The bisexual love triangle is heating up!
Over at ABC Family’s “Chasing Life,” besides the cancer fight that April (Italia Ricci) is going through, her younger sister Brenna (Haley Ramm) is going through some changes as she’s found herself dating both Kieran (Augusuto Aguilera) and openly gay classmate Greer (Gracie Dzienny).
Last week’s episode ended with Brenna going to Greer and basically saying she wants to explore what’s happening between them and she even made the step into a kiss.
What’s coming next and how long will Brenna be able to juggle dating both Greer and Kieran? And what does Ramm think about the storyline? I sat down with the actress at the recent Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour and she gave me some insight into the story and what we’ll see in the coming weeks.
How much did the producers tell you about the storyline when you started on the show?
Haley Ramm: I really didn’t know anything. It’s so funny when you’re doing the pilot because you think of all of the ways that the whole story could go and what your character could be doing and you really don’t know the character that you’re playing yet. So it’s kind of like you’re doing it blind, like you’re just kind of making it up.
I had a feeling that I knew where it was going. We all went to Boston before we did the pilot [and] we went to go bond with everyone and meet the writers and producers and talk about the characters and ask them questions. So I tried to ask as many questions as I could and one of them told me that their sister was bi-sexual and lesbian and I kind of thought maybe that’s where my character would go. I thought either it would be me or it would be Beth, but I think it’s turning out to be me. It’s really great. They’ve written a really great character and a really great love triangle.
I love that the dialogue in last week’s episode wasn’t “Oh my gosh, she likes a girl now!” It was presented very casual and comfortable like how it can be in real life. Can you talk about the writers taking that angle with it?
HR: I was very, very happy that they took the route where it’s not shocking to her family [and] it’s not something where she needs to explain herself ever. Her family never questions her. She just is who she is and she owns it and I think that that’s so cool to play a character so young who is comfortable with herself. I think it’s really inspiring for younger people and if I was going through that I would love to watch a character on TV who is just so comfortable and it is what it is. It’s like that in real life. It doesn’t need to be anything else.
Does the show or the characters ever try and say, “Oh, now your bi, now you’re a lesbian?” Does that come up at all?
HR: Yeah. It does a little bit. There’s like a couple of lesbian jokes later on in the season and she’s always saying “I’m bi” like she doesn’t know what side she’s on and she doesn’t have to know. That’s just the way she is and more power to her.
What do you think the attraction is with Greer because they’re very different characters in a lot of ways?
HR: I think Brenna’s attraction with Greer is she’s a complete opposite from her. She kind of has her life on track and is very organized, a good student and very sweet. I think that she’s kind of everything that Brenna wants to be in a way. Brenna probably wants to be more organized and stuff like that. Not that she would change who she is but, yeah, opposites attract and it’s really cool to see their characters have this relationship later on in the season.
Greer also really owns who she is because right off the bat she’s like “Yeah I’m a lesbian.” Did you think that’s part of the attraction too, that Greer just really owns who she is?
HR: Definitely. Confidence is a really big thing when you’re starting to date someone so I’m sure that Brenna loves her confidence and kind of adopts some of her confidence.
Judging from the pilot, I thought Brenna was just going to be the dark character but do you think the experience of this triangle will lighten her up, especially given what her sister is going through?
HR: Actually, I thought that Brenna could go down a path where it’s very dark. When she finds out that her sister has cancer, she could rebel even more but I’m really happy that they went the other way and she steps up for her family. As far as her love life goes, I think that Greer teaches her to be a little bit more easy-going and just more herself.
You said at the TCA panel that you know somebody that went through this, or somebody had cancer, right?
HR: Yeah. I do. I’ve had a few family members go through it. My mom had a touch of it and I’ve seen my cousins on both sides go through it with their parents. I’m aware my aunt successfully beat the disease and after a long battle my uncle lost it and it was very sad and difficult for my cousins and the whole family but it’s great to have a lead character that is going through this and someone so young because you forget how many young people are dealing with this on a daily basis.
We were talking about how everybody is very accepting of Brenna exploring this new relationship but are there any dissenting voices throughout this season?
HR: No. And that’s another thing that I love. Everyone is so welcoming and even you’ll meet Greer’s parents later on and they’re not the most lovable people but it’s not even because she’s gay it’s mostly because Brenna is, to them, a bad influence.
What’s been the biggest surprise for you since starting the show?
HR: It sounds kind of silly, but just the positive reaction because we were doing this for so long blindly. We were about to do our 20th episode when the show finally aired so we had no idea how people would react to it. So just hearing that people watch it we’ve been involved with it for so long that it’s like, “Oh my god people are watching it now!” That’s surprising.
Do you think in the coming episodes we’re going to divide into Team Kieran or Team Greer?
HR: Definitely. In the next four episodes Brenna has to face a really big decision and the decision will put a strain on her relationship with Ford, a lot of stuff happens, people get mad at each other, and she has to pick and, yeah, there will be Team Kierans and Team Greers out there.
With this storyline, do you have gay people in your own life?
HR: Oh, tons. [laughs] I love [the West Hollywood gay bar] The Abbey. I mean my best friend is gay and I had my 21st birthday at The Abbey.
“Chasing Life” airs Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC Family.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.
Got a comment for the LGBT site? Tweet @JimHalterman with your question.