‘Tis the season to celebrate the holidays with family, and on Good Trouble, that means you can count on two things: festive cheer and emotional tears.
Monday’s two-hour Christmas special (Freeform, 9/8c) reunites Callie and Mariana’s entire Fosters clan, along with Brandon’s in-laws, so expect plenty of personality clashes and secrets, executive producer Joanna Johnson previews in the following Q&A.
TVLine | We’ve seen Fosters family members stop by Good Trouble before, but this is the first time they’re all appearing together. What was it like having everyone back together again?
It was so fun, and it made me miss everybody and miss The Fosters and just that wonderful dynamic and the chemistry that all those actors have. Sherri [Saum] and Teri [Polo] are really like the mother figures. So it was great to see the reunion, and to mix our Foster family with the Good Trouble family was great.
TVLine | And on-screen, how would you characterize this big family reunion for the characters?
All the characters, as always when you’re dealing with The Fosters, are all dealing with their own little dramas and decisions that they’re having to make. Everybody’s got a little bit of a secret, which gets revealed within the episode. But being together as a family, they always support each other and end up finding their way and making the right choices as a family. They’re adults now, so bigger kids, bigger problems, so to speak. But they still need their moms and they still need advice from each other. Brandon and Callie, definitely, have their connection that they always have and still go to each other for advice, and that’s really nice to see.
TVLine | It’s been a good minute since we’ve seen or checked in with the other family members. What can you say about where everyone is at this point in their lives?
Everyone’s adulting the best that they can, even our grownups. They’re also dealing with relationship issues that are at a crossroads at the moment, and that’s what we’re going to find out: what it is that each of them is dealing with and what they’re keeping secret. Lena is about to have a life-changing experience with her career. She’s going to Sacramento, which means being apart quite a few days a week from Stef, and she has a new chapter in her life. Stef may be feeling like she doesn’t really have her own next chapter, and maybe there’s that midlife sort of crisis moment of: One of us is off starting a whole new adventure, and one is sort of stuck, and does she stay in support of her wife’s adventure, or does she seek her own? Brandon is dealing with the same thing in his relationship with Eliza. One of them has a big career opportunity. Does the other one go along and support, or try to work on one’s own career? So interesting. They’re at very different stages in their relationships, but they’re kind of facing similar issues. And then we also have Jude, who has his own secret to deal with.
TVLine | Eliza’s family is also a part of this Christmas special. When you bring together two big extended families for the holidays like that, what kind of conflict does it bring out?
Well, remember from the wedding, Stef and Lena have absolutely nothing in common with Diane and Jim, except that their kids are involved. And now they have two kids involved. That’s something that Jamie points out to Callie, that it’s kind of like she’s meeting his parents for the first time, because now she’s his girlfriend, and that’s different than before when they were just at a wedding and they met. So there’s going to be a lot of conflict between Stef and Lena, and Diane and Jim, because they couldn’t be more different in every way, politically, socially and just as personalities. We always look forward to those clashes and little jabs that go back and forth between them. And Diane, Eliza and Jamie’s mom, isn’t that thrilled about the fact that now two of her kids are involved with Adams-Foster kids. So that definitely promises for some humor and tension.
TVLine | Last we saw, Callie and Mariana had a falling out of sorts, and Callie had announced that she was moving out to live with Jamie. What’s the current state of the sisters’ relationship coming into the Christmas special?
The Christmas special is a flashback, so we pick up at the end of Season 2A, and we flash back to Christmas, which happened between Episodes 15 and 16 in our timeline. So Callie and Mariana are still living in the Coterie, they’re still living together, they haven’t had their big blowout. We did that because we didn’t want to have a cliffhanger… that we had to deal with in the Christmas episodes since they air in between Season A and Season B. So we did it as a flashback. That way, we could just have a Christmas show that wasn’t dealing with all these big ends that we need to tie up.
TVLine | What are the other Coterie residents up to this holiday?
Everybody is at the Coterie for Christmas. Dennis, the holidays are not easy for him, still dealing with the grief of losing his son, and of course, he and Davia are still sort of ships that are passing in the night, as far as their relationship goes. So they’re still dancing around that. Alice, as the manager of the Coterie, has found out that the Coterie could be in trouble in that this may be the last Christmas that they all spend together at the Coterie, so she’s dealing with that. And Gael is dealing with the fact that this is the first Christmas that he’s been estranged from his family, having come out as bisexual and standing up, really, for his sister and saying, basically, “If she’s not a part of this family, then I’m not going to be either.” So this is going to be his first Christmas with just Jazmin, and then something happens and that gets changed, and they are forced to interact with their family. That has a lot of emotion and drama to it, as well.