Tanya Saracho on ‘Vida’ Season 2 and Kicking Things Off with an Orgy Scene

     May 24, 2019

vida-season-2-tanya-saracho-interviewFrom show creator Tanya Saracho, the half-hour Starz series Vida is back for Season 2, as Lyn (Melissa Barrera) and Emma (Mishel Prada) attempt to figure out the best way to approach rebuilding their mother’s business without it fully dragging them under financially. As the series continues to explore identity, culture, gender and sexuality through the lens of a Latinx family and their community, these previously estranged sisters must figure out what they want from each other, the relationships in their lives, and their futures.

During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, showrunner/writer/executive producer Tanya Saracho (who also makes her directorial debut this season) talked about why she wanted to make the series available to binge, how cool it is to work in an environment where she doesn’t have to defend what she’s doing, expanding to 10 episodes for Season 2, kicking off the season with an orgy, the reality these sisters will face in trying to save a struggling business, and trying to juggle Vida while also developing other projects.

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Image via Starz

Collider: How do you feel about the entire season dropping at once? Are you excited to see how people react to that?

TANYA SARACHO: It was my idea. We didn’t make it with that in mind, but then, especially spending time with it in the editing bay, it’s so binge-able. Not a lot of days happen between episodes. Sometimes it’s one or two days, but sometimes it’s right the next day. This show is about millennials of color, and millennials of color binge, too. The way we’re releasing it, I hope the experiment works. I think it’s perfect because you can get it linearly on the channel, and you can get it on the app before that.

And this show moves so fast that you really want to see the next episode, as soon as possible.

SARACHO: Yeah. I remember being a fan of shows that were half an hour, like Entourage, Girls and Looking, but then you have to wait one more week for the next half-hour, which I know was a frustration last year. Hopefully, this will answer that.

The story that you’re telling with Vida is written by and brought to life by people who look like the individuals in the story. What’s it like to walk onto the set and see the faces of the people who actually really should be telling this story, and know that you’re the one responsible for making all of that happen?

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Image via Starz

SARACHO: And hearing the Spanglish, and also having that represented in the editing bay, is really cool. It’s awesome. I love us. I don’t know what else to say. I love that I was allowed to build the world the way that I wanted to, and have only been supported, especially because my executive is Marta Hernandez, and her name tells you why she supported it. I never had to defend the world. I never had to be like, “This is why this world is worth it, and these are the reasons why these stories are worth it.” I never had to do that. That plays out in staffing the writers’ room and staffing an all-Latina season of directors. This season, we have all Latina directors, queer Latino cinematographers, and all-female editors. It makes a difference. I remember the meeting when all of the department heads were all sitting there and somebody took a picture, and we were all female. The producer, the ADs, the director and the cinematographer were all female, and it was like, “Oh, my god, we’re not manning the show. We’re woman-ning the show.” It just feels different. It feels like you don’t have to defend anything. Sometimes in these co-ed spaces, you have to defend your right to speak up, or you get shut down. Here, other stuff can shut you down, but not your gender, and that feels good.

What was it like to jump from six episodes to ten episodes, this season? What were you most excited about, as far as what that extra two hours would give you?

SARACHO: In 2019, we’re more used to consuming five hours of a half-hour season, so ten episodes is pretty common. I so respect my fellow showrunners who have 22 episode. I don’t know how they do that. It’s amazing. As a consumer, I like eight, ten or twelve episodes. In that area, you can really tell a good story. And the way that we make it, we try to make it quality and right, and that takes some time, so we wanted to give ourselves that time.

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Image via Starz

You have an orgy scene to kick off the season. How did you decide that that was how you wanted to start the season, and how did you break that to Melissa Barrera?

SARACHO: When I wrote in the first script was that I wanted the world’s saddest orgy. They’re coming down from their high. It’s probably smelly because they’ve been partying all day. It looks, at first glance, like it’s so glamorous and great, but then you look around and there’s a creeper just creeping everybody, all flaccid. Every sex scene has a purpose. She is shifting away. In case you weren’t sure, at the end of last season, she’s shifting away from that lens, and you see her make the decision. You watch her see the girl throw up, and then she shifts and walks away from it, metaphorically and physically. That gets her started in the season. She is now determined to go to a new phase of her life, of adulting, and no one is going to believe her because she’s never done that. That’s gonna be her struggle, this season. Until the last episode, no one believes in her, even herself. She doesn’t believe. She keeps trying, but she keeps doubting herself. What better way to show that, than the world’s saddest, most pathetic orgy. I hope people can smell it. This is what rock bottom looks like.

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