‘Ginny & Georgia’ Creator Dissects Season 2, Talks Potential Season 3 – Deadline
SPOILER ALERT: The story includes details about Season 2 of Netflix’s Ginny & Georgia.
Season 1 of Netflix’s breakout hit Ginny & Georgia ended with Ginny and Austin skipping town on Marcus’ bike after Ginny realized that her mother had murdered their stepfather Kenny. The two soon return home after a short stay with Zion where she confides in her dad about her self-harming, and he gets her a therapist.
At first, Ginny (Antonia Gentry) and Georgia (Brianne Howey) are at odds, with Ginny defying her at every turn over Kenny’s murder until the two had a heart-to-heart where Georgia comes clean about that murder and later also confesses to murdering her first husband but swears that that was an accident.
Ginny and Marcus’ romance blossoms as he supports her through the difficult time with her mother — as well as MANG, which broke up at the end of Season 1 after Maxine (Sara Waisglass) discovered that Ginny had been seeing her brother behind her back. During her MANG exile, Ginny gets close with the few other Black girls at Wellsbury High, including Bracia who lands the female lead in a Bridgerton-like school musical, with Maxine in a supporting role.
MANG eventually reassembles but, as Ginny’s friendship with Maxine is repaired, her romance with Marcus (Felix Mallard) implodes when Marcus, back in the grips of depression, breaks up with her. By the end of the season, Ginny makes it clear to him that she would be there for him regardless of their relationship status.
Austin’s dad Gil surfaced, fresh out of prison, with a history of domestic violence and a plan to blackmail Georgia and her fiance Paul (Scott Porter). When Cynthia witnesses Gil being abusive toward Georgia, she blocks his rental application. Feeling grateful, Georgia suffocates Cynthia’s dying husband Tom to end her suffering, an act Austin inadvertently witnesses, having previously pointed a gun at his dad to protect his mom.
Tom’s death piques PI Cordova’s interest and in the end of the finale, Georgia is arrested at her wedding reception for Tom’s murder.
In other developments, Maxine rebounds from her breakup with Sophie by developing feelings for high school musical’s costume designer Silver while Joe remains hopelessly in love with Georgia.
In an interview with Deadline, Ginny & Georgia creator Sarah Lampert, who leads the female-leaning show with showrunner Debra J. Fisher, dissects all the Season 2 developments, including the bombshell ending and the fallout from Georgia’s arrest. She discusses Georgia’s motivation to kill Tom, her relationships with Ginny as well as Paul and Joe, the show’s handling of Ginny’s self-harm, Marcus’ depression, Abby’s body image and the issues of race and class. Lampert talks about Season 2’s Quentin Tarantino influences and gives an update where things stand with a potential third season and what may be in store for all characters if the series is renewed. (Check back for Deadline’s interview with Mallard about Marcus’ Season 2 journey, his breakup with Ginny and what is next for them.)
DEADLINE: Let’s start with the shocker in the final minutes of the finale when Georgia was arrested at her wedding for the murder of Cynthia’s husband Tom. Are we having an Al Capone-type case, with Georgia, who could not be nailed down for past crimes, finally brought to justice?
LAMBERT: I think it’s so poetic, it’s so the tone of the show that Georgia is put into that cop car to “Going to the Chapel” playing in the background so cheery, and it’s heartbreaking. She drives off down the street, the same shot that Ginny and Austin drove off at the end of Season 1, so it’s definitely a parallel. And I think it’s this idea that the show is going to look really different in Season 3 — if we were to get one — because this was a woman who was a superhero at what she did, and now she’s been caught. It’s almost like Superman got taken down. We’ll see if she can get out of this mess she’s found herself in.
DEADLINE: What are your thoughts about getting Season 3? Clearly, Netflix allowed you to do this big cliffhanger, so there’s some indications they intend to continue the show. Are you already working on potential storylines?
LAMPERT: You know what’s great? Netflix was really — I don’t want to say hands off — they were really trusting of us with the story this season. Which was wonderful because we got to explore different modes, like episode eight and nine and the Tarantino-esque format of that, doing weird things, and the whole plot of Season 2. My favorite thing about the show is that it is always evolving and changing, and because we touch on so many different tones within the show, we really get to sink into whichever tone we want to at the moment. So there’s a lot of freedom there. I love surprising people, so I hope that that cliffhanger at the end of Episode 10 Season 2 was a big surprise, that’s what we were going for.
That being said, no, there’s been no talks with Netflix about Season 3. They’re very regimented about how they do things. So there’s very much a strategy in place where I think we’ll drop it, and then we have to wait to see how it does and if we’re going to see Season 3 but I certainly hope we do because it’s going to be a wild ride.
DEADLINE: Let’s talk about that. What can you tease about what happens next? We have two minors, Ginny and Austin. They ran to Zion the last time, and Zion is still around, but now they have a stepdad in Paul. Who will they stay with?
LAMPERT: I think we’ve set up a lot of really great possibilities in the sense that, just playing out hypotheticals, if Georgia is being charged with this crime, we have Zion, he’s Ginny’s dad, we have Gill in the picture now. I think previous to this, he had no chance at custody because he was a convicted felon but who knows now, and we’ve got Paul, who’s the stepdad. We have so many golden possibilities for storytelling based on how rich these characters are, and based on how many surprises we want to throw into Season 3 that I’m being coy about but we do have it planned out.
DEADLINE: I think we can sign Austin up for a lifetime of therapy, after everything he went through this season, and potentially having two convicted felons as parents…
LAMPERT: Austin isn’t squeaky clean. He’s a kid, but he stabbed someone in the hand with a pencil, he — way more than Ginny, seems very okay with the fact that his mom’s done all this stuff, he doesn’t seem fazed whatsoever (laughs)… That’s not true. If we get to Season 3, we’ll have to dig deep into what he saw transpire in season two and the emotional ramifications of that.
DEADLINE: Let’s talk about Georgia’s decision to kill Tom. It was a little surprising to me because so far all her actions, including murdering people, had been driven by her desire to protect her kids. This is the first time she goes out on a limb and does something maybe out of compassion which she had not shown before for people outside of her family. Why did she do it?
LAMPERT: Why she did it is because Gil, Austin’s father, represents everything about Georgia that she’s trying to escape, and he represents her not feeling like she deserves a happy life, her not feeling like she’s worthy, her feeling like she’s broken. He’s very emotionally and physically abusive to her, and why he’s so successful in abusing her is because he knows her deeper insecurities and her deeper traumas, and he pushes those buttons for her.
So when Cynthia witnesses it in the elementary school and extracts Georgia from that situation, and they share that look, it’s a small moment, but then when Georgia comes over later that night, no one has ever known about this before, she’s never shared that this has happened with anyone, not Zion, nobody. When Cynthia is kind to her despite their antagonistic relationship up to that point, Cynthia doesn’t cry, she doesn’t say, what’s going on there, she takes her cues from Georgia but she does let Georgia know, I blocked Gil’s apartment application, he’s not going to be able to get an apartment in town.
I think Georgia is so overwhelmed by that olive branch by someone seeing that this was happening to her and offering her this lifeline that she feels compelled to do, in her mind, the same thing back to Cynthia. Because in the same breath that Cynthia gives her that gift, Cynthia also was talking about how hard it is, what she’s going through with Zach, what they’re going through with Tom. I am not condoning it, but in Georgia’s world, Georgia does what I genuinely think she thinks is a favor to Cynthia to pay her back.
DEADLINE: Since Cynthia showed compassion for Georgia once, could she come forward? She could hold the key to exonerating Georgia who was arrested for essentially trying to help her.
LAMPERT: Anything could happen. I think that Cynthia in no means wanted Georgia to do that. I think that it would shock her to find out, and obviously we weren’t with her, we don’t know what happened off camera in between that scene that led to the arrest. But that would definitely be something that I think we would want to explore in Season 3.
DEADLINE: Speaking of things that happened off camera, we saw Cordova sitting down with Nick and then the next thing was Georgia’s arrest. Nick also has secrets that Cordova was not aware of about Georgia’s crime in the Mayor’s office. Does the police know about that? And how might Georgia’s embezzlement attempt coming to light affect Paul who has been very understanding for a guy who keeps getting surprised with new stories from her past. How much can he take?
LAMPERT: My favorite thing about all the characters is they have these layers, and they’re very surprising. Sometimes that’s a character that everyone loves, and then we mess them up a little bit, and we challenge that love because people are good and bad and everyone’s messy, there’s no one way to be. For Paul, what I love about him is he’s always constantly surprising us, we didn’t expect him to propose after he found out that she slept with Zion, and I don’t think we expected him to go through with the wedding after she told him all of that.
My favorite thing about Paul is, we paint him as this kind of predictable character, he’s very steady, we’ve seen guys like this before, he’s got his values on straight. And then we twist and turn it where he pulls one on the audience that they didn’t see coming, and I think that’s what makes Paul a really fun character to play and really complex and dynamic in his own way. So in a Season 3, I think honestly anything could happen.
DEADLINE: Paul has been way too perfect and forgiving. Since you like showing different sides to your characters, will we see something, I wouldn’t say evil, but something at least more human about him, like lose his composure and get angry?
LAMPERT: I think we see him lose his temper a little bit, especially around guns. And what I noticed in Season 2 that Scott Porter, who’s so talented, did so wonderfully, were these really small moments of — jealousy might be the wrong word — but almost a deep rooted kind of prickling when we see Georgia outshine him in the office. And I think that was a really interesting layer to give Paul because I do think he’s this good guy, and I think he knows it and prides himself on it. He really tries hard to be that guy, so I think it’s interesting to see that character’s inner struggle when he’s confronted with — the scene that’s coming to mind in particular is when Georgia stood up and came up with the idea for small business Saturdays — and you see him really swallow a lot in that scene. I think that that is a really interesting choice that Scott made.
DEADLINE: But we don’t know whether or not he’s aware of the check situation?
LAMPERT: We do not know whether he is aware of the check situation or not, no. I think for Paul, we see him be very supportive; they just got married. If this arrest had happened mere moments before, this would be a different story, but she’s his wife now. So I think it will be interesting to see what happens in the future as a potential season 3 unfolds.
DEADLINE: And poor Joe, everybody’s favorite character who is always suffering. Is there possibly a future for him and Georgia now that she clearly also is aware of their past?
LAMPERT: Yes, she knows who he is. If you’re asking if there’s a romantic future for them, that would be the kind of thing you’d have to watch Season 3 to find out. What I’ll say about Joe is that I think he loves very purely. In Season 2, what I loved seeing with his character was he really tried to establish firm boundaries with Georgia, because she’s not someone who has boundaries. She doesn’t have any boundaries with her children, she doesn’t have any boundaries at all, and she didn’t grow up with boundaries.
So with him, I think he’s aware of the situation, this is a woman that he has deep feelings for, but she’s engaged to someone else. And I think we see him do healthy choices again and again in Season 2 that she ignores and pushes past. One of my favorite scenes of the season is when he comes to her house and returns the sunglasses and they finally have this moment where he’s like, ‘Am I making this all up? I just need to know. Is it all in my head?’ Because he feels like he’s the only one with these feelings. And I think what Brianne did so beautifully in that scene was really show how much she does love him but I genuinely don’t think that her character views him in the same way that he views her. At least not at this moment in her life.
DEADLINE: In the relationship between Ginny and Georgia, which obviously is at the heart of the show, we had two distinct parts this season. The first couple or few episodes felt like the War of the Millers, with the two trying to outdo each other. Then they reconciled, with Ginny accepting her mother’s motives. Can you talk about that first rebellious phase and how the two made up?
LAMPERT: We start Season 2 in a place where all of the characters are in the worst possible spots with each other; most every relationship is broken. And how we get to the end of Season 2 is what I wanted to do, what we did in the writers room. We wanted all of the interpersonal relationships between our main characters to be healed back together, repaired in some way, because the outside force is Georgia’s arrest.
So going into a Season 3, in success, the Millers are on the same team now, they’re a united front, and that’s interesting, we’ve never seen that before. We spent all of Season 2 getting them there. Now that’s not to say that that won’t be complicated because Austin is going to need to process everything he witnessed. And Ginny, I think, is always going to struggle with the fact that she loves her mom, and she does always opt on her side at the end of the day. However, it was very purposeful to end that last conversation with her and Cordova, the PI, where he’s like, if there’s another murder, this one’s on you because you keep protecting your mother.
Because I do think that Ginny really grapples with who her mother is and what her mother has done. So as much as she loves her — and she does accept her and everything she’s done and almost co-signs it by the end of the season — I think that that is a internal struggle with Ginny that will never be resolved.
DEADLINE: Ginny and Marcus’ relationship. They finally got into this great place, and then Marcus goes into depression and they have a heartbreaking breakup. Towards the end, as you said, you tried to repair that too, with Ginny telling Marcus that she would be there for him. Talk about the future of their relationship as well as portraying difficult issues like depression and self-harm.
LAMPERT: It’s really important for us to portray these issues in a realistic way. But we were also very cognizant of our audience in the sense that we’re not trying to be irresponsible or trigger anyone. So we actually have a licensed psychiatrist who reads every script and gives us feedback. And then Mental Health America watches every episode and gives us notes. As well as the writers room itself taking a lot of care, using some personal stories and really trying to approach these topics with honesty but also responsibility.
For Ginny and her self-harm, it was really important for us to show her hit this breaking point and want to get better and seek out help in Season 2 and her journey with that. A very realistic thing with that is relapse. We see that, we see her struggle, we see her relapse, we see her really want to get better, and I think that that’s important to show.
For Marcus’ depression, it’s the same thing. This is something that kids that age are going through and are dealing with, and to show it on screen in a way that feels truthful, I think makes a lot of people feel seen and feel represented and de-stigmatized in a way that’s important. However, we were very cognizant of not doing it in a triggering way, and I feel like for Marcus, what was really vital about that storyline was ultimately him getting help from his family, getting help from his parents, going back on medication and then also having Ginny be there for him in the same way that he was there for her, and having Maxine be there for him. So we really wanted the characters to go through a lot but then ultimately be gentle to one another. And I think that was really satisfying to see, that even though they weren’t dating, they still cared enough about each other to be there for one another because he’s always been there for her, and now it was her turn to be there for him.
DEADLINE: Ginny has her hands full with her mom’s arrest but what can you say about where she is headed romantically? We all thought we were past Hunter, but he appeared very interested in the fact that Ginny and Marcus had broken up. Will we see her romantically with one of them or could there be a new guy coming in?
LAMPERT: I think that Hunter was interested but only in the sense of, you know when someone breaks your heart and you’re interested in any news about them? Talk about characters being gentle to one another, we see Hunter be really gentle with Marcus and help when Marcus shows up wasted to Brody’s basement, clearly distressed and looking for Ginny. Hunter pulls him aside and offers him this olive branch, and I think that’s a really beautiful place to put Hunter in.
We also see him share a little look with Padma at the end, just a little look there but I think for Hunter, especially the conversation he has with Ginny at the side of the stairs in Episode 4 at Maxine’s and Marcus’ birthday party. I think it’s very clear that he is in acceptance of the fact that Ginny loves Marcus. She loves Marcus more than she loves him, and I don’t think he’s angry about it. I don’t think he holds it against her. He’s just hurt, he has hurt feelings about it. And I think he has to process that but it doesn’t mean that he hates Marcus, it doesn’t mean he hates Ginny. I think we see him be kind to both of those characters throughout the season, which is important to show because that’s real emotional maturity, being able to be kind even though you yourself are hurting.
DEADLINE: What about Ginny and Marcus? Is there a romantic future for them?
LAMPERT: In terms of Season 3, all bets are off. Maybe there are new characters, who knows. We don’t have a Season 3 yet. The process of the writers room is very much, Deb and I going in with our plan. We have it all planned out, we have some really structured ideas of what we want it to look like. But then in the writers room, everything always changes, you have so many more brains coming to the table, and you have a better idea. The idea for episodes 8-9 being a Tarantino reference in Season 2 came from a writer’s assistant. The best idea wins in the writers room, so I could tell you right now what the plan is, and it might not be at all what shows up on screen.
DEADLINE: Can you talk about those Tarantino references?
LAMPERT: Episode eight, we show that episode through the lens of Marcus and Joe, it’s Marcus’ voiceover and it’s Joe’s flashbacks. And we make a point to hit a little bit more emotional depth of every other character in that episode, excluding Ginny and Georgia.
That’s where you see Paul struggling with Georgia’s success at her idea, that’s where you see Clint and Maxine having this moment about how she feels about everything that’s going on around the play, that’s where you have Marcus’ depression and you get inside of what he’s dealing with and what he’s feeling. So that’s where we see all these other characters.
And then in Episode 9, we Tarantino it; we start that episode with flashes of what’s to come and then we rewind time and bring it back. The episode is called “Kill Gil”, which is a reference to Kill Bill. And we have Georgia in her yellow suit, which is very Uma Thurman-y. The show’s entertainment, it’s super fun. So even as we’re dealing with these really complex themes and these harder topics of mental health and everything, we want to entertain so we always bring it back to a fun place, a storytelling place. We want people to care about these characters, but we also want them to be taken on a ride.
DEADLINE: Eating disorders is another hard topic that you hinted at the very end thing with the bathroom scene as well as body image for Abby with the taping. Will we see more about that in Season 3?
LAMPERT: Yes, that’s definitely the plan. It was really important to us to not do the thing where something as serious as an eating disorder is wrapped up neatly in a bow and solved by the end of the episode by the end of the season. Because they are so harmful they’re so insidious, and they’re so prevalent that we really wanted to take our time with that story and show how harmful it can be over time. So it was important to us not to resolve it because that’s just not realistic. It’s the same with Marcus’ depression coming back. These things are not easily tied up by end credits.
DEADLINE: Season 2 delved deeper into Ginny’s racial identity. She got closer with the other Black students at the school. She also had another incident in her AP English class and ended up dropping the class. Can you talk about that and what may happen next? There was a mention of Ginny taking an extension course but it was painful to see her punished for her teacher’s actions and relegated to a low-level English class?
LAMPERT: Yeah, we had a lot of discussion about this in the writers room. Again, it’s really important for us to show these really messy situations that are realistic, but also don’t get resolved because nothing is resolved easily in real life. And these are all complicated issues. So, for Ginny we wanted to show her in Season 2 really seeking out safe spaces as she’s trying to heal from her self-harm, as she’s realizing the fallout of MANG. We really touched upon in Season 1, a lot of instances of her not feeling seen or safe in different spaces, Gitten’s class being one of them.
So in Season 2, she’s trying to figure out what safe spaces exist for her. And then in terms of Gitten in Season 2, I think what’s so heartbreaking about what she goes through in his class, is she just feels so alone and so isolated, and everyone looks to her to have all of the answers. And what she keeps saying this season is, I don’t have all the answers, I just want to be a normal kid in this class, but he’s not allowing that to happen. So not only is undue responsibility and pressure being put on me, but then also, I’m being asked how to handle it, and I don’t want that on my shoulders.
Ultimately, we leave her in a place where Gitten is causing a character already struggling with a lot of anxiety, a lot more anxiety. I think it’s a conversation, should she have left the class, should she not have left the class. I think she had to do what felt right to her, and that’s ultimately what she did. But we see that she is also the one who’s punished for it. So yes, Zion mentions this Harvard Extension class as a way to not have her be punished for something Gitten should be punished for,, and I think that that would be something that could be really interesting to explore in a Season 3.
DEADLINE: Every season there’s a big musical that Maxine is involved in, it was a take on Chicago in Season 1, now it’s Bridgerton homage. Talk about doing that and do you have a musical in mind for next year?
LAMPERT: I want to have a musical every season, it’s one of my favorite things we do in the show. It just adds that level of relief to some of the darker situations that the characters are going through and dealing with. The musical episodes are always so impressive because our actors are so impressive, they’re phenomenal, truly, the performances across the board in the show.
You’re talking about Ginny’s struggle. What Tony did this season with Ginny’s struggle with identity was one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen. For Sara, who plays Maxine, and for Tameka [Griffiths], who plays Bracia, to have this whole side musical and then our composers compose all those original songs like “Marriage Is a Dungeon,” that’s chef’s kiss.
It adds a level of like, all right, we’re very much back in high school. We’re in the audience of the auditorium, it really grounds you back into being in the story and being in Wellsbury High. So I love the musicals, that’s always where Deb and I take our cameo, walking into the audience of the musical, we did it in Season 1 too, we’re always behind.
DEADLINE: Speaking of Maxine, she made up with Ginny but her romantic life is still a mess. There’s a potential new love for her after Sophie, Silver. What’s next for her?
LAMPERT: That just felt very realistic in terms of, she’s got something good going on with Silver, you just start to get over your ex, Wham. Bam. Thank you, ma’am. Your ex comes back into the picture with some complicated emotions. I love the character of Sophie, and I don’t necessarily think that she’s… again, no character is good or bad, right? She’s trying to figure out her own feelings too. She’s always been brutally honest with Maxine and not playing games with her. But I love that scene in the coffee shop, Blue Farm, between the two of them at the end of the season because I do think it leaves the door open for them.
But at the same time, it’s Maxine setting a really firm boundary and making a decision with Silver. Of course then later we see her with her girlfriends where she’s like, ‘Yeah, no, it was great, it didn’t affect me at all’, and she protests a little bit too much. But I think with Maxine and Sophie and with our brilliant Sara, we really let them improv a lot of that scene. I think that’s also a reason it doesn’t feel clean-cut or clear in terms of what happens; it’s really about them feeding off each other and the complicated emotions.
DEADLINE: Felix is a musician. We saw a tiny bit of that in Season 2, will you explore that with Marcus’ storyline next year?
LAMPERT: We tried to explore it more with Marcus’ storyline in terms of the musician stuff in Season 1, and Felix was against it, he was like, that’s not the character, that’s Hunters thing in Season 1. We’re like, Okay, fair enough. But then in Season 2, he was more open to exploring it because it’s something that him and Ginny connect over. I think it’s such a cool thing about Felix. His acting absolutely destroyed me this season, absolutely blew me away. But I love the cuter moments too, where he’s just this musical, artsy guy, he’s always playing video games or doodling on his wall. I just love that aspect of his character, so that would definitely be something I would want to keep exploring.
DEADLINE: Marcus now knows Georgia’s secret, and Georgia knows Marcus knows. If we follow Stanislavski’s gun on the wall rule, eventually something is going to happen. Will that play into the storyline next season?
LAMPERT: I think that that’s very much something that we would uncover in the writers room. It was interesting because I know that everyone thought that was gonna come more into play in Season 2, which wasn’t the plan and wasn’t how it ended up going down. I know the Stanislavski gun thing but I think in this case, it was a bit of a smoking gun if you will. But we’ve set up these characters in a way that there is so much that could potentially happen in Season 3, it’s almost overwhelming.
DEADLINE: In addition to race, the series also tackles the issue of class as Georgia, who grew up poor, tries to fit into this affluent town.
LAMPERT: For Georgia, it always comes back to the fact that deep down she doesn’t feel like she deserves this life. This is her idea of a successful life. It’s the package of what happiness looks like, the picket fence, the financial security, the field trips, to quote Episode 3, ‘this is some next-level, rich people shit’. And I think for Georgia, when she came out of that bathroom in the flashback from Season 1, newly realizing she’s pregnant, a runaway, a survivor of domestic violence and sexual abuse, running with a motorcycle gang — who knows what happens there — and she sees the school field trip. This is why Joe means so much to her because he really symbolizes this dove of hope. This is how it could be. These kids were given free sandwiches, they were on a history trip, they were dressed nicely, they didn’t have a care in the world.
And she was the opposite of that. She sat next to him for 10 minutes and made an entire new plan for her life where she was going to do this. Her daughter was going to be on that field trip. I think that that’s what this town really means to her. That’s why she sought out Wellsbury specifically, because that’s where he was from. So I think what Joe doesn’t understand is, where he sees this past connection with Georgia — he had a crush on this girl, she really resonated with him, and there’s this romantic connection there — for Georgia, I’m not saying that’s not there for her but I think what trumps that for her is that he really symbolized hope to her at a moment where she felt hopeless.
DEADLINE: Anything else you can say about the themes in a potential third season?
LAMPERT: I think the themes would be what they’ve been all along, which is it’s really hard to be human. It’s just really, really hard to be human. So it’s hard for our characters to be human. We deal with complex, messy characters, and it’s hard for all of our viewers to human. So sit back, relax and let us entertain you for 10 hours.
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