Girls5Eva Season 2 took major inspiration for Gloria's storyline this season from actress Paula Pell's real life. Pell revealed in an interview with PopCulture.com ahead of the Thursday, May 5 premiere of the Peacock show's sophomore season that the idea to have Gloria need a knee replacement just as the band gets into "album mode" came from her own knee replacement ahead of filming.
"I mean, the knee [injury] happens with Gloria right off the bat and it's really kind of based on my real life, that [the] knee replacement I had collapsed this summer, and I was in a real crisis," Pell told PopCulture. "And [executive producers Meredith Scardino and Jeff Richmond] were like, 'This is the most on-point Gloria story ever. Thank you for the gift.' They were like, 'This is absolutely perfect.'"
Luckily enough, Pell's real-life surgery went off without a hitch, and the actress said she healed in time to still dance and sing throughout the season. Scardino told PopCulture she felt like the writers would be "idiots not to" bring Pell's injury into the season when she broke the news a couple of months before getting back into production.
"She was very much like, 'I think I'll be fine by the time, I'll be maybe a little ginger on it, but I think I'll be fine. You don't have to worry about writing in an injury or anything,'" the showrunner recalled. "And we were all like ... well, this is the exact kind of thing that would happen in real life." She continued, "It felt like the exact kind of thing that would happen. And so why would we not write to it? It felt like we'd be idiots not to. So we wrote to it."
Pell muscling through her injury during filming was inspiring to watch, co-star Busy Philipps told PopCulture. "I just want to say this, that this woman was literally recovering from such a major surgery when we started shooting again," she said, fighting back tears. "I will actually get choked up when I talk about it. [Pell was] showing up every day, doing so much work to the point where – I don't even know. She's a superhuman person and also just making it funny. It was just like, we know Paula Pell is a genius because we know this. She's an icon. She's a genius, but watching [her] this year was truly the most inspiring thing ever." The first three episodes of Girls5eva Season 2 drop Thursday, May 5 on Peacock.