OK, You got me.
If you were anything like myself, you had reservations about Good Trouble. As someone who was critical of a spinoff of our beloved The Fosters revolving around two of the most troublesome characters on the series, I went into Good Trouble Season 1 Episode 1 embittered and seeking confirmation that this spinoff was ill-advised.
Instead, what I got was a well-written, smart, impressive pilot that reeled me in and may (and should) be one of the biggest hits of the winter. I'm sorry for ever having doubted the great minds behind The Fosters.
My childish petulance over having been proven wrong aside, as proud as I am of its predecessor, this new series has a lot going for it, and it's going to be thrilling embarking on this journey of growth along with Mitchell and Ramirez who have added executive producer to their list of accomplishments with this series.
Good Trouble has just enough of The Fosters' essence to quell nostalgia while standing on its own feet. There is enough there to suck in die-hard The Fosters fans, but it works as a standalone, so if you have never watched The Fosters (massive side-eye), you can enjoy this series because it is a fresh chapter in Callie and Mariana's life.
Good Trouble may be a spinoff of The Fosters, but it isn't The Fosters. It's sexier, edgier, and more mature, and this unexpected but refreshing adult tone coincides with the new direction Freeform has gone in where it's catering towards young adult women.
On the one hand, it's sad confirmation that the age of The Fosters, Switched at Birth and other family dramas and comedies are gone. On the other, this is an exciting new age.
Good Trouble is a perfect fit for the network. It's like The Bold Type meets For The People, and it succeeds at launching off of its parent show and finding its voice in the same caliber as Grown-ish.
The series wasted no time letting us know that these women are adult now and that their stories will be adult too. It upped the ante with the adult language. There was some nudity, lots of drinking, and damn if there weren't multiple steamy sex scenes.
But fret not, Callie and Mariana are still the hot messes that we love so much. As expected, their first experience on their own away from the security of moms and the rest of the Adams-Fosters was disastrous. Bless their hearts, neither girl can adult well, but not only is that the point of this series, but that is where all the fun will be.
You're either heading in this direction, are currently in the same stage in your life, or you're looking back on this time of your life cringing or with fondness. In that sense, Good Trouble can attract a wide audience and keep them engaged since everything about the series and these characters (old and new) are relatable.
Callie and Mariana's first day in LA together was eventful after parking in the wrong place, having to pay to get their towed away U-haul out, and then having all of their belongings stolen. Initially, it seemed like their new digs at the Coterie is one more disaster for them, but that was put to rest by the end of the hour.
Callie: I don't want to live here.
Mariana: Well I do.
Callie: Then I'll get my own place.
Mariana: Well, good luck with that. Have fun living in a cardboard box.
The Coterie is going to be Callie and Mariana's saving grace. It's their home away from home, and it allows them the opportunity to live as adults while still having the comfort of a close community. If it wasn't abundantly clear that this series is about and directed towards Gen Y and Z, the introduction of communal living sealed the deal.
Communal living appeals to both generations, especially in an economy where not everyone can afford to live alone anymore, and both generations are big on community and sharing. It's crazy, right?! But it's also exciting!
The Coterie is a bit of a dump with charm, which is how that first place away from home should be. It builds character!
Sharing a bathroom means having to endure your flatmates' habits like unapologetic and proudly curvy Davia standing topless in front of the mirror while getting ready or that maintenance guy using the bathroom and NOT washing his hands before moseying into the shared kitchen and digging into a bag of potato chips (eww!!).
However, the modern take on a mismatched family with a group of diverse people coming together to share a meal, drink wine, discuss life and debate was beautiful.
Callie and Mariana are away from their family, but there is already a vibe that they may have found a new one. You can have more than one family, and you can also make your own. We don't know too much about the inhabitants of The Coterie just yet, but it's evident that they are a close-knit bunch.
Keeping with the theme of cultural diversity, it's already to the advantage of the series that they have put together such a diverse group of individuals from different walks in life and in such an organic way.
There is Gael the Latino bisexual male lead, Malika the BLM activist and former foster kid, Davia the full-figured, confident social media influencer, Dennis the slightly older, quirky ladies man, and Alice the awkward Asian- American lesbian who is trying to stop apologizing for everything (same, girl).
Aside from Gael, Alice is the one who stood out the most. We have ourselves a Den mom! That lovable dump of a place is all hers, and her parents may not approve of it or her decision to run it, but so what!
Alice: Davia's a body-positive Instagram influencer.
Davia: I see these girls that I teach starving themselves. I used to be anorexic. And I want them to love their full figures and see that a healthy body doesn't have to be a skinny body.
Admit it; it warmed your heart when they gathered together donated goods and fixed up Callie and Mariana's living space. Deep down, Mariana, who is the one who seems to be struggling the most with being away from home, knew what she was doing signing that lease agreement.
Sure, she was pulling a Felicity and gravitating towards a loft because of a boy, but I don't think she would have fared well living in a fancy, super expensive apartment elsewhere. Unlike Callie, Mariana has spent her entire life with other people.
She was literally born with another person, so she never had to feel alone. She was the one destined to struggle the most with this new arrangement, so this communal will provide her with the safe space that she needs while she tries to navigate a new city and job.
Workplace sexism is a bitch, am I right?
The history of women in STEM is an interesting one. It's a less discussed fact that the same fields shutting women out now used to be considered "women's work" once upon a time. Mariana was aware of the hurdles she faced not just as a woman or a woman of color in STEM, but as a beautiful, feminine, and outspoken woman in STEM.
Her robotics club in high school failed to take her seriously too, but it's a different ballpark when it's a job. It's harder to deal with the sexist bro-holes when your entire career and future depends on it.
Alex was an asshole, and if anyone should have been on the receiving end of a conversation from HR, it was him.
Unfortunately, as most women know, you can't just sic HR on your leader. Mariana ran the risk of making things worse for herself and looking as though she couldn't hack it. It's already bad enough that Casey had to advise her to tone down her fashionista if she ever hoped of being taken seriously by her team.
Ideally, you shouldn't have to dull your sparkle because of some jackasses, but in the real world, we have to do a lot of things we don't care for or agree within a professional setting. You also shouldn't be waved off and tasked with busy work. When Alex sent her to do "data entry," I wanted to reach through the screen and throttle him myself.
Alex was the worst and Sam is his lackey, but if Mariana plays her cards right, she may be able to get Raj on her side. He was the only teammate who wasn't overtly sexist, and he was impressed by her. She need only tough it out.
Mariana: I'd love to pick your brain sometime. Ask for advice.
Casey: Sure. First piece of advice, it's annoying, but um, you'll be taken more seriously if you don't dress like that. And don't be afraid to sit with the team at lunch. You're an engineer. Speak up for yourself, and take a seat at the table.
I loved that the series played into some of the criticisms about Millennials without being jerks about it like those hundreds of thinkpieces about all the industries Milliennials killed.
After a rough day, Mariana wanted to quit, but she regrouped after her talk with Callie. She had a few setbacks, but she bounced back every time. The series is already nailing the depiction of the best and worse qualities of the generation without coming too hard on either side. It's refreshing.
For example, Mariana with her gumption approaching Evan after being told not to was typical. To us, it was Mariana being Mariana, but to others, she was the overeager, entitled new girl who thought she was so smart that she could bypass paying her dues and pitch her idea to the big boss on her second day.
Initially, it pissed me off that the HR Iron Lady chewed Mariana out for having the gall to believe she was "special." Mariana never gave that impression; it was another annoying assumption placed on her. She sure as hell shouldn't have chewed her out in front of everyone.
Mariana is out of her depth though. She needed the reality check and this experience being humbling for her is interesting. Mariana needs to be broken down a bit so she can get stronger.
On The Fosters, everything worked out because she could seek comfort in the arms of her mothers. They could shield her from a lot and build her back up when the world broke her down. On Good Trouble, Mariana has to learn how to fend for herself.
Mariana: Why would Evan Speck tell me he was going to reach out and then sic HR on me? It was so humiliating in front of those bro-holes. I can't go back down there and face them. I - I have to quit.
Callie: I know how you feel. Judge Wilson pretty much humiliated me on this first day.
Mariana: Really? Why didn't you tell me?
Callie: It seemed like everything was going really great for you.
Mariana: So both our jobs suck.
Callie: But we can't quit. We're Adams - Fosters. We don't give up. We don't give in. We fight. And we have each other. We're not alone.
Mariana is accustomed to winning people over and making the world and others bend to her will, but her bubble has popped, and she has to figure out how the real world works. Her storyline at work is authentic and fascinating, and it's something to be invested, and she's worth rooting for here.
Callie's work arc is more familiar, on a personal level but also in general because there are countless of legal dramas to pull from so the experience isn't new, even though Good Trouble does a great job putting their spin on it. There aren't a lot of series that focus on engineers though.
Also, the CEO has piqued my interest as well. He seemed to like and respond well to Mariana, so I doubt he was the one to call HR. It was his assistant who appeared to have an issue with Mariana approaching him.
HR: Who do you think you are? It's your first week, and you have the nerve to bother the CEO of the company with some stupid app idea?
Mariana: No, I --
HR: Oh, you think you're special because you went to MIT? Well everyone here went to MIT, or Stanford, or Berkley. You're not special. Pull something like that again, and you're going to be unemployed.
I bet the real reason everyone is pissy about anyone approaching Evan is due to him being on the Autism Spectrum and them likely handling him with kid gloves because of it. There were a few signs that he may be Autistic, but his process of trying to remember Mariana's name because he's terrible at them made me smile.
Mariana caught on and even helped him. I'm excited about the potential exploration of this relationship, and I'm thrilled that Evan is presented as neuroatypical (though it isn't confirmed).
For once, despite Mariana still being boy crazy, her most fascinating relationship involving a guy is the one with Evan. That's not to say that Mariana won't be getting her groove on at some point because this mature Mariana is open and owns her sexuality.
I'm relieved that they didn't drag out the almost love triangle between Mariana, Gael, and Callie too long. Mariana was attracted to Gael, and she hoped that she would have a chance to "smash that," but between Callie confessing that she slept with him twice and that shocking reveal that Gael is bisexual, Mariana didn't dwell and moved on.
That's not to say that she had an issue with Gael being bisexual; the overtly sexual, bold, and shameless Mariana was totally into Gael's super hot hookup with his male visitor. The reaction of both women was one of the highlights of the hour. It was laugh-out-loud funny, priceless, and so them!
If you're a new fan, you should know that this is what the franchise does best. The Fosters was a groundbreaking series for a reason, and it's a relief that Good Trouble is doubling down on that by exploring controversial topics and boldly normalizing and destigmatizing what shouldn't be abnormal in the first place.
The only thing you see less than bisexual representation is a bisexual male being the one represented. Riverdale's favorite ghoulie is now a sensitive, mysterious, super hot bisexual artist with intoxicating chemistry with Callie. For the hour to end on this "shocker," it must mean that it will come up in some way, right?
Probably, but I'm confident the show will handle it well. As long as Gael isn't only the guy who sleeps around, he'll steer away from problematic in that regard. What say you? Is Gael television's newest Bi-icon?
Aside from the fact that Callie broke the cardinal rule; you don't shit where you eat, and then freaked out about it, the two of them had serious chemistry. Their hookup scene played out like something out of an artsy, indie movie or music video. It was overdone, for sure, but point taken, Callie is a grown woman!
I don't have a grasp on Gael just yet. He's still a mystery, an offensively handsome, makes you melt with that dreamy smile and those gorgeous eyes enigma. And Callie is still a bleeding heart.
There were hints of sexism at Callie's job, but ironically, Callie was the one who displayed it. Even the best of us are guilty of internalized "-isms." How else would you explain Callie choosing to listen to Benjamin over Rebecca?
Wilson doesn't have the time to wade through the Liberal opinion on this one, so just stick to the facts and legal precedent. You don't want to get fired from a clerkship on your second day, or ever. It can ruin your career, so maybe take my advice this time.Rebecca
She had no real reason to think Rebecca and only Rebecca had it out for her, at first, but when weighing the advice Ben and Rebecca gave her about how to interact with Judge Wilson, she chose Ben.
Yes, Ben's advice suited her personality, but she still treated Rebecca as if Rebecca would be a competitive, catty woman who would give her a hard time, and she did that before she knew anything about her.
Later on, Rebecca came off strong in her viewpoints and in getting into Callie's head, but her motives can go either way here. While competitive and determined, Rebecca came across as though she was genuine in wanting to help Callie.
Unfortunately, Callie's demeanor may have pushed Rebecca to be harder on Callie than she planned on being. Her comments about Callie only being chosen to be the Liberal counter-clerk to Wilson (and presumably her and Ben's) Conservatism were a bit antagonistic and presumptuous.
Jamie was the most likable in-law from the three-part The Fosters Series finale special where Callie's ex/brother got married to Eliza whose family was the antithesis of The Fosters in every way. Jamie, Eliza's older brother, challenged Callie. Callie is passionate about her beliefs, but she often struggles to consider the viewpoints of others.
She's obstinate in her "rightness," and by "rightness," I mean her leaning so far left she nearly keels over. She went into that clerkship confident, almost problematically so, because every time she mentioned that she was there in hopes of influencing a Conservative judge, it made me cringe.
She made it sound like her mission was to convert the man, and that's not the best or most realistic approach. Callie needed that chin check Wilson politely gave her in his office.
He's right that he has been at this for years, much longer than her, and a fresh out of state law school Liberal wasn't going to have more influence on him than any of the other Liberals he interacted with his entire life.
Better than that, he told her that he doesn't consider himself a Conservative judge. He's a purist who strives to follow the letter of the law, focus on precedent, facts, the black and white of a situation devoid of politics and feelings.
We don't know yet if that's true -- if politics don't interfere with his impartiality or if he's a Conservative judge by default, but this is the type of mentor that Callie needs. We're in politically contentious times, but despite everyone being blunt about their stances, neither side is being demonized so far, which is refreshing.
Callie: You wanted to see me?
Wilson: You made a very passionate argument in your bench memo. I'm not impressed by passion, Callie. Why did you take this clerkship?
Callie: Because you're a highly regarded jurist, and I thought I could learn a lot from you.
Wilson: And maybe thought you might have a progressive influence on a conservative judge?
Callie: I wouldn't assume I could influence you, but I did think that you hired me because you want to hear from a more left-leaning clerk.
Wilson: Well let me disabuse you of one notion. I don't consider myself a conservative judge because I don't believe in judicial activism. My job is to apply the law, not to make it, which is why I rely on precedent and a neutral reading of the facts. I don't allow empathy to distort my judgment, and I have no use for clerks who do.
Callie does get swept away in her passion and empathy. They are not qualities she needs to rid herself of, but she does need to tone them down to be effective at her job. Now that she's the lead clerk on this controversial police-brutality case, she'll have to figure all of this out.
As sure as the sun shines, Callie Adams-Foster can find herself in a jam. I hope she read that Ethics manual front-to-back! She's already in a tight spot living with and being friends with Malika (who is an activist on this same case) while working this case.
It's only a matter of time before Malika finds out that Wilson took over the Jamal case, and Callie can't go around sharing details or even be heard mentioning again that she hopes to influence Wilson.
- Do Callie and Mariana work next door to each other or something? How did Callie manage to get to Mariana's job and find the right bathroom and stall while Mariana was still in it?
One of the things this series has going for it is it can introduce all of these interesting stories but dedicate enough time to the storylines because it won't be bogged down trying to accommodate too many other storylines.
I already love the pacing because I can tell there is time to let things breathe and carry out through the course of the season which is something The Fosters used to struggle with occasionally.
- Some things never change like Callie and Mariana being slightly closer to one parent over the other. It was no surprise that Lena called Mariana first, and Stef called Callie.
- The disparity in Callie and Mariana's wages is hilariously accurate. Mariana's salary as the only thing keeping Callie from living in a cardboard box given the cost of living in LA had me LOL.
Over to you guys. So, what do you think? Are you ready to get into some Good Trouble?! Sound off below!
You can watch Good Trouble online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.