After winning the hearts of audiences last year with their heartfelt and cleverly written Apple TV+ series, the stars of the critically acclaimed life-affirming delight Trying are back for Season 2 and teasing some major "heartbreak" ahead for their characters, Nikki Newman and Jason Ross. In an exclusive with PopCulture.com, stars Esther Smith and Rafe Spall of the British comedy shared what fans can expect from the sophomore season, admitting a lot will transpire across the show's eight episodes premiering globally on Apple TV+ Friday, May 21.
Following the events of Season 1's finale where Nikki (Smith) and Jason (Spall) have finally been approved by the adoption panel with the help of their social worker, Penny (Imelda Staunton), and are gearing up to be matched with a child, Smith tells PopCulture the process will "not [be] as easy" as fans think. "They have been really — definitely not out the woods yet," Smith said. "There's a lot of ups and downs, a lot of competition with other parents, and it feels like the stakes are much higher now because it really does involve children and they meet a child who essentially, they feel is their child. So, the potential for heartbreak is huge and the potential for rejection is huge because essentially, the adoption process isn't about the parents. It's about the kids. It's about matching the kids to the right people."
The 34-year-old adds that just because Nikki and Jason meet a child they believe could be theirs doesn't necessarily mean it will work out. "So, we journey through [the two] going through that process and there's lots of ups and downs. There's lots of moments of comedy within that because they want it so badly and lots of real poignant moments as well."
The BAFTA-nominated actress reveals one moment that touched her during the filming of the second episode of Season 2, where her character Nikki is set on one specific child, praying beyond hope that she and Jason finally get approval. "It's a really profound moment, but not much is communicated, but so much is communicated within the silence," she said. "Even in the writing of that in the script, I was crying. I mean, I'm often crying — you can't help but be moved by, I think, by this particularly because we know these characters so much from Series 1 that you know how much it means to them and you really want them to do well then because you're really rooting for them. If something doesn't quite work out in the way that they'd hoped, I think that is very moving."
With the show balancing humor so eloquently while juxtaposed to the sensitive subject matter with fertility and adoption, Spall reveals elements of comedy that make Trying so much more appealing to audiences than full-on drama because humor is "more representative of life," at least based on his own personal experiences. "In my own private life, whenever anything gets difficult, my way of coping is by using comedy," he said. "It's a way of releasing pressure when situations get difficult, and there's been many times when someone's made a joke at a funeral and you've laughed. It's like a pressure valve release."
The 38-year-old adds that perhaps even for people going through it, the relatability of Trying through comedy makes it "more palatable" to watch. "It's like if you're feeling the misery of it in real life, the last thing you want to see is the misery of it on television. I think it's more inclusive to go, 'Guys, we're in this together. This is a thing. It's okay to laugh. It's terrible. It's hard, but it doesn't define you,'" he said. "I think it's smart, more difficult. Don't get me wrong — it's more difficult to do and it takes great skill in the writing, but when it works, it's my favorite thing to watch."