The Fosters siblings Callie and Mariana are setting off on their own adventure in the Los Angeles-set spinoff Good Trouble (premiering Tuesday at 8/7c on Freeform), and their new life will look and feel much more mature.
“We love The Fosters, and we would’ve done it forever,” executive producer Joanna Johnson tells TVLine. “But because the network was really trying to be a network about and for millennials and Gen Z-ers, they sort of felt like it was time to grow the show up, and you know, it’s true. These actors have been playing younger than themselves for a long time. And I felt like we had told almost every high school story that we could think of without suddenly going into the crazy stuff, and it was just time to evolve.”
And when it came time to decide whom the grown-up spinoff would center around, the answer was clear. “This is also a network that skews female, obviously, so it made total sense to bring Callie and Mariana,” Johnson explains. Plus, the actresses, Maia Mitchell and Cierra Ramirez, “have such a great chemistry together, and they’re also best friends in real life. They do everything together.”
The offshoot follows Callie and Mariana as professional twentysomethings trying to navigate their first real jobs, love and sex, along with a complicated living situation. With that comes a more adult tone than The Fosters and a fresh look, courtesy of pilot director Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians). “One thing that was exciting about doing the spinoff is doing something different,” Johnson says.
Below, the EP details how Good Trouble departs from its predecessor — and one very important thing the two shows have in common.
THE LOOK | Prior to filming the series premiere, “I had been watching The Handmaid’s Tale and [was] obsessed with the way they shoot that show, and how gorgeous and beautiful it is,” Johnson shares. She and her fellow EPs Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige were inspired to give Good Trouble its own visual language and “to push ourselves [as directors] and [to] push the envelope,” Johnson explains, adding that “we really wanted this show, cinematically, to be a character, as well.” The spinoff is also told in a non-linear storytelling format, which adds “a little mystery” and requires viewers’ full attention — so put down those phones!
THE SEX | Prepare for a steamier show than The Fosters, because now that Callie and Mariana are in their twenties, they’re “exploring [their] sexuality in a more adult way,” Johnson says. “These girls have been sexual beings already, and they’re evolving their sexuality and their sensuality. It’s an exciting time in your life, because it’s not the awkwardness of high school. It’s not about losing your virginity. These are women now who know what they want, know what they like, have sexual confidence, and are like real women today who don’t apologize for being sexual [and] wanting to have sex.” But Good Trouble isn’t overtly sexual; the show is also incredibly sensual, especially during an out-of-sync dialogue exchange in the premiere episode. “Jon Chu killed that scene and got completely what we wanted to do,” Johnson raves. “Steven Soderbergh did that in that seduction scene [in Out of Sight], and I never forgot it.”
THE LIVING SITUATION | After The Fosters wrapped up its five-season run, Johnson thought, “We’re not doing a big ensemble show anymore. It’s going to be just Callie and Mariana and maybe a couple of roommates,” the EP recalls. Then the creative team heard about the growing trend of communal living among millennials and Gen Z-ers looking to share resources, save money and carve out a community in the big, lonely city. So Callie and Mariana move into The Coterie, a downtown L.A. building where they share a bathroom, kitchen and other communal spaces with a diverse group of residents, who “are exploring different aspects of their sexuality [and] different aspects of activism.”
THE TABLE | Callie and Mariana’s new home contains a very important prop, which brings the spinoff back to its roots: In the final episodes of The Fosters, the girls’ mama “Lena says, ‘I can’t imagine us not all around this [kitchen] table anymore,’ and I couldn’t imagine a show without a communal table,” Johnson says. “We wanted to keep that family aspect going. You leave your family, and you go out in the world as adults, and you create your chosen family of friends, roommates and coworkers.”