‘Sweet Magnolias’ Season Two: All Your Questions Answered About That Cliffhanger Finale

Do you know what she will say to Ryan when season three happens? Have you already crafted what will happen after that cliff hanger?

I know what I think. I will have to discuss it with the rest of the writers if we get a season three. But, yes, I have a very clear vision. Here’s the thing: I have amazing writers in my writer’s room and I have sat down some mornings and said, “Here’s what I think.” And they’re like, “Yeah, but maybe. And what if.” We discuss it and everybody shares their own experiences and their own ideas. To me, that’s the beauty of Serenity: that all the writers have poured their hearts out. We’ve said we’re going to take this and we’re going to take that, and we mix three or four people’s stories in with who our characters are at any given moment and then say, “All right. Now how do we make it even more dramatic?”

One of the things that we loved so much in season one was the representation on this show. What was so special was that after the racial reckoning of 2020, where so many shows pledged to do better and have a more diverse cast in front of and behind the camera, you were already doing that. You take that even further in season two. We have a character who is deaf and we see sign language. We see people with physical limitations. We see different religions. We meet Mr. Daniels, who is Jewish, and there’s a synagogue in Serenity.

Dan Paulson, our executive producer, plays Mr. Daniels, who appears on behalf of the synagogue. It’s a good luck charm for his shows—he appears—in that shirt—in every season finale. Dan and I have had a lot of conversations about faith, so I thought it would be lovely to introduce the synagogue in Serenity through him.

That is so beautiful and such a fun secret! I love how Serenity has expanded even more this season, with more faiths, more backgrounds, etc.

Our sort of guiding statement is we want everyone to see themselves in Serenity. We were very conscious in season two of who else can we invite to the table. We don’t want people to assume that everybody they met in season one is the extent of diversity in Serenity. So as we were talking about different characters, we would think this does not have to be somebody who looks like somebody we’ve already met. How can we bring more people to the table and even roles that weren’t specifically written that way? We would talk to our fabulous casting director in Atlanta and say, “We would like to see people of all ethnicities, all abilities. We’re open.” Amanda McDonough, who plays Jodie Radzicki, had auditioned for a different part. I loved her so much that I said, “I’m going to write Jodie for Amanda if she’ll come back.” It was because she was such an incredibly engaging actress that I wanted her to be part of Serenity. Jodie was not written for a deaf actress, but we fell in love with a deaf actress and were like, she could be Jodie. And now she is. 

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