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An inside look at VH1's 'Hindsight' with EP Emily Fox

Just like all good things, the first season of Hindsight ends this week, and I am dizzy with all the unanswered questions. I had an opportunity to speak with executive producer Emily Fox about this season. In this exclusive interview, we got to chat at length about our favorite characters, our twenties, our thoughts on destiny, terrible romantic decisions—and, most important, the show’s finale.

Fox commiserated with me about trying to keep all the timelines straight. She confessed that the writers’ room looked like the “set of A Beautiful Mind,” and admitted to having to sometimes backtrack to keep it all straight. I found it so endearing that they used color-coded cards to keep track of what went down and when … and also pretty badass that they maintain each storyline in its own continuum. Time travel, or at least writing about time travel, is not for the faint of heart.

Fox and I also spent a good deal of time talking about Becca. I asked her what she wants us to feel about this character, since so many of us are conflicted about her choices. Fox merely asks us to “consider her our avatar,” in that Becca is also conflicted. Reflecting back on the season, Fox says to remember that Becca is merely “an ordinary girl in an extraordinary circumstance,” who didn’t really ask for this to happen to her.

In a clever nudge, Fox reminds us that everybody thinks they know exactly what they’d do if they got the chance to go back, but most of us would just make another set of questionable choices. In other words (well, my words): “Stop being dicks to Becca! She’s doing the best she can, people.”

What follows is part one of our conversation. Stay tuned for part two, which posts  directly after the finale tonight.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY COMMUNITY: It’s hard to get a read on the show’s point of view about destiny and the concept of predestination. Is there an official stance on these things?

EMILY FOX: The official stance is that there is no official stance. We can’t commit to one view or another. We are trying to keep the dialogue alive about: What is meant to be? Are these two people destined to find each other? Or are we all just molecules bouncing around in the universe? Can everything be explained with the laws of probability?

It’s an open question for Becca too, because she’s just trying to figure out, “Does my other life exist in another parallel universe? Am I still living that life, while I’m here living this one?” These are HUGE questions to grapple with, and she’s basically doing it alone.

It gets very existential. How do you reconcile the micro-decisions every character makes in every episode with the global vision for the show? Does that change the trajectory of the season?

No. It was all mapped out from the beginning. Because if each micro-decision changed each episode, we would all have a collective nervous breakdown. Designing the season is a very complex jigsaw puzzle that we have put together piece by piece. And yes, we made interim decisions in the writers’ room as we were developing the season-long arc—and those little tweaks might affect the season-long outcome—but we talked about the season finale on day one. I always knew where we were going.

We tried not to play it too fast and loose with all of the characters’ storylines because we always had their larger stories in mind. Of course, when we cast all the parts, we leaned into each actor’s set of strengths, and that impacted a little bit of the story. Like with Jessy Hodges, who plays Melane. She’s hysterical. She’s really funny and light on her feet as a comedian, and as we were developing the character of Melanie, we said, “Oh, we have some comedy gold here. Let’s play to that.”

Speaking of casting, you guys have some super-hunky dreamboats, and they all want Becca. Some people might say they seem disposable to her. Is that fair?

I would not characterize them as disposable at all. They are quite the opposite. I think they are really permanent fixtures in her life. Regardless of the decisions she’s made.

If any of us would look back on our twenties, most of our relationships were pretty fluid. That was the beautiful mess of your twenties—that you don’t necessarily stick with something for very long because you freak out, or you get scared, or you start to feel claustrophobic. I think getting in and out of things is authentic to what it’s like to be in your twenties, and it also keeps the story interesting.

We do have a bunch of hunky guys, so one of the things we tried to do with Sean is to make sure he wasn’t just a hunky guy—that he had all this nuance. Through all of Becca’s machinations, and through all of her efforts to change things and make things better for both herself and other people, she hurts him the most, but also helps him the most. He’s the one who comes out ahead. Not that he’s unscathed by what’s happened with her, but he’s emerged stronger. He’s come away from this experience a more confident and mature individual.

Other people have suffered a little bit because of her decisions, not that she ever set out to make anyone suffer. She just set out to correct mistakes. But what the show puts forth is this notion that you can’t correct anything; all you can do is change it. You can hope that it will make it better, and you can believe that you are going to make it better. Becca mistakenly believes that she has perfect knowledge of the future, but she only has the perfect knowledge of that future. What she has now is a little bit more insight into who people are, and some knowledge about what might happen to them.

Andy is another character whom she influences through what she does and does not do with him over the course of the first season. He had always been this shy, nervous, nerdy guy who was with Melanie for a long time, but never was able to marry her. Because Becca crashes into his life and then dumps him, he ends up coming away from it more committed to his relationship with Melanie. That is a huge change in his life, and that is very different about him from the original timeline. It will change him forever. It makes him unrecognizable in some ways.

Does all the criticism surrounding Becca’s romantic choices surprise you? Especially her critics who call her a “cheater”?

To characterize Becca as a cheater or a meddler, in some ways, misses the point. Yes, she was unfaithful to her husband, but it was a broken relationship. She met Kevin, and she felt like she was so sympatico with him. He was such a great listener, and she was susceptible at that moment in her life to the temptation of being with someone she thought was her soul mate, even though he came with all these added complications … like the fact that he “belonged to her best friend.” And she’s regretted that so much. She’s never even mentioned it. She buried that in deep, cold storage. That file that you never take out. Where you think, “That was one of the things in my life that was a mistake that I should have handled better, but I didn’t, and I regret it.” And now she has this opportunity to handle it again.

I agree that characterizing Becca as a cheater makes her really one-dimensional. In fact, I think her friendship with Lolly really proves that she’s not, because that relationship is so rich and feels really organic. How did you write their friendship so authentically?

Lolly and Becca are obviously fictional characters, but so richly informed by my relationships with my own female friends. Particularly, the chapter of those relationships that were our twenties. Most of my very closest girl friends were college friends, and Becca and Lolly are college friends. The secret language and the constant availability of that one friend was really what I was after in painting that picture of this friendship, at least in the pilot.

We got very lucky because Laura Ramsey and Sarah Goldberg had instant chemistry. They are very different people in real life, and they are very different from their characters. Yet something sprang up between them that was instantaneous, and I watched it happen. It was the first day of shooting, and the two of them looked into each other’s eyes and saw each other’s souls. I know it sounds so corny, but it really happened. They just understood each other on this intense, primal level.

It was a joy to write for them because they had this wonderful chemistry together, and they were able to fight, and argue, and hug, and eat cereal, and do all the things that everyone does with their friends.

Before we talk about the finale, tell me: Could you/would you write an episode set in the present?

I couldn’t speak to that without giving anything away. There are so many great surprises built into the potential of the show. It excites me greatly that people are speculating on it. It’s a huge thrill for me that people are not just debating, but all kinds of audiences are talking about it. The sky’s the limit on where it could go. Again, I don’t want to give too much away, because I think part of what is fun about this show is the speculation.

Make sure to check in with part two of my talk with Emily Fox right after the finale airs tonight. There’s going to be quite a bit of speculating going on, and I want in on it all!

The season finale of Hindsight airs Wednesday, March 11, at 10/9C on VH1.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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