Rafe Spall, Esther Smith still ‘Trying’ as comedy returns
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Jason Ross and Nikki Newman are back for Season 2 of “Trying” — and all is right in their world.
Jason (Rafe Spall) and Nikki (Esther Smith), who were finally approved as adoptive parents in the Season 1 finale of “Trying,” are finding the process isn’t so easy when the gentle comedy, created and written by Andy Wolton, returns Friday, May 21 on Apple TV+.
“The second season is about them being matched up with a child which, if anything, is more difficult because there is a great deal of competition for quite a small pool of children in the system,” said Spall, who spoke to The Post along with Smith. “They meet someone they fall in love with … but there are other families with fancier houses and better jobs and ostensibly better homes.
“Part of the pleasure of the show is that watching it as an audience member, you root for this pair,” he said. “You know they’re deserving and you know that they’re good — perhaps even before they themselves do, which I think is part of the show’s appeal.”
“I think the stakes are a lot higher this season,” said Smith, 34. “They find and fall in love with child who they feel is their child, so the potential for heartbreak and rejection is huge. They’ve got further to fall, in a way…and we watch them navigate what that might mean.
“I think there comes a real maturity in trying to accept that. You’ll really see these characters grow.”
The new season opens not long after the end of Season 1; Jason and Nikki, excited about adopting a child, still live in their modest apartment in northwest London (Camden Town) while dealing with their separated friends Erica (Ophelia Lovibond) and Freddy (Oliver Chris) — and with Nikki’s sister Karen (Sian Brooke), whose obnoxious, layabout lover, Scott (Darren Boyd), now fancies himself a writer of noir-ish crime thrillers.
“[Nikki and Jason] have been through a lot,” Spall said. “Infertility is obviously an unbelievably difficult situation and I think that has the potential to tear people apart, but it can also bring people together if they’re on the same page. They’re very clear on their deep love and respect for each other. They’re seemingly bulletproof; I’m not saying they’re not flawed, because they are, but they have a love that sustains and I think they’re in a really good place — especially in comparison to their dreadful friends.”
Smith said she and Spall have learned a lot about the adoption process while shooting the series, which has been renewed for a third season.
“It something that we’re not very well-versed on, and there’s not a lot of representation on TV or film here about that process. I didn’t realize how hard it was, how long of a process it was and you’ll see that, after they get approved, Nikki and Jason are still really thick in the woods with it. It’s been really lovely hearing feedback from people who have been or who are going through the [adoption] process, who feel like their story is being represented and feel like they’re being seen. It’s such validation and encouragement for the series.”
Also back for Season 2 is Imelda Staunton as Nikki and Jason’s humorous, straight-shooting social worker, Penny, who’s been helping them through the adoption process. Staunton will play Queen Elizabeth in Seasons 5 and 6 of “The Crown”; there’s no word on whether she will return for Season 3 of “Trying” which, Spall said, hopes to begin shooting this fall.
“She’s a huge part of the show and we’re very proud and pleased to have her involved,” he said. “However, when we do Season 3, she’s now the Queen of England, so I don’t know if we’re going to have to curtsy or bow to her — though we do that anyway. Some of our favorite scenes to shoot are with her.”
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