Jack Rowand /The CW
Jack Rowand /The CW
We are not too good to beg you to watch good TV. As such, we hereby beseech you: Please, please, please tune in to Life Unexpected on Monday on the CW.
It's a wonderful little show, and it just needs a little bump upward in the ratings to be assured a second-season renewal, and so your assistance getting LUX some Nielsen love and fan buzz would be ever so appreciated!
Minisynopsis if you haven't seen it yet: Life Unexpected is about a Portland, Ore., orphan (Britt Robertson) who is adopted by her biological parents (Shiri Appleby, Kristoffer Polaha). Teen mom Cate gave up wee baby Lux expecting her to be adopted ASAP, but unfortunately a medical condition kept Lux in the cruddy foster-care system until she reconnected with her long-lost bio-mom and dad at age 16 while trying to become emancipated and move out on her own. (Nice try, kid!)
To find out a little more about the psychology behind the show, we just caught up with show runner Liz Tigelaar (an adopted kid herself) for the exclusive scoop on where this drama really comes from, what's up with the Cate-Baze-Ryan love triangle, which jock might be coming between Lux and Bug, and who gets to take Cate (yes, Cate!) to the winter formal...
Jack Rowand /The CW; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Q&A with Liz Tigelaar, Life Unexpected Creator and Show Runner
Who do you identify with more: Cate, the young hip media professional, or Lux, the adopted kid?
I feel very close to both characters. Thematically, the show deals with what I deal with in my own life, which is that feeling of being caught between being a kid and being an adult. "Wait, is this really how being grownup is supposed to feel?"
To be specific, I connect to Cate having a Type A professional life and a messy personal life. [Laughs.] Cate has prioritized her professional life in a pretty strong way. I think it's pretty common for women, especially nowadays, to wake up in their 30s and be where they want to be in their careers, but be like, "Oh no, what about all that other stuff?" On the surface, I'm Cate—we're cut from the same cloth—but underneath, I connect with Lux.
Lux is this girl who's been searching all her life without knowing how much she's been searching. I relate to Lux's journey of finding her place in the world and where she belongs while asking questions like "Who are my parents?" and "Does somebody being related to me make them my parents?"
So, it's kind of a blend, and then sometimes Cate and Lux are nothing like me, too. They're their own people.
Where did Lux's foster-kid family and Cate and Baze's extended families come from? Did you already know that about your story before you began writing this season, or did that come out of the writers' room?
Coming into the season, before the writers started, I knew I wanted Lux to have this family of friends that she loves and feels very indebted to, and to have us talk about how family is not as simple as biology—it's about who's been there, and who do you build your life with?
And through Cate and Baze's families, we get to show why are Baze and Cate are the way they are. They didn't just wake up as people, they were shaped by their own parents, just like the way they haven't been around to shape Lux. How much is nature and how much is nurture? And then maybe we get to show that their families are unexpected. Baze comes from this pretty privileged family and Cate really doesn't.
Are there characters besides Peter Horton, who will play Cate's dad, who we haven't met yet who will become important, or have we seen the bulk of the season-one cast at this point?
We've seen the bulk of the new characters now. I would say the one character that we haven't met yet is Joe, who is played by Austin Butler. He joins the show in "Turtle Undefeated" [airing Monday, Feb. 15] as a potential love interest for Lux, so therefore as part of a possible love triangle with Lux and Bug. Jones is a quarterback, so Baze is prone to like him. We have these characters weaving in and out, and the [new characters leave] Lux feeling like she really needs to hold on to her old life, or she'll lose it.
What about Baze's dopey friends from the pilot—do they stick around?
Yes, they're great—those guys are like the peanut gallery. Jamie is played Reggie Austin and Math is played by Austin Basis—we have three Austins on the show—and they're both around for the season. They both have a different perspective—Jamie and Baze live that frat-boy, "player" life together, and now that Baze has to be a grownup, it's a drag on Jamie. So Jamie's not necessarily the hugest fan of this new life, whereas Math would trade places with Baze in a second. Math would love to have knocked Cate up in high school and have Lux as a daughter. Math is the voice of reason of that group—he's the parent of the three of them. And his crush on Cate is something that's always there throughout the episodes, but finally we do a winter formal episode in episode nine, and he gets to go with Cate. He's always wanted to ask her and never did, so he convinces her to chaperone with him.
And how does Ryan find that he fits in with this newly established family unit?
The arc of episodes five, six and seven is about Kerr Smith's character Ryan being confronted with this new reality in his life, and how Baze starts to not only infiltrate Ryan's life but his work. There's a little tiny arc where Baze intrudes and becomes a regular on the radio show—which Ryan is not OK with—and the intrusion in the professional life leads to everything coming to a head in the personal life.
It's fun to see Baze and Ryan have their own little arc of a love-hate relationship over the season. They're stuck with each other, so it's like how are they going to deal with it.
For Cate, her role to reconcile her feelings are for both men. Cate has very strong feelings for both of them, and she faces that question of "Do intense feelings for somebody equal love?" The concept of Baze being Cate's soulmate sounds ridiculous, and logic would say that that's idiotic, but at the same time, what if he is?
Nothing except television convention indicates that Cate and Baze should be together—or is there something?
Do you feel like you know what Cate's feelings for Baze are, or do you feel like that's something that will evolve as the show continues?
I feel like I know what Cate's feelings for Baze are in the course of this season, but I think that it's always going to evolve. And in success, we'll have many seasons, and Baze and Cate will come in and out of being different people to each other at different times. I think that everything can evolve and become more or less substantial or more or less meaningful at different times. I think that they are characters who have a certain history who are untangling their feelings, but right now it's like, even if you untangle them, what do you have? They're both such broken people.
Oh, they're not broken, they're wonderful!
They're great. I feel like they are wonderful and flawed and that's what makes it fun.
Any LUX fans out there who want to testify about why Unexpected is can't-miss TV? Hit the comments!
Follow Kristin Dos Santos on Twitter, @kristinalert.