The character of Ray [high school teacher] represents a complex struggle today. In the show he’s in a position of power, he’s an educator and he supports the ideas that stem from the #MeToo movement. Does he have the right to be an authority for the #MeToo movement? How do you move through this in the show to represent a male’s role in the movement?
SH: We were looking at different responses from two people [Eliza, Vice Principal and Ray] that really cared about their students and wanted to do best by them. We wanted to explore what it was like to actually be there having to deal with the day-to-day, and show they were connecting with their students and in it for the right reasons, and not having panic responses.
Ray is a guy who felt very modern and would even call himself a feminist, but still has all these emotional responses to not knowing how to behave all of a sudden in a world where men are being called to account or to be considering their actions – possibly for the first time in history today.
MC: He’s a man struggling, in some respects, in the #MeToo movement. And his conception of his identity is quite fragile.
SH: We also wanted to show Ray respecting the woman opposite him, Eliza, has been considering how she behaves her whole life, in a way that’s just being asked of him.
What would you like viewers to take away from this series?
SH: It’s different for different people. It’s the idea of speaking with some sort of vulnerability to your kids about what relationships and sex might be. And that it’s actually okay to have conversations with them and not having that conversation is causing a lot of problems.
MC: A call to action to people to watch the show and to come away with the idea that everyone is entangled in this. And yes, that any real solution is to have frank conversations.
SH: To not be put off by talking about technology and not knowing what different apps are. That actually you’re just talking about feelings.
Humanizing technology, almost.
SH: Yeah. If we can’t reveal to our children how we feel about our own relationships, how do they know how to feel about theirs? With organizations like Project Rockit and In Your Skin, there are people going into schools doing these things that are real.