The FX comedy Breeders will soon be making a triumphant return to the small screen. The series brilliantly navigates the troubles of parenthood and the chaotic nature of being full-time working parents to two young children with clashing personalities — something that its co-creators can all relate to.
The show Breeders was co-created by Chris Addison, Simon Blackwell, and Martin Freeman. The latter two are both Emmy-award-winning creators from Veep and have teamed together as an epic duo multiple times, having worked alongside one another to create the movies In the Loop and the two series, The Thick of It and Trying Again.
Monsters and Critics spoke with Addison and Blackwell to get the behind-the-scenes scoop on the creation of Breeders Season 2.
How did Breeders come to be?
Differing from other parental comedies, Breeders established its own unique tone with its debuting season and it continues to do so while throwing its audience for a major loop in Season 2. This tone is best described by the show’s synopsis which reads, “[Breeders] explores the parental paradox that you’d happily die for your children, but quite often also want to kill them.”
When talking about the creation of the show, Addison told us, “The beginning of the process of putting the show together was basically Simon, Martin, and I having a series of very long lunches that were sort of more akin to a support group where we talked about our own guilt and fears and our parenting experiences.”
Blackwell added, “There was a lot of anecdotal talking about being parents. The pilot, which is the first episode of the first season, came from the universal parenting thing of trying to get a night’s sleep. We thought we could do that while flashing away to show the other characters and a bit of Paul and Ally’s past, before kids, and that seemed like a good way of doing it.
He explained, “We wanted it to be a fragmented style because you are very fragmented as a parent, your lives are just in pieces a lot of the time. So, it made sense for that style of shooting it.”
What can be expected from Breeders Season 2?
In Breeders, there’s not a cookie-cutter depiction of parenting or being a middle-aged adult. The show’s main family has found themselves lost in silly arguments and screaming matches and faced with death, medical emergencies and topics of intergenerational parenting. However, what keeps the show light is the unconditional love that the family members have for one another and the odd ways in which they show it.
Starring in Breeders is English actors Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard. Freeman is notorious for his role as John Watson in BBC’s Sherlock, Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, and Everett Ross in Marvel’s Black Panther. Haggard is best known for playing roles in the BBC series Uncle, Episodes, and Back to Life. She also appeared in two episodes of Doctor Who and the popular Nosedive episode of Black Mirror.
Playing opposite of one another, it’s mind-blowing how the two actors feed off of each other’s energy to create mesmerizing chemistry between their respective characters, one that doesn’t feel forced or fictionalized — but rather, they embody the regularity and adoration that comes with being in a long-term relationship, as their characters are.
The two play parents to the young children Luke and Ava Worsley — who aged quite a bit in between seasons. Consistent throughout the show, the family’s patriarch Paul (Freeman) has to grapple with some serious issues of his own, stemming from poor anger management and various workplace insecurities, meanwhile, Ally (Haggard) juggles the load from her full-time work in sound engineering while still being a supporting and caring mother. Together, they form the never-perfect, but totally relatable Worsley family.
When asked about what pushed them to tackle “taboo topics of mental health, aging, and death” in the second season of Breeders, Simon lightheartedly expressed, “I think because we’re aging and getting closer to death, it’s affecting our mental health.”
Blackwell added insight about the “massive time jump” and how it correlates with the forthcoming topics of Season 2. He shared, “There’s a generation of kids now who are comfortable with the language of mental health and I think that’s still relatively new, that kids at 13 [years old] can talk about their feelings using the language of mental health, without having to say ‘I’m shy’ or ‘I’m nervous,’ they have a vocabulary and that’s interesting to us.”
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Season 2 of Breeders Premieres Monday, March 22 at 10 p.m. ET on FX and will be available the next day on Hulu.