Scroll To Top

Good Trouble Is Back, and It's as Entertaining and Ahead of Its Time as Ever

Good Trouble Is Back, and It's as Entertaining and Ahead of Its Time as Ever

Good Trouble

The third series of the culturally relevant, super-queer spin-off of The Fosters kicks off this week. 

Production was shuttered just a few days into shooting the third season of Freeform's Good Trouble last March as shelter-in-place orders went into effect. The season was put on ice along with virtually every other production in Hollywood. Still, over Zoom, the writers continued to break story about the diverse characters of the Coterie, a communal living space in downtown Los Angeles. Shortly after Hollywood shuttered, Joanna Johnson (who created Good Trouble and The Fosters with Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg) became one of the first creators to truly innovate in terms of safety protocols and got back into production with a limited series shot in lockdown, Love in the Time of Corona.

"I think we shot two or three days of the first episode [of Good Trouble] when we had to shut down. We all thought back then, Well, a couple of months, right? We finally got back [to work] in September," Johnson tells The Advocate.

With some of the early knowledge gleaned about how to safely produce a series in these times, Good Trouble went back into production. The series, a spin-off of The Fosters that begins with sisters Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) and Callie (Maia Mitchell) kick-starting their post-college lives, quickly amassed a devoted fan base when it premiered in 2018. That was in part due to the fearlessness in its storytelling.

As the show has from the beginning, the third season continues to confront issues around police brutality, systemic racism, workplace harassment, transgender rights, sexual identity, and body positivity. And though the denizens of the Coterie won't live their narratives through the lens of COVID, Good Trouble's stories will continue to carve a path for telling socially critical stories while also doling out plenty of humor and heartstring-tugging.

"We had to adjust some things, obviously [when everything shuttered]. But I made the decision that we were just going to stay the course on our stories that we had broken in our arcs. Because if we were to play COVID, our characters would just have to sit home," Johnson says.

"How long can we just have them all isolated in Coterie? They have their tentacles [in the world]," she says, mentioning Davia (Emma Hunton, pictured above), who is a teacher, and Callie, who begins working for a defense attorney played by UnReal's Constance Zimmer.

One of Good Trouble's earliest storylines, centered on the character Malika (Zuri Adele) protesting the police killing of an unarmed Black man and her work with Black Lives Matter, took on additional significance this summer. It would be tough for Good Trouble to specifically address the police killing of George Floyd (and other Black Americans like Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade) that sparked international outrage and protests without addressing the circumstances of the pandemic. But the third season sees Malika (and her friends) continuing to dismantle racism and to fight for justice for Black people. Although Black Lives Matter cofounder Patrisse Cullors won't be returning to the Good Trouble writing room at the moment because of her massively important position as interim international director of BLM, she's still consulting with the series, and she even shows up in an episode, Johnson says.

Zuri Adele

Zuri Adele as Malika

"It's not like just because we have [Joe] Biden in the presidency that all these issues are going away," Johnson says of leaning even harder into the BLM story Good Trouble began to tell years ago. "They're just as important now."

Another timely plotline this season delves into ethical issues around Mariana's activism app when it's hijacked by hate groups, a problem Facebook and Twitter were forced to deal with especially in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

"We tend to kind of find sort of storylines and issues that actually become bigger. This idea of social media and the idea of hate groups overtaking sites to communicate and organize, that happens to her app," Johnson says of the storyline that was being written last March.

"Do you shut them out, just shut it down? And, you know, that argument of freedom of speech. ... It's interesting to see that Twitter and Facebook are starting to reject these groups and the former president for inciting violence and also perpetuating false accusations and crazy theories."

Constance Zimmer and Maia Mitchell

As for Zimmer's character Kathleen Gale, who's introduced in the third-season premiere (Zimmer is also directing an episode), Johnson says the character is inspired by the quirky defense attorney from the Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer. Kathleen's style of getting what she wants is sure to complicate matters for the idealistic Callie.

"This is going to be an eye-opening thing for Callie, who's still so naive, wants to believe that there's the right way and there's the wrong way," Johnson says. "You always want to do the moral thing. In your 20s, you tend to be idealistic. Then you start to realize, as you get older, really, the world mostly lives in the gray area. And you want to keep it as light gray as possible."

Of course, Good Trouble fans know that along with the issues-oriented stories, there will be plenty of reverie and humor that unfolds for Coterie residents Callie, Mariana, Davia, Malika, Gael (Tommy Martinez, pictured above), Alice (Sherry Cola), and Dennis (Josh Pence).

While Johnson's not divulging too much information about the episode, she does share that The Fosters' moms, Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum), turn up in an episode with other members of the family. In the episode, they perform a folk dance wearing dirndls and clogs.

"I always like to try to find humor in every episode, but I was always also like to do a couple of episodes a season that are largely comedic," Johnson says. "I absolutely love when our Fosters characters can come into the show. We love our moms. And I love to come up with something kooky and fun."

Good Trouble's third season premieres February 17 on Freeform.

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Channel Promotion

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Be sure to follow Advocate on your favorite social platforms!


Want more news, top stories, and videos? Check out the all NEW Advocate Channel!
Your 24/7 streaming source for equality news and lifestyle trends.
Click this link right now:

Latest Stories