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Everything Sucks! Bosses on Luke's Dad, Kate's Story and More

Jahi Di'Allo Winston, Claudine Nako; Everything Sucks! | Photo Credits: Scott Patrick Green/Netflix

[Spoilers for Season 1 of Everything Sucks! follow. Read at your own risk!]

By now, you've probably made your way through Netflix's extremely bingable high school series Everything Sucks!, a charming light-hearted drama that covers topics like sexuality, romance and all the pains of being a teenager no matter the decade. And although things end on a (mostly) happy note, there are still some lingering questions we have concerning the kids at Boring High School.

To wit, what's up with Luke's (Jahi Winston) dad Leroy (Zachary Ray Sherman)? And going further, how did producers handle Kate's (Peyton Kennedy) storyline of a teen girl coming to terms with her sexuality? TV Guide talked to the show's creators, Ben York Jones and Michael Mohan, to get some answers.


Kate's coming out story is wonderful, and a major part of the season. How did you go about capturing that experience?
York Jones: To me, taking on a character like Kate, who is a 15-year-old girl grappling with her sexuality identity in 1996, is a real challenge for Mike and I and at the same time I think that we worked really hard to open up our empathy channels. And it's a lot of the similar thinking of being an actor, if you're writing a character like that, where you try and put yourself in their shoes and you talk to people who have been through a similar experience, and you do your best to be true to the character, get yourself in their head a little bit if you're able. We had a tremendous amount of support from our entire writers room, which was seven strong and fairly diverse in that capacity, and it's a shared authorship of Kate's arc.

In the finale, Kate doesn't tell her dad she's a lesbian. She's about to, but she doesn't. If you've thought about Season 2, what will that next step in her journey be for her? Will she feel that same level of confidence she had in that moment or will it be drawn out a little more?
Michael Mohan: We certainly don't want to count our chickens before they hatch, but obviously her not telling her dad was a very intentional choice. We felt that there was honestly a great deal of story still to be found in that process. We don't know what it will look like, should we be fortunate enough to get to explore it, but we know there are a lot of decisions that have to be made on her behalf before she can really assuredly come out to her dad.

York Jones: I think one of the things that was really important to us with the first season was that we didn't want to shortchange her emotional experience during this timeframe, because in earlier incarnations of the show we did toy around with, "What if she came out in Episode 5?" Ultimately, that wouldn't have done the character right, and it wouldn't let her be in the driver's seat of her own [story], you want to make sure that she's able to tell her own story, and I think that in Season 2, keeping Kate in the driver's seat and keeping her in control of her own narrative is really important to us. It's one of the things we took away from [when] a representative from GLAAD came to our writers room, learning about that perspective and seeing what the tropes were and trying to avoid every single one of them.

Luke's race is never mentioned once in the show, and I found that very refreshing. Was the character always meant to be black, or did you go through the casting process completely open and find Jahi Winston was perfect for Luke?
Mohan: Our intention was to have Luke be a character of color in some part, because we also wanted Sherri (Claudine Nako), his mom, to be a woman of color. And it's honestly as simple as we don't see it enough. And if we were in charge, we decided that's what we wanted to see.


Expanding on that, Luke's dad Leroy, by all appearances, is white, and Luke doesn't appear to be biracial. How was that decided and will we learn more about Leroy if we get a second season of Everything Sucks!?
Mohan: Narratively speaking the only thing I can say is wait 'til you see what happens in Season 2. In terms of the Season 1 of it all, the one thing we'll say is we really wanted the show to focus -- we wanted to limit the number of characters that we see, so we can be more intimately involved in each and every single one of them. So it was a very deliberate choice to only have three adult leads, being Luke's mom, Kate's dad and Leroy. And if you're only going to have three adult characters, we just didn't want to have the quote-unquote deadbeat dad character be the only black adult male because it's a bit of a trope. So that was reason enough to make Leroy not black.

Leroy is both a good and bad influence on Luke it seems, and in the finale, he returns as the big cliffhanger. What will his return mean for Luke and Sherri?
York Jones: It's a question we're asking ourselves right now. [Laughs] One thing we did want to incorporate into Season 1 is that even though Leroy is kind of introduced to us as not such a great guy, a guy Luke and Sherri have distanced themselves from, he and Luke do share a lot of traits, for better or worse. They're both really excitable, obviously they're both really into movies. And we wanted that to provide some form of internal struggle for Luke in the way of identity.

The final scenes with McQuaid were really devastating. Please tell me he's going to be OK!
York Jones: McQuaid (Rio Mangini) is gonna be fine. Mike's shaking his head. [Laughs] I think he's gonna be fine, Mike isn't so sure.

Mohan: The point of drama is to torture your characters as much as possible, I'm sure if it's not through that, I'm sure we'll find other ways to turn the vice. But he's a smart kid, he just needs to loosen up.

Everything Sucks! is now streaming on Netflix.



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Famous in Love Mega Buzz: Can Paige Keep Both Rainer and Jake in Her Life?

Charlie DePew and Bella Thorne, Famous in Love | Photo Credits: Byron Cohen/Freeform

Welcome to Mega Buzz, your go-to place for the latest and greatest spoilers on your favorite TV shows. We know you have questions, and we have answers! If you're craving scoop on something in particular, e-mail us your question at mega_scoop@tvguide.com or drop us a line at Twitter.com/TVGuide. You can also catch up on all the latest Mega Buzz right here!

Paige Townsen (Bella Thorne) had a major choice to make when Famous in Love left off: would she choose to be with her reliable BFF Jake (Charlie DePew) or her sexy co-star Rainer (Carter Jenkins)?

No matter whom Paige chooses, the decision will have drastic consequences for the aspiring movie star. But according to Charlie DePew, both men will remain in Page's life despite one of them having been (very publicly) rejected.

"She definitely is with both characters, either working, loving, having fun, being friends -- whatever it may be, she is with both of them," the actor says of Season 2.

The question then becomes, would Jake really choose to stay in LA if Page didn't choose him? She was the sole reason he returned from his new job in Austin, so does Jake sticking around Los Angeles mean he's the one who stole Paige's heart? Not necessarily. According to DePew, Jake's grand gesture at the Locked press conference might have given the aspiring writer a few other reasons to stay. "He definitely is the talk of the town for some people," De Pew teases.

Famous in Love returns Wednesday, April 4 on Freeform.



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Katie Holmes Is Returning to TV

Katie Holmes | Photo Credits: Ben Hider, Getty Images

Pilot season is adding more and more familiar faces to the lineup. Katie Holmes is now potentially returning to broadcast after landing the lead in a Fox pilot penned by Empireexecutive producer Ilene Chaiken.

Holmes, who has also signed on as an executive producer, will play FBI Special Agent Hazel Otis in the still-untitled project. Her character is in the middle of a terrorism investigation when her affair with a high-powered general goes public, according to TVLine. Once Hazel is dubbed "the mistress" she must figure out a way to rebuild her career and her personal life in the wake of the crisis.

Magnum P.I. Reboot Casts Scandal Alum as Lead

This is Holmes' first pilot role since 2014 when she starred in a Richard LaGravense project that did not move forward to series. Holmes, who broke out on TV as Dawson's Creek's Joey Potter, was last seen on the small screen in Season 3 of Ray Donovan and in 2017's The Kennedys: After Camelot.

Chaiken is writing the script alongside Person of Interest's Melissa Scrivner Love. They will both executive produce with Holmes and Judy Smith (Scandal) and Oly Obst (The Mick).

This pilot is one of five dramas currently on the table for Fox, a network trying to configure a fall schedule while their studio and major assets are being bought by Disney.



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