Good Trouble EP Joanna Johnson Breaks Down the Season 3B Premiere and What Comes NextJessica Lerner at .
We had a chance to catch up with Good Trouble creator and showrunner Joanna Johnson to chat about Good Trouble Season 3 Episode 11, which was chock full of soapy delights, crazy Coterie goodness, and lots of crying.
Because if you thought nothing could top Good Trouble Season 3 Episode 10, you were sorely mistaken.
Read on to find out what Joanna had to say about professional developments, romantic entanglements, and what lies ahead for the rest of the Good Trouble Season 3.
Callie has a lot of big things going on in this episode. She’s representing Kathleen, but Kathleen only tells Callie bits and pieces of what’s going on.
How much more is Kathleen hiding, and how does that impact Callie’s ability to do her job as a lawyer?
I don’t think any of us believe that Kathleen’s telling [Callie] everything, probably not even Callie. But this has been an interesting mentorship relationship with Kathleen. Callie is moved because Kathleen says she trusts her, and Callie’s kind of in bed with her anyway.
As Callie says to Gael, "I don’t mind complications. I don’t mind complicated." Isn’t that true of Callie ever since we met her on The Fosters. If there aren’t complications, she’ll be sure to make sure that she creates them, and that’s just part of her character.
She is drawn to sort of things that are complex and rife for some drama. So she’s doing that in both her personal life and in her professional life.
Speaking of Callie’s personal life, she and Gael are officially back together. As you mentioned, she told Gael she doesn’t mind complicated, but that was before Gael moved Isabella into the Coterie.
I don’t think Callie was expecting that to happen, but she also understands Gael is a nice guy, and he’s going to do the right thing by Isabella. Callie admires that in him. She’s trying to be a grown-up, be very mature about this.
But I don’t think Callie’s thinking through how hard this will be to rekindle a relationship with someone who’s found out he’s possibly going to be a father. Gael also doesn’t realize that it will be hard to start a new relationship and have a girlfriend while juggling a girl who’s pregnant with his baby.
In our 20s, we think we can handle all these complications, and we’re attracted to mess. We’re learning, and that’s life.
It’s not until you get older that you’re like, I don’t want complicated anymore. That’s not so exciting and sexy as I used to think it was.
And then there’s Mariana, who has a whole lot of complicated going on. She loses her job, her friends, and her boyfriend in the span of one episode. Talk me through some of those decisions.
Historically, the character of Mariana has always been a little bit fast and loose with the truth. She selectively shares things and can be a little manipulative. We still love her because she’s not vindictive about it. She’s not trying to be malicious. She always likes to have her cake and eat it too.
She’s been doing this with Fight Club girls by not telling them about Evan. And to me, that’s the big breakup of this season: not Mariana and Evan but her and the Fight Club girls. They’ve been together a long time; they’ve been through so much. These girls walked out of a job in solidarity with her, but she wasn’t completely honest with them.
She was finally forced to reveal that, and it backfired in a big way. So now, Mariana finds herself having lost them, lost her job. She’s forced to reinvent herself, to grow up. In an upcoming episode, she says, "This is me. I’m the new Mariana."
She has to become more of the person that she should be and wants to be. She had to choose between her friends and Evan, and unfortunately, she lost both for now.
Isabella is supposedly pregnant with Gael’s baby and back at the Coterie. So it seems like we’ll be seeing a lot more of her this season.
We have actors that have other obligations, and so they have to go do other shows. Then we often try to bring them back. Her return makes for an interesting story because this character, which we haven’t trusted, is back, and she says she’s pregnant with Gael’s baby.
First of all, we wonder if she’s legit. She’s saying that she’s changed or wants to change. So that’s interesting because she was the first person to come into the Coterie and shake things up as an outsider. But also, what’s interesting to me is being young and forced to grow up so fast.
When you’re in your 20s, you have all these dreams professionally, and then suddenly, you’re confronted with this idea of being a parent. Suddenly, you’re facing tremendous responsibility. How does that affect you? How does that affect the decisions you make, and whether you pursue your dreams anymore?
How does it affect your other relationships? Gael and Callie have chosen to rekindle their relationship, even with this major complication. So we’ll have to see how that’s gonna play out.
Isabella’s parents cut her off because of her pregnancy. How will Gael’s very Catholic family react when they find out he’s fathered a child out of wedlock with no plans to marry Isabella?
He’s really worried that his family will not understand that he is having a baby with someone he’s not involved with and that he’s not going to marry. He’s nervous about that. He will have to tell his family at some point. He’s worried about the repercussions but also how he goes about telling his family.
It’s like, "Look, I got this girl pregnant. She’s going to have the baby. I’m going to be a father, but I have a new girlfriend." It’s just hard for them to wrap their heads around that.
Moving on, Alice got back into the showcase. Can you talk to me about that?
I don’t know if you’ve ever been in this position, but I have in my life where there’s been a group of us talking about whether we should say something. Alice stands up and says something in this instance, but [her fellow comedians] all back down. Alice’s arc has always been to find her voice, to stand up for herself.
She’s always been good at standing up for other people more than herself, but in this situation, she stood up for all of them, and they didn’t have her back. And now they’re saying they’re getting rid of Scott, so we’re exploring how you return to this program with these people you didn’t feel had your back.
But also, you don’t want to give up your opportunity to be in the showcase and possibly get exposure.
So she’s returning but tiptoeing her way back in, not knowing if she can trust these people anymore and hoping this program has been reformed. We liked this story about how sometimes these diversity programs can be problematic.
The truth is they don’t always have perse representation behind the scenes, or they’re playing into stereotypes. You don’t want to be just an Asian comic or an Indian comic, or a Black comic. It’s like, why can’t I just be a comic?
You’re still "othering" me by giving me an opportunity because of my diversity and making my comedy all about my diversity. Why can’t I just be a funny person?
And then there’s Davia and Dennis, who are still somewhat on the outs.
Davia was very devastated that after they slept together, Dennis freaked out. He realized he wasn’t ready and left the Coterie. Davia tried to understand, but she decided she was going to move on.
She tried to do that with Matt, but then suddenly Dennis reappears. She’s so in love with Dennis -- she’s just started to see Matt.
But then, when she finds out Dennis maybe came back because he found out she was moving on, it makes her question, "Did you come back because you’re ready to be here, or because you were afraid to lose me?" So Davia’s like, "You’re gonna have to prove it."
Yet, at the same time, she’s not going to say to Matt, "I’ll continue dating you when I’m confused about how I feel about another person." Davia made a mature choice. She’s not going to say to Dennis, "OK, great; you’re back. I trust you."
But she’s also not going to continue to lead Matt on until she knows where she stands with Dennis and how she feels about it.
Malika also had some heartbreak after Isaac broke things off. So is this the end of her exploring the possibility that she’s polyamorous?
When she talked to Isaac about exploring polyamory, she was honest with him. She took a big chance.
He said, "Look, I know. I can’t do that." And she said, "OK, then, in that case, I want to stay with you because I love you. If you can’t do this, I can be monogamous and be with you." But he’s like, "Oh, you can’t unring the bell."
And to me, that hurt his ego. I understand him being hurt, but instead of saying to her, "OK, great," he’s like, "No, we can never go back to what it was."
I think out of his hurt, he leaves the country and abandons her. That opens the door for her to say, "I still wanted to be with him. He broke it off with me when I was honest with him."
So Malika is still interested in exploring polyamory. Many people are turning to that and realizing that monogamy is the right way, and the only way is limiting for some people.
It doesn’t have to be the only successful way to have relationships. Conscientious and consensual non-monogamy works for some people.
Not everyone can fill every one of your needs, so some people feel it’s better to have multiple partners where they get different needs met.
Malika’s going to say, "He left me. Why shouldn’t I continue to explore my feelings?"
New episodes of Good Trouble Season 3 will air Wednesdays at 10/9c on Freeform. And if you missed the Season 3B premiere, remember you can watch Good Trouble online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in October 2021.