The CW has a brand new program starting tonight. It’s a sweet dramedy similar in feel to Gilmore Girls and it’s all about a girl who reunites with her birth-parents in her teenage years. Both of her parents are living their own lives and they haven’t seen each other since high school, so it’s a real shock when their daughter Lux turns up on their doorsteps seeking emancipation. What she gets are a mom and a dad who want a second chance at raising their daughter. A nice thought, but you know it won’t be that easy. It’s called Life Unexpected and a few months ago, the series creator, Liz Tigelaar, sat down with a group of reporters, myself included, to talk about the show and how she came up with the idea. Listen in:
LIZ TALKS ABOUT HOW THE STORY RELATES TO HER OWN LIFE
I was briefly in foster care when I was a little baby but I was adopted and I actually found out who my birth parents were and one thing that came to light when I was meeting with the writers, was just how much of this story was something I’ve kind of been. . . I don’t want to say struggling with, but certainly has been with me for my whole life.
It’s this “where are my young, cool parents?” No matter how great your own family is, my parents are wonderful, but when you’re 16 and fighting with your mom you’re like, my real, young, cool, hot mom, totally understands, she wouldn’t have interfered.
When I graduated from high school, my mom gave me journal entries of hers and I couldn’t believe how many of the journal entries were dedicated to me — I really thought Nancy Regan was my birth mom, in like a really, really profound way to the point where I would be like, Nancy Regan would understand. I’d be getting $100 a week allowance, I’d be getting a pony — for a good chunk of my young life, I believed it.
As I got older, I learned to do basic math and realized it wasn’t possible. What I did carry with me is this thing in my life that I was searching for my young, cool, mom. It’s like that book, Are You My Mother?
STRUGGLING WITH THE TRUTH
The thing about the pilot that I liked exploring was that idea of having someone so high on a pedestal means that they can fall so far. Lux has listened to Cate her whole life and she has this idea of who Cate is and this belief that she really knows this person. But the reality of Cate is different than the Cate she conjured up in her mind. Not only dealing with being disappointed in somebody, but from Cate’s end, it’s so hard to be disappointing. It’s harder to be disappointing than it is to be disappointed and that’s what Cate and Baze struggle with.
WHY IS THE SHOW SET IN PORTLAND?
We had originally wanted to shoot in Portland but we set it there knowing that if we got picked up we’d be shooting in Vancouver. Portland is an amazing city. But we can make Vancouver look like it, it’s got bridges and rivers and. . . We played around with other cities in the Pacific Northwest, we thought about San Francisco but that was a little bit glitzy and we thought about Chicago, but Portland, we felt it was kind of crunchier, grittier about it.
The director wanted the show to have a little more of an indie feel. That kind of Juno way. It felt like Portland had a great vibe.
HOW IS LIFE UNEXPECTED DIFFERENT FROM OTHER CW SHOWS?
Our stories will be different than a Gossip Girl story, not saying it’s better or worse, but we look at our show through a different lens. What would real people do, not what’s the best act break. But how do you really feel if that happened. It requires a little leniency and trust that we’ll be able to do something.
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Trust Liz and The CW to steal your heart with this new dramedy that begins tonight, Monday, January 18 at 9:00 on The CW.