By Greg Hernandez
“Good Trouble is about to be the most LGBT-inclusive show you’ve ever seen and we’re proud of that,” show co-creator and executive producer Bradley Bredeweg told a crowd of more than 130 fans inside the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Renberg Theatre.
Bredeweg was joined at the Jan. 12 Good Trouble screening and panel discussion by fellow show creators and executive producers Joanna Johnson and Peter Paige, as well as cast members Zuri Adele, Sherry Cola, and Tommy Martinez.
A spinoff of The Fosters, which ended its five-season run last June, Good Trouble fast-forwards five years. Set in downtown Los Angeles, the show centers on The Fosters’ characters of Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez).
The sisters, raised by their lesbian moms on The Fosters, have graduated from college and are beginning their careers while living in a communal space called the Coterie with a group of other twentysomethings. Although the sisters are straight, the show’s main characters include a lesbian and a bisexual man.
“LGBT characters and stories are close to all of our hearts and we would never stray from that kind of storytelling. It’s still very much a part of Good Trouble,” Bredeweg said.
Added Paige: “It’s sort of got the same heart and ethos as The Fosters, but it’s a younger, messier, sexier, dirtier show. Everyone in The Fosters family makes at least one appearance during the season and we’ve surrounded the girls with really incredible and interesting characters. There’s a great sense of that second family you create once you get out of college who really carry you into adult life.”
Cola’s character Alice is the manager of the Coterie and an Asian-American lesbian who is not quite out to her conservative parents.
”I’m very excited for the world to see her,” the actress said. “I hope viewers see themselves in the characters. We’re a group of people just living our lives and dealing with a lot of real issues.”
“We want to explore the fluidity of sexuality.”
The series premiered on Jan. 13 on Freeform and will have a 13-episode first season. Much of the buzz after the screening was about the revelation that the character of Gael (played by Martinez) is bisexual.
“A lot of people don’t think that you can be bisexual and there are even gay people who say, ‘Yeah, yeah, you’re just afraid to come out,’” she said. “Men should not be stigmatized or disbelieved.”
Martinez then shared with the audience that a personal same-sex experience helped him relate to his character.
“I had an experience with a man maybe 10 years ago, and this is the first time that I’m saying that publicly,” he said. “I kept that inside the whole time until now. And to have this opportunity to portray this character and this community, I felt, especially in front of you wonderful people, I felt maybe this is the best place to express that. And so I saw myself completely in Gael’s shoes. And so, when I got that audition notice and dove deeper into the character, I just felt right with it.”
Martinez received prolonged applause after his comments and following the panel, shared a lengthy group hug with co-stars Cola and Adele.
The character of Gael will be at the center of a love triangle.
“We really do explore a relationship between Gael and another man and Gael and another woman,” Bredeweg said. “It’s a no-holds-barred storyline for us.”
The screening drew several LGBT celebrities and influencers who praised the diversity and inclusiveness of Good Trouble.
“The more people see us in the media, the more it strengthens our community,” singer Rayvon Owen said on the red carpet. “There’s so many more shows with LGBT themes and I love it! The rainbow is spreading. We are letting people know that we are here and we deserve the same amount of representation, the same amount of screen time as anybody else.”
Other special guests in attendance: YouTube personality Jordan Doww; photographer Maxwell Poth; actress Miriam A. Hyman (also known as the hip hop artist Robyn Hood); Stuzo Clothing’s Uzo Ejikeme and Stoney Michelli; pastry chef Vanessa Parish; model and actress Arisce Wanzer; and actress-comedian Chaunte Wayans.