The season finale of ABC Family's awesome 10 Things I Hate About You airs this coming Tuesday, and since we have to know what happens after that, we rang up show runner Carter Covington for the exclusive scoop on what's in store for Patrick Verona (Ethan Peck), what's keeping Kat Stratford (Lindsey Shaw) and Patrick apart, and where Bianca Stratford (Meaghan Martin) stands with her many men and her ongoing struggle for popularity.
Read on for all the dish on 10 Things' upcoming storylines, and to find out why there's some danger that we may never see them...
How have you evolved Patrick Verona this season?
The evolution of Patrick has been a collaboration between us writers and Ethan. We wanted to do a Jordan Catalano-esque mysterious guy, and then we realized Ethan has this funny, sardonic, sarcastic side to him. We started bringing that out more and more, and we found that it suited both Ethan and the character.
Is there more to Patrick than we've seen so far?
Right now we're deciding what pieces of Patrick's story to reveal in the next 10 episodes. We want to dole out pieces of his past that explain who Patrick is and why he's a loner. We'll learn more about his family. For example, why weren't they there during the fire? I don't want to give too much away, but we're really excited to give people an unexpected history of Patrick Verona.
How far can you go with Kat and Patrick's romance given the restrictions of the series format and the network?
Well, I read on the message boards that people are like, "Why aren't they together now?!"
Therefore missing the entire point of the show.
Exactly. The most interesting thing about Kat and Patrick is that the obstacle for them as a couple is themselves—it's not like one of them is in love with someone else. They like each other, and they can't get out of their own way to be with each other. Neither one of them is willing to compromise or meet in the middle.
What we hope to do is tell the story of an epic romance between Kat and Patrick that unfolds over the life of the show, so we're always mindful of not taking things too far.
We were nervous about having them kiss in episode seven, but we wanted to handle it in a way where we acknowledged to the audience that these characters now know that they're attracted to each other, so there was a feeling of "Oh good, that happened," but that's not when they're going to get together. We're learning how to dole out those moments so that people feel rewarded without taking all of the steam out of the story.
I feel rewarded anytime those two are onscreen together!
You know, you hope that your main actors have chemistry like that, and when they just do, it's wonderful.
Like the rock-club scene early in the season—they were so weird and hot and interesting with each other.
It's a joy to watch because we script things like that but you can't force actors to create it—that's all them. We've had a lot of fun exploiting their chemistry, and the finale really rewards people for watching these first 10 episodes—there are many good moments between Kat and Patrick.
Just because you mentioned it earlier, would there ever be a third party in the Patrick and Kat relationship?
We've talked about that. I think the audience is interested in who Kat lost her virginity to, and that's something we're thinking about and wanting to explore. And then there's the idea that Patrick is so wrong for Kat on paper, so what happens when she meets the guy who's so right for her? I can't say that those two things will definitely be in the next 10 episodes, but we will explore those things over the life of the series.
Now, we must discuss Ms. Bianca. Are Bianca and Chastity (Dana Davis) really becoming friends?
Yes, Bianca and Chastity are really becoming friends, and Chastity's character has a big evolution over the next 10 episodes. Right now, Chastity is pretty arch. The goal is to start to humanize Chastity more and make her a true friend, but it's a difficult friendship. Chastity is the queen bee of the school, so how does Bianca have a friendship with this girl who's not used to having friends? And now that Bianca and Chastity are aligned, what happens as they navigate high school together? I like the idea of telling stories about politics, power politics, through high school.
And Chastity and Bianca bring us to Joey (Chris Zylka), who is the Jason Stackhouse of 10 Things I Hate About You. He's not so bright, but he's very sweet, and he and Bianca are really cute together.
Chris as an actor is so good at being dim yet charming…and yet he doesn't think he's dim, which I think makes him even more charming. There wasn't a real love triangle for Bianca in the movie because no one wanted her to be with Joey, but in the TV show, you need both of those characters to have some appeal to the audience. It's fun to write a guy who usually would be the asshole in the show and make him a nice guy. And that's our intent: Joey is a good guy with a good heart who thinks the world of Bianca.
Bianca has good luck with nice guys, because she also has Cameron (Nicholas Braun) on the string, but fans seem to be frustrated by that relationship. There's talk that maybe Cameron's too stalkery and that it's hard to watch that pair always fail to connect.
I've read that too, and I would like to acknowledge that I've heard that criticism, and I see the point that people are making. What we explored with Cameron this season was the blind love that people have in high school. That is now played out. Cameron's puppy-dog phase for Bianca is over. We're starting to explore the actual connection between Cameron and Bianca. The next 10 episodes are going to be about Bianca and Cameron finding their way back to friendship. Nick is such a talented actor, and he has so many other layers that I'm excited to show for Cameron.
Another interesting relationship on 10 Things is Mandela (Jolene Purdy) and Kat. It seems like Mandela might be in love with Kat. Will we see more of that?
All I'm going to say about that is "tune in." As an openly gay creator, it's important for me to reflect that in the show, and Mandela is the character that has the potential to do that. I've always envisioned her as heading in that direction, but that's going to be a slower evolution, over time. But people who were sensing that were not crazy.
There are ideas and plans underway for the next 10 episodes, but there has been no official renewal from ABC Family. When will we hear about a pickup for more episodes of 10 Things I Hate About You?
Soon. It's in the hands of ABC Family, and we're told the decision should come shortly after Labor Day. We've delivered solid ratings for them. They've been incredibly supportive of the show, and they love it creatively. I feel really positive about it, but until we get the pickup we won't know for sure.
If ABC Family does order more episodes, when will we see them?
The production schedules we've put up assume an airdate sometime in January. I've pushed for that because I don't want the show to be off the air for too long.
Everyone says 10 Things I Hate About You should be an hour-long—what are the chances of that happening?
I hear that so often. I don't think [an expansion to one hour] will happen, but I see why people say that, because our show is a strange hybrid and at times it feels like a drama. But I would rather have 22 minutes fly by than have 44 minutes plod along.
I know Greek has given up declaring that these events are happening in, say, fall semester, sophomore year. Is 10 Things a similar situation, or do you have a time frame for the series?
I worked on Greek, but I don't feel incredibly constrained by Greek—Greek's tougher because once they leave school they can't call it Greek anymore. I feel like 10 Things can have a life outside of high school—I have a way that the show can continue once they graduate high school.
Thanks so much for talking with us. The show is great.
Thank you, and would you please say thanks to everyone for us? I know we have a really vocal and rabid fan base, and I want them to know that we are all so appreciative and that we listen to them. I love their posts, and I can't say we're going to do what they say every time, but we do listen, and we think that's very important.
The summer season finale of 10 Things I Hate About You airs Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 8 p.m. on ABC Family. Will you be there? Do you forgive the show for being based on a beloved '90s Heath Ledger movie or are you still mad? Any thoughts on the massive cuteness of Lindsey Shaw and Ethan Peck together and Meaghan Martin in general?
And last but not least, does ABC Family need to renew this show post-hasty or what? Sound off in the comments!
We added Kat and Patrick to our TV Couples We Love gallery along with several other new additions. Check it out!