When “Satisfaction” premiered on USA last summer, it was a sexy series about midlife crises, second chances, and how many secrets one marriage could sweep under a rug before they filled the room. Among those secrets: wife and mother Grace Truman (Stephanie Szostak) was seeing a male escort; her husband, Neil (Matt Passmore), caught them but kept quiet; Neil eventually became a male escort himself; and both of them questioned the reasons keeping them married. The season ended with Neil and Grace standing in an empty pool, the husband of one of Neil’s clients silently approaching them from behind with a gun.
If a recent visit to the Atlanta set for Season 2 (premiering Oct. 16) is any indication, things only get wilder for the Trumans from there.
“[In] the first season there was so much that was hidden, and here in the first episode all the secrets come out so the dynamic and the energy really changes,” says Szostak between takes of a scene. “It liberates all the characters and makes the pace of the season much faster. It was actually a bit nerve-racking at first, reading the scripts, because I didn’t recognize the character, but I’m loving it.”
Passmore is also a fan of the new tone. “Everything [Grace and Neil] fear has happened, so they become completely fearless,” he says. “Neil in Season 1 was looking to everyone else for answers. This season, he’s gone, ‘Screw this.’ It creates a whole new energy that’s fun to play from the start.”
Change was in the air even before Season 1 ended, though. Male escort Simon was revealed in the finale to be part of a wealthy family, something that was also a revelation to his portrayer, Blair Redford. “Luckily he rejected all that, the wealth and the status of his family, so I could continue doing my own thing,” Redford says with a laugh.
Simon’s family will come into play in a big way in the second season, with Grant Show joining the series for a juicy arc as Simon’s wealthy father. Show was already in the area, thanks to his role on Lifetime’s “Devious Maids,” and he also happens to be married to Katharine LaNasa, who plays the elusive Adrianna, who first enjoys and then hires Neil. Adrianna is as likely to be found tattooing a young woman as she is befriending Grace under false pretenses. “There’s something really fun about playing a self-authorized character,” LaNasa says, incongruously down-to-earth while wearing her character’s outré, cleavage-baring dress. “I don’t ever feel like there’s anything I can’t do. She just does whatever she wants—even if there’s a sociopathy about it!”
LaNasa is being modest; “Satisfaction” creator Sean Jablonski points to her as a big inspiration for Adrianna. “Season 2, knowing your actors—this is the fun point,” he says. He, too, brings up the theme of rebuilding when discussing the new season. But he also talks about the nature of happiness, something that was a powerful undercurrent to the Trumans’ ennui. “Is being happy a worthwhile thing?” he says. “There’s this dark cloud over that, like we shouldn’t strive to be happy, we should strive for other things. But we all have that and it’s like grass through cracks in the sidewalk—it’s going to find a way to get out somehow.” The entertaining aspect of that on “Satisfaction” is seeing in what ways that aching desire for happiness manifests itself.
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