The answer may — or may not — be contained in this week’s episode, which begins streaming on Apple TV+ on Friday. Coming off of the previous installment, which found Bess’ father having an alcoholic relapse, leading the budding songwriter to take (fully clothed!) comfort in Samuel’s welcoming arms, our girl isn’t exactly in a singing mood. We got on the phone with series star Brittany O’Grady to find out how many more personal and professional hits Bess can take — Spoiler Alert: Not many! — before she breaks.
TVLINE | Do you think Bess’ father’s falling off the wagon is something she’s been anticipating? Or does it blindside her?
That’s a very good question. You know, when I was filming and putting pieces together for this character — and for that scene specifically and then the episode coming up — there is a lot more explanation of the past and Bess’ father’s history. In that moment, for sure, it was a shock. But it makes sense, due to his history.
TVLINE | Bess is under so much pressure, and things just keep getting added on: I’m thinking specifically of those frustrating meetings she had in the previous episode. I know the show isn’t a moment-by-moment recreation of the start of Sara Bareilles’ career, but it’s certainly inspired by that. Did you have any conversations about those moments in Sara’s life?
Yeah… specifically, when it comes to Bess going in those meetings, it’s probably one of the most accurate stories of Sara’s career. You know, Sara expressed to me that there was a major record label that told her basically what Bess is told: “You have everything. You’re it, but we don’t know what to do with you. We don’t know how to market you.” So that was very true to, I think, Sara’s experience in the beginning of her career.
TVLINE | Coming out of that and going into this week’s episode, how close is Bess to saying, “I don’t know if this is worth it?”
Oh, really close. [Laughs] I think she’s basically hitting creative rock bottom.
TVLINE | The episode also has two relatively huge emotional beats that I don’t want to spoil, but what can you say about them?
I think that Bess gets a lot of answers in this next episode that maybe she’s been looking for.
TVLINE | Can we talk about Samuel for a minute? She’s got to know that he adores her, right?
[Laughs] You can’t miss it. Oh, gosh. You know, it’s so funny — when I was filming it, I was so in the character… I didn’t realize to the extent or the gravity of how much Samuel’s storyline had, you know, the puppy-dog eyes… My friends will call me and it’s like, “Samuel is the one! Ethan is not!” Or my friends will be like, “Ethan, that cutie. Look, he’s so cute!” So, I think it’s just interesting who people gravitate towards because they think the story identifies with something within themselves.
TVLINE | Next week, Episode 9, is the Season 1 finale. Give me a tease.
Bess might find her little voice. [Laughs] I know this sounds too simple. That is like the most vague… it’s like, you’re waiting for something really big to fall out of the sky, and I literally just dropped a peanut!