Lauren Lee Smith

This Life’s Lauren Lee Smith previews Maggie’s “Crazy” Season 2

Maggie Lawson is the free spirit of CBC’s This Life. Immature and impulsive, she frequently frustrates her siblings and parents with her life choices—despite her best intentions. Case in point, when she outed Matthew’s (Rick Roberts) affair to Nicole (Marianne Farley) last season, causing a major brother-sister fallout.

“She wants to help,” Lauren Lee Smith says of her character. “She wants to be the person who comes through for everybody, but things never seem to work out in her favour, which in turn gets the rest of her family pretty upset with her.”

At the end of the Season 2 premiere, Maggie appeared to take a step toward responsibility by moving into an apartment with new friend Raza (Hamza Raq). But Smith says things take a “crazy” turn in this week’s episode, “Perfect Day,” though she can’t be specific.

“It’s so hard not to be able to give more away,” she laughs.

Joining us by phone, Vancouver native Smith—who recently nabbed a Leo Award for This Life—tells us more about Maggie’s new living arrangements, her rift with Matthew and what to expect in coming episodes.

Congratulations on winning the 2016 Leo Award for Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series for Maggie. 
Thank you. I was very surprised and very excited for that. I just absolutely adore this character and I love working on the show, so to get rewarded for that as well is like, ‘Oh, my God!’ It’s crazy. It’s pretty great.

Maggie and Matthew had a falling out last season after she told Nicole he had an affair.  They were still at odds in the premiere. Are they ever going to make up?
I still stand by Maggie’s choice. I think Maggie was totally in the right for doing what she did and calling out Matthew. I think that he needed to be called out, and I think the truth needed to come out . . . Matthew wasn’t going to do it by himself. He needed Maggie’s push to get the truth out there, but we’re definitely going to see that cross into Season 2. They have not worked things out. When we’re first introduced to Season 2, they are still very much at odds, and the tensions are definitely still high between the two of them. I think they just approach life from two very different corners. And as the season progresses, we sort of see how they work that out, because ultimately the Lawson family is very close.

In the premiere, Maggie is experiencing a money crunch and decides to move in with Raza, a customer she meets at work. How is that going to work out for her?
Maggie is a very crafty person and she does know how to twist things and make things work in her favour when she needs to. So she meets one of her customers and they sort of devise this plan to help him and also in turn make Maggie’s life a little bit easier. And how they go about that is completely irresponsible and crazy and that’s basically what we see in Season 2. It carries throughout the rest of the season, and that’s basically Maggie’s big story point for the duration of the season.

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So while it looks like a step toward stability for her, it may not be?
Yeah. When we left off in Season 1, Maggie very much still had a lot of growing up to do, and she still has a lot of evolving to do as a grown-up and her choices are still not completely thought through. I think toward the end of Season 2 we maybe start to see a little bit of her realizing that and realizing that she needs to take a good, hard look at herself. But starting with Episode 2 and heading toward the end of the season, it’s a big fumbling Maggie mess. It’s very fun to watch and very fun to portray. There are a lot of firsts for Maggie in Season 2, which are very difficult and heartbreaking and comedic.

Last week, Nicole accused Maggie of not understanding intimacy. Is that going to be a major part of Maggie’s journey this season?
It is. It’s definitely a major indication of what’s to come for Maggie. And there’s a point this season where Maggie realizes, ‘OK, maybe I do need to take a look at my life and my choices and relationships and look at them from a perspective other than just my own.’ And I think that’s a theme for Maggie throughout Season 2, right up until the very end.

How will Natalie react to Maggie’s choices this season?
I think that Maggie and Natalie have a very co-dependent, very strong, very beautiful and honest relationship—well, honest in Maggie’s terms—and I think they really do rely on each other for certain very different things. But it’s difficult sometimes for Natalie to put up with Maggie’s choices. We know everything that Natalie is going through, and she’s dealing with a load, not only with her diagnosis, but with the drug trial, and her three children, and her ex-husband, and the list goes on and on. So I think her exasperation and impatience with Maggie is also very apparent in Season 2—for very good reason!

What else can you tell us about Season 2?
Oh, gosh, there are so many surprises in Season 2, I don’t even know where to begin. I feel like every episode there’s something that the audience is going to be like, ‘Whoa, whoa, what just happened?’ Even me reading the scripts, that’s how I felt.

But I think Episode 209 is probably going to be the most shocking episode yet. That’s kind of all I think I can say at this point. But even reading the script, I had to read it three times and sort of go, ‘Wait, what just happened here?’ . . . I think the audience is going to be in for a very interesting, emotional, fun ride during Season 2.

This Life airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

A.R. Wilson

A.R. Wilson

A.R. Wilson has been interviewing actors, writers and musicians for over 20 years. In addition to TV-Eh, her work has appeared in Curve, ROCKRGRL, Sound On Sight and Digital Journal. A native of Detroit, she grew up watching Mr. Dressup and The Friendly Giant on CBC, which led to a lifelong love of Canadian television. Her perpetual New Year's resolution is to become fluent in French.
A.R. Wilson
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