CBS’ B Positive has officially closed the book on Chapter 2 — but a pair of finale cliffhangers signaled the story of Gina, Drew and the residents of Valley Hills is far from finished.
During Thursday’s season ender, Gina at last realized that she wants to pursue a relationship with Drew. Alas, when she ran out to the parking lot to confront the man she loves, he’d already driven off in his camper van, having decided to spend the next few months in Alaska to put some space between them. And though the senior residents had decided to stay put at Valley Hills rather than jump ship for Golden Horizons, it quickly became apparent that that decision was out of their hands. It would be up to their children (and their wallets) to make those choices for them — especially with Golden Horizons offering such deep discounts in an effort knock Gina’s retirement home out of business.
Below, executive producer Chuck Lorre weighs in B Positive‘s evolution in Season 2, as well as the individual journeys that Gina and Drew had to embark upon in order to be ready for any potential romance (assuming the Eye network renews the sitcom for Season 3).
TVLINE | Gina is offered a lot of money to sell Valley Hills, which she acknowledges could be used to help even more people than she’s helping now. But in the end, she decides not to sell. Why is that?
The emotional attachment she has to the people that are in her life. At the present, she didn’t want to lose [those connections].
TVLINE | Drew has been up front with Gina about his feelings. Gina, on the other hand, has been more reserved. Is that because of the value she places on their friendship? Is she afraid to lose that?
From Gina’s point of view, she had come to understand, largely as a result of talking to Linda Lavin’s character Norma, that she had always put relationships first and foremost in her life, and as a result had not taken the time to fully realize her own worth and value and as a human being. She was making a concerted effort to slow things down, to not race into relationships having inherited an enormous amount of money. She’d been given the direction from Norma to slow down, and that’s what she did.
She had a good reason for being hesitant. She was on a journey of self discovery. The character that we began the series with was a party girl. She was irresponsible. She was somewhat reckless. The Gina who is running Valley Hills is a totally different woman. A huge part of that was to withstand a relationship long enough to find out who she was, and by the end of Episode 16, she’s clear that she can be in a relationship with Drew and still have her own sense of self. She doesn’t have to sacrifice one for the other.
TVLINE | Was part of keeping Drew and Gina physically apart for so much of this season about establishing that any feelings they have for each other don’t just stem from what they’d gone through with the kidney transplant?
Yes, very much so…. There’s ample evidence that when people donate an organ to another human being, it creates an emotional bond that is very powerful, and is often confused for love. And I hope we were able to make it clear that Drew’s emotional attachment to Gina could have been a confusion on his part, over the fact that she did in fact save his life, but then he outgrew that. His affection for her, his love for her, became more legitimate over time, going beyond the kidney donation.
And frankly, what seemed like a more interesting thing to write about was Drew, having now been given a second lease on life, deciding to start living — to stop being withdrawn as a human being, and to go out and live and take chances. With the encouragement of Hector Elizondo’s character Harry, Drew didn’t simply go back to life as it was. Harry was pushing Drew not to wait for life to happen, but to go and make it happen. We’re getting to write about a man who suddenly is jumping in his van and driving across the country, which added value to his time spent at Valley Hills, when he was around Gina. He wasn’t simply available to her anymore, he was gone [most of the time] — and you know the old saying, “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” That impacted Gina and was part of what helped her understand her feelings towards this man, especially in that last scene.
TVLINE | The last we spoke was in anticipation of Chapter 2. Now that you’ve reached the end of this chapter, what did you enjoy most about the many changes you made to the show this year?
I like that we developed this community. The best part of doing serialized comedy like this, at least the hope anyway, is that you can develop a community on screen, where you have this group of people that you want to be associated with as a viewer. You want to have a cup of coffee with these people, just like you wanted to sit and have a beer with Norm and Cliff on Cheers, or share a booth at the diner with the characters on Seinfeld. There’s a community that gets created in front of you, and being part of a community is attractive to human beings. I think we actually got there, starting with Linda Lavin. We built this community that has its own flavor, that has these distinctive and unique characters who both care for one another and make each other miserable, which is kind of what a family does, you know? It’s never the one thing, it’s both. But the communal aspect of it is really important. And that’s what happened in Season 2. And frankly, I did three seasons of The Kominsky Method. I find the issues around aging fascinating, horrifying and hilarious. And I wanted to keep writing about it.
TVLINE | As someone who has witnessed family members succumb to Alzheimer’s Disease, I’ve particularly been touched by Ben Vereen’s storyline, involving Peter’s diminished faculties. That moment between Peter and Gina in the finale really tugged at the heartstrings…
The stuff with Peter and Gina in that last episode was wonderful. One of the best parts about this job is you get a ringside seat to watch great actors work, and Ben Vereen is a legendary performer. It was an opportunity to show not only his extraordinary abilities as an actor, but to take a moment and show that [caring for Peter] is not just a job for Gina. This isn’t business, it’s personal. The one thing this giant corporation [that wanted to acquire Valley Hills] couldn’t offer was this personal connection — that human being there who knows you and cares for you, not as a number or as a source of income, but as a human being.
TVLINE | Now, if Chapter 1 of B Positive was about Gina turning her life around, and Chapter 2 was about Gina finding her life’s purpose, what should we expect from a hypothetical Chapter 3?
There is the hope for a Season 3 exploring a genuine relationship between Gina and Drew. There are [still going to be] life-and-death issues that are inevitable among the residents of Valley Hills… and we also have built in this ongoing, cutthroat competition with Golden Horizons, this threat from a corporate entity…. I’ve worked with Ryan Cartwright [who plays Asher] before on Mom and Big Bang Theory. He’s just terrific as the cruel, callous, heartless face of this corporation.
TVLINE | As we speak, CBS has not yet renewed the show for a third season. Have you had any preliminary discussions with the network? How are you feeling about your renewal odds?
No, there has been no discussion. Yes, I’m nervous. You know, there are no guarantees. The only thing I tried to focus on was making a great show every week, because the results are out of my hands. But the process of making the show worth watching — to build a show that’s worth watching when the audience has so many other choices — that’s the only thing I can focus on. If I get caught up in the results, the Nielsen ratings or whatever, and what CBS chooses to do, I’m going to be very unhappy, so I try and stay out of that and just work on making the right choices — each scene, each moment, every piece of dialogue, every storyline, every piece of casting. The results belong to someone else.
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