that sort of seems like bad script writing. They tell you not to do that at writing school, I guess — I don't know; I never went. Everything's so important to
It's like the beginning or the end. The end or the beginning. It's like, this is going to be it. This is going to be the thing I am. This is who I am now. And this is what I'll do. But also Genevieve's the most mature person on the show. Barb (Lori Mae Hernandez) makes some bad choices this season.
Oh, I'm so happy she's back! Is Talulah (Ivy Wolk) back too?
Talulah isn't back.
Do Kayla and Maeve contribute their own experiences to the story and to their characters?
Before we're on set, Maeve will contribute jokes and Kayla will contribute life experience and Lillian [Carrier] who plays Drea as well will be really helpful with coloring in some things to be more specific to them. As time goes on, on all new shows, the characters become more and more like the actor — I don't know if all the actors realize that's what's happening. So they bring that, but when we're actually on set, that's the script. We do it as it is.
Does Nicholas' mom (Vivienne Walshe) make an appearance via FaceTime?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Penny's in there. She brings some carnage.
How is Alex and Nicholas' relationship doing? Can it survive a pandemic?
They finished last season pretty happy and in a good place. Alex is really cemented into the family. He and Genevieve are kind of friends now which is nice. But, you know, they've got to spend a lot of time together and that maybe isn't the best...
Are you consciously still trying to weave moments of grief throughout season 2 as well?
Yes, it's been, like, a year on and trying to figure out how much the grief would play in their lives and then into the show is always kind of challenging. We do a couple of storylines about Darren (Christoper May), but I mean, I'm much more interested, generally, in moving on, just as a general theme. So we try not to wallow in grief too much, especially this year. But, also it's a really big part of their lives and we want to make sure we're respecting that.
Any more drag performances this season?
No, I don't think I'll ever do drag again. That was hard. It's a lot of tights and a lot of time in makeup. It was fun, but I don't think I'll ever do that again. Drag queens are working so hard. Also, lip syncing is actually so difficult. I did it once and it was fun. It was kind of indulgent. I think the fact I did it once is probably too many times.
Do you feel more or less pressure going into season 2 than you did the first time round?
Whenever I'm making this show, I never feel that much pressure. It feels really private to me when we make the show. I'm on Zoom with those writers and then we're just in this dark room, hanging out with the same people and then it's always a bit of a shock to me, this time of year, when it goes to air. I'm like, "Oh, I guess that was the point."
That's how TV works!
Yeah, but the nice thing about season 2 is that we already know these characters and it's just so nice to hang out. It's just so much nicer to hang out with people you know than with new people. I would so much prefer to go to a dinner party with my old friends than strangers. Season 2, to me, feels a lot like that.
Season 1 got a lot of great reviews. What was the feedback from the autistic community like?
I know everyone says they don't pay that much attention to reviews and I feel like they're probably lying, but I don't pay that much attention to it. When it gets good reviews, I'm relieved. It's, like, okay. Then after the first two or three positive reviews, I'm sort of out. I'm like, "Okay, so it's going to be fine" and I don't look online or anything. But because there's so little autism representation, I was worried about f---ing it up. I just knew it was going to be important to people. One of the things I was pretty conscious of was that a lot of autistic people are gonna want to see themselves represented. That's actually impossible. There's a lot of different types of people. We're just trying to represent this specific person. I was just a bit worried that people wouldn't be disappointed, but they seemed happy. I didn't read anything that mean.
Everything's Gonna Be Okay returns with two back-to-back episodes Thursday, April 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.
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