Hit Canadian comedy Children Ruin Everything returned last month for its second season, which continues to build on that balance of humour and heart that it did so well in Season 1. We were so lucky to chat with stars Meaghan Rath and Aaron Abrams about what’s in store for Astrid and James following the birth of their third child, and how it’s changed their characters and family dynamic.
Watch Children Ruin Everything Monday nights on CTV, or on demand on the CTV App. Season 1 is available to stream on Crave in Canada and on The Roku Channel in the US.
Instead of the story picking up with the birth of the new baby, they chose to jump past those growing pains and went straight to Astrid and James trying to reestablish a routine at home.
“The show is not about a baby, so you have to skip past the part where it’s all baby all the time,” said Abrams. “It’s ultimately about parenting. They’re trying to go back to their jobs and maintain routines. That’s where all the fun and conflict of the show is, with them trying to live their lives and maintain the things they loved about their life, but doing that with three kids.”
Whereas Season 1 had a vibe of organized chaos, Season 2 feels like James and Astrid are more in control of their home and family after having another kid.
“Taking care of a newborn just forces you to get your shit together,” Rath shared. “There’s freedom in having a schedule. It allows you to live your life because it’s a little more predictable.” She added, “Chaos still happens because of this baby, but James and Astrid are such a great team so it feels like despite everything that might be going on externally — in the house, in their relationship — they have everything very much under control because they can rely on each other.”
Astrid returns to work and finds that she can’t escape being one of the only grown-ups in the room. She’s even thrust into somewhat of a motherly role with her new boss, which is a fun layer for the character this year.
“In Season 1, James’s workplace was one of our other locations. [This season], we get to see Astrid at work and outside of family life,” Rath told us. “Seeing her in a different environment informs who she is. There’s lots of fun stuff [to explore] there, and those work characters are great. It brings a fresh element to the show that we haven’t seen yet.”
In the second episode of the season, the relationship between James and his brother-in-law, Bo, takes an interesting turn.
“Bo (Dmitry Chepovetsky) is constantly revealing his weirdnesses,” Abrams said. “Every time you meet him, there’s a new layer of his history. He was a businessman who had a nervous breakdown and now he’s a new-age guy, but still has this built-up tension and anger underneath. It really comes out when we get into fantasy sports. He continued, “Episode 2 is all about maintaining friendships when you have kids. It’s also about James’ old friendship with Ennis (Ennis Esmer) and trying to connect with him even though it’s gone by the wayside as James has more kids.”
Potential friendships are also on Astrid’s mind early in the season, and she even attempts to make new friends, including a playground mom known as “Disaster Mom.”
Rath said, “That relationship with “Disaster Mom” (Anna Hopkins) isn’t a big part of Astrid’s arc, but it’s definitely something that informs the character in her effort to find balance. Now that she can get out of the house, she realizes that she doesn’t have people in her life to hang out with who get her. We end up seeing “Disaster Mom” come back in a few small ways, though.” She added, “At the end of the day, Astrid and James realize that they’re each other’s best friends, and they don’t really need much more.”
Children Ruin Everything very quickly became a hit among parents in its first season, especially those who relate to what James and Astrid are going through.
Abrams explained, “In terms of connecting with people or finding an audience, that’s out of our hands. It’s a relief that it happened. It never feels like we’re done. We’re always trying to make each episode better than the last one, and hopefully, connect with more people.” He continued, “That’s what the writers are trying to do, and each episode comes directly from our showrunner, Kurt Smeaton’s life. It’s a love-forward, fun comedy, but Kurt is pouring his guts out and his personal story out on every page. Meaghan and I try to honour that, and that’s what ultimately connects with audiences.”
Photos Courtesy of CTV