"There's some big twists," showrunner Christina Lee warns EW.
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Made for Love (TV Series)

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Warning: This article contains spoilers about the first 4 episodes of Made for Love season 2.

Warning: Made for Love is going to be made of tears by the end of season 2.

HBO Max's dark comedy has been bringing plenty of laughs and wacky hijinks in the first half of the season, as Hazel (Cristin Milioti) took back some of her power when re-entering The Hub with her husband Byron Gogol (Billy Magnussen), the uber-rich founder and CEO of Gogol Tech. Of course, she only did it because Byron essentially blackmailed her by holding the key to curing her father Herbert's (Ray Romano) cancer over her head. Now she's considering working with the FBI to take down Byron and Gogol Tech from the inside, while also maybe starting to have feelings for Byron again. Ah, what a modern fairytale!

But things are going to take a turn — and soon. "There's some big twists," showrunner Christina Lee warns EW. "We have so much fun with [what] we get to do on this show, playing with tone, and in the second half, while it's so important for us to lead with comedy, we dig really deep emotionally. That's just a credit to our incredible cast on the different levels that we can go to."

Alissa Nutting, author of the novel upon which the series is based, adds, "Every single character will completely surprise you." Lee teases there "may be" another massive cliffhanger in the season 2 finale like they did in season 1. "We'll say this: we did leave it in a certain way because we have ideas for a season 3," she says.

"We wouldn't poop the bed," Nutting says, while Lee quickly adds with a laugh, "Don't quote her on that."

Below, the Made for Love showrunners tease what else fans can expect from the rest of season 2.

Made for Love
Credit: Beth Dubber/HBO Max

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: After seeing the feedback from season 1, what were your main goals while developing season 2?

ALISSA NUTTING: We really wanted to expand and make the world bigger, and also get to know the sides of these characters that in season 1 we didn't get to settle into yet. Hazel was in flight mode almost all of season 1, never really had time to stop and evaluate. I mean, she married this guy, went away at The Hub for 10 years, and was just living a lie. Now suddenly, all of that façade has dropped. This season is a chance for Hazel to be taking this personal inventory not of, who's in my way, but, what do I want if I were given the choice for everything? We were thinking a lot about power dynamics as well, and role reversals within a relationship. In my own life, I love eating popcorn and watching friends' relationships when you see the tables turn. This week, she's mad at him, he's got all the power. This week, she owes him a favor. Just seeing the ways that in this season in particular, Byron is really beholden to Hazel a little more and we have this complete reversal in some ways of the characters that we saw in season 1.

CHRISTINA LEE: If last season was all about the separation and what comes with that, this season is really examining, can two people who have separated reconnect? Do people change? How can a relationship evolve, or is it always what it's meant to be? That's what we've examined in season 2.

At the end of episode 4, Hazel kissed Byron, which threw me for a loop because I never thought we'd see her get to a place where she'd want him again. But here we are! What's going through her mind at this point?

LEE: Oh yeah. Last year she had such a definite goal. And then this year, it's these feelings that she's having, she's not prepared for. She walked into The Hub in season 2 with this agenda: "I'm going to cure my dad's cancer and then I'm going to get out of here and that's it." But while she's there, things are starting to change for her. As she gains more power, I think there's a part of her that's thinking, "You know what? I spent 10 years suffering in here, trapped with no autonomy. And now I have this potential opportunity with this FBI guy to maybe take control and take this away from Byron and make the 10 past years worth it somehow." And her getting more involved with Byron, there is actually a connection there, and so I think it can get confusing. Particularly with the D.C. episode, they've never stepped out into the world together, and so it's a whole new feeling for both of them. And one that's surprising to her in a time where she feels almost like, "This actually feels different." In that spontaneous moment, she was just feeling it and tested it out.

NUTTING: It's fun watching her character, wondering as she herself is, "How much of this is me playing a part and stepping back into the shoes of Mrs. Gogol and trying to be with my husband and have him not suspect anything, and how much is us maybe genuinely connecting in the moment? Has what I want and who we are maybe shifted?" It's complicated.

LEE: And the answer is both and neither. If she were to answer, she doesn't know.

Well, that leads me to my next question. Is there actually potential for Byron to redeem himself? We've seen him do — and continue to do — some really despicable things, but he definitely is trying with Hazel in ways this season that we haven't seen from him before.

LEE: We have so much fun with Byron [because] he is clearly a villain... but we have a lot of empathy for him. In season 2 particularly, we're getting to understand who he is as a person, and in the second half of the season, you're going to see more of that and you're going to have an understanding of where he came from. Now whether a character like that can fully redeem himself, it's tricky. He'll do the best he can through his own view. But is he actually thinking about the bigger picture? Is he capable of that? Is he capable of actually thinking about somebody else's feelings before his? That is the question we don't know yet. Or, we can't say yet.

NUTTING: We're really playing around with these themes of hero and anti-hero, and what villains and saviors do we all have inside both of us? And when does each side come out?

How does the FBI investigation come into play in the second half of the season?

NUTTING: We get to see a character from season 1 who we saw a piece of on a news clip. And the media can be a gift and a curse for Byron, so some things come back to haunt him.

LEE: That's the most we can say without spoiling anything. What we'll say is there's a lot of twists and turns in the second half.

Made for Love
Credit: Beth Dubber/HBO Max

How is the show going even bigger and wackier as we near the end of season 2?

LEE: One of the new characters that we introduced are "the others," the other Hazel and other Byron, and they're super fun because Byron, while he's earnestly trying to gain a connection with Hazel again, because he's Byron he couldn't help but put in an insurance plan and upload their consciousnesses onto a network, and because of his romanticism and selfishness, he put them on the same network. He himself didn't realize, if you put them on the same network, they'll communicate, and you see them being born as this Adam and Eve in episode 1, and then in the first four episodes, you see them becoming themselves and communicating and then starting to have desires and needs. That's going to cause a lot of havoc in the second half of the season. It's interesting because I think that there's part of us that root for them because there is something pure to their connection. And what we think of them is, they are the core of Hazel and Byron without any of the emotional baggage. So they're the data and they know everything, but they have no emotional connection to it, but they're starting to have wants and desires.

NUTTING: Speaking of wants and desires, our dolphin, Zelda, talks this season and she's going to have some needs of her own coming up.

Alissa, how have you been able to dig deeper into the story of your book with a second season of the series?

NUTTING: One of the great things about our amazing cast is that they showed us so many facets of who the characters are in season 1 that really opened up a lot of possibilities for us to just jump into. We knew with The Hub in particular, we really wanted to do a Downton Abbey upstairs/downstairs reveal of how there's so much of The Hub that Hazel hasn't seen. There's so much of The Hub that viewers haven't seen. Now that she's been back in The Hub with some power, we figured it would be a really fun, great way for the audience to discover The Hub right alongside the character. And giving her the goal not just of escape and divorce that she had in season 1, but this time having this mission to save her father from cancer gave us a really, really great launching point.

It's so fitting that Byron found the cure for cancer and hasn't shared it with the world.

NUTTING: [Laughs] And it was just an accident.

What's going to happen to Herb as he starts to figure out what's going on in The Hub?

NUTTING: Go to Costco and buy as many boxes of Kleenex as you can find. One box is not enough. Two boxes is not enough. I don't know how many boxes is enough. I mean, Ray Romano dramatically acted his heart out. We have this crew of hardened, Philadelphia, hyper-masculine angels behind the cameras, and they were just sobbing after —

LEE: Without giving anything away!

NUTTING: Right, without giving anything away. I mean, nothing happens. [Laughs] This is hard.

LEE: We've been fans of Ray forever, and he's one of the comedy greats out there, so for us to be able to work with someone like that was so incredible. But what really surprised us is we knew he was going to be funny in this show, but he goes to places as his character of Herbert that just really blew us away. And while you know he's capable of that, to actually witness it was incredibly moving for all of us.

NUTTING: And to be acting off of a synthetic actor sometimes too, to bring that level of depth and feeling when your acting partner is a little mono expressive, is impressive.

LEE: She's a little stiff. I mean, we love her, but she can be cold.

NUTTING: I have a better relationship with her than Christina does.

LEE: It's funny because if you think of this character as a sex doll, immediately where your mind goes to is this icky relationship. And if I'm going to be really honest, in the very beginning, I was like, "This might be a challenge to get people really behind it." But it's a credit to Ray's acting, you believe it. You understand why a guy like him has chosen to be with Diane and that she feels like a real substantial partner, and that it's not about being a sex doll. And I will say behind the scenes, we all treat Diane like a cast member. She has the best seat in the house. She gets her hair and makeup done. She's never tossed in a corner. Diane is the diva on set actually.

NUTTING: People are very protective of Diane.

And I still can't believe you got Paula Abdul to play a holographic A.I. version of herself this season. How did that happen?

LEE: No one was more surprised than us. We put it in the script being like, "We're not getting Paula Abdul." We didn't even ask because we were like, to our casting department, "Who can we get like Paula Abdul?" And they were like, "Well, we could ask her." And I was like, "She's not going to do it." When we found out that she had seen the show and then was willing to do it, we were floored. And wow, what a performance. She's lovely. It was amazing.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

New episodes of Made for Love stream Thursdays on HBO Max.

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