When a couple has survived life-altering grief and a near-fatal illness in just a matter of months, it’s basically destined for success, right?
Not necessarily, say A Million Little Things stars James Roday and Allison Miller, who preview that Gary and Maggie will have to, y’know, actually get to know each other in Season 2 now that her health crisis has passed.
When the ABC series returns on Thursday, Sept. 26 (9/8c), the action will pick up where the season finale left off: Miller’s Maggie has beaten breast cancer, and Roday’s Gary has made his peace with the suicide of his good friend, Jon. But now that the pair is in a much better place, both physically and emotionally, they’ll both face the mundane-yet-trying stuff that tests new relationships — including the logistics of living together.
“I think these two probably don’t know each other as well as they think they do,” Roday tells TVLine. “How could they? The relationship was defined exclusively by keeping her alive. But once you beat something like that, there’s a euphoria where you feel like, ‘We can conquer anything because we just conquered cancer.’ So yeah, they probably jumped the gun.” Hence the giddy decision to co-habitate. “And now they’re having to reverse-engineer all of the steps in a relationship that got skipped.”
Series creator D.J. Nash says the pair’s path this season is defined by trying to answer a singular question: “What is their life without cancer?” He adds: “So many patterns have been set and built around ‘I’m going to help you beat this’ that Gary is at a loss this season as to what role he should play in her life. She is struggling to figure out what her life is without cancer. He is struggling to figure out who they are without cancer. If you compare it to a couple where one person is an alcoholic and then gets sober, the whole dynamic of how that other person either enabled them or covered for them or whatever is completely rewritten. In a similar way here, we’re watching Gary and Maggie struggle to redefine themselves.”
But as that assessment happens, Miller previews, “it’s kind of like they are meeting two different people now. And they are instantly in each other’s space, just on top of each other in a brand new courtship.” She laughs. “So that’s a lot of pressure.”