Tag Archives: Amanda Joy

Second Jen returns for long-awaited second season

It’s been almost two years, but Second Jen‘s second season is finally here.

The sitcom, co-created by Amanda Joy and Samantha Wan, returns Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Omni Television, once again telling the hilarious and heartfelt experiences of best friends Jennifer “Mo” Monteloyola (Joy) and Jennifer “Jen” Wu (Wan), two second-generation millennials who observe, reflect and react to the world around them.

Things have changed for Season 2 both in front of an behind the camera. There are new faces in Jen’s new friend, Marcus, played by Lovell Adams-Grey (Slasher); Mo’s new potential love interest, Diego (Oscar Moreno); and a whack of guest stars from Canada’s comedy elite in Mark Andrada, Jim Annan, Craig Lauzon, Patrice Goodman, Pat Thornton and Gary Rideout Jr. Second Jen‘s creative engine is run by showrunner and head writer Carly Heffernan, writer and story editor Joy and story editor and co-director Wan.

We spoke to Heffernan, Joy and Wan during a break in filming earlier this year.

How did this second season come together?
Amanda Joy: We work pretty quickly, but from the [Season 2 renewal] announcement to when we were shooting we had already done most of the writing. It just came down to polishing it, and Carly and I, we were working with the network and Sam and just trying to bring out the best elements of the scripts, and choose the best stories, and just make sure that the ones we were making were the most solid and strongest ones.

(l-r) Samantha Wan, Carly Heffernan and Amanda Joy

Carly, how did you end up being involved with the show this season?
Carly Heffernan: I was involved with the first season in a writing capacity as well as an acting capacity, so then I was brought back on for Season 2 in just a bit of an elevated writing capacity as head writer, which was great. I had a really nice time working with Sam and Amanda before, and I love getting into a writer’s room with them and hearing the stories that they want to share, and just being a part of figuring out how we’re going to tell those stories.

AJ: It’s actually amazing because Carly had worked with us in different capacities before, and then it just, there was an opening and she really felt like the right person to do the job, and everyone was in agreement with that.

Samantha Wan: Yeah, it’s exciting. It’s a full female writing room, and full female heads right now.

Does that make a difference?
CH: I think absolutely when you’re telling a female-centric story. It definitely helps to come from a female P.O.V. Not saying that someone of a different gender couldn’t tell the story, but it’s definitely made it easier. There are a lot of situations that Sam and Amanda shared that I could just relate to from my own past experiences as a woman.

The girls have moved into a new apartment, you’ve got new stuff going on in their lives. 
AJ: When we were deciding which stories would make it into the second season and which ones we were really going to work, we decided that we wanted to bring it back to the girls, and make sure that that central relationship was key, and strong in every single story, even when they are separate from each other. It needed to really be about them and how they grow, and how they grow together. The boys who were in the original first season are not in this particular season, but in doing that we have the opportunity to show Jen and Mo outside of their relationships with these two men, and to really make a female-centric story and a friendship-centric story.

SW: In Season 1 I’d say there was a lot of focus on the girls and how they related to their family, and moving away from them. And in Season 2 it’s actually a lot more like ‘OK, now we’ve moved away from our family, how do we figure out our life on our own?’ Also, a huge thing I think this season, too, is seeing when you have a best friend, how you both start changing and you don’t change the same way. So Mo’s getting a lot of success right now, and Jen’s doing a lot of introspection right now, and that puts them in a very different place. In almost opposite places where they used to be this season.

AJ: There’s a lot of irony in that, too, because when you look at the two girls and you sort of predict who is going to be having more success, who is going to really be moving forward with their life, you think it is going to be Jen. And here we see that maybe life’s not as cut and dry as they made it seem in school.

What can you say about your cast?
AJ: In adding new characters and changing up the group a little bit, I’ve found that the dynamic from the ensemble is really speaking to the second generation experience. I believe every single lead now, in our show, is a person of colour.

And you also draw on your background with sketch because you’ve got a lot of talent like Pat Thornton coming in and, can you talk a little bit about some of the guest people you’ve got involved in Season 2?
CH: Absolutely. We have some fantastic people from the world of comedy. Pat Thornton, who is just a national treasure in terms of hilarity, you know, everyone’s seen him on their TVs for years. He’s amazing. Jim Annan, who’s another staple of the comedy community, has been so funny. Nile Séguin joins us again, who’s a fantastic stand-up from the sketch comedy scene. Sorry, from the stand-up scene. Gary Rideout Jr., Craig Lauzon, Mark Andrada. Yeah, a lot of sketch performers are coming in, which is awesome. Bumping up that comedy. Sam and Amanda do such a great job of providing us with so much heart, and staying really true and real and grounded in the characters that they are, so to have a bit of that sketch flair really ups our comedy value.

Let’s talk about some of these adult storylines. Wall squirrels.
CH: Oh, man. If you’ve ever had an animal in your house, it’s the worst. I once had a pigeon in my loft in St. Lawrence Market, I was just freaking right out. We love the notion of the girls sort of dealing with maybe their first break-in, which is always scary. It’s always coming down to firsts for these girls. What is it when you go on your first double date with your best friend?

You’re tackling some serious subjects like sexism and racism.
SW: We have a whole episode on sexual harassment in the workplace, which Amanda wrote and I’m actually directing, well, co-directing with Romeo [Candido], which I think is a very exciting thing.

Second Jen airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Omni Television.

Images courtesy of Second Jen and Omni Television.


Second Jen returns for second season, beginning August 4 on OMNI Television

From a media release:

Second Jen, the groundbreaking original scripted comedy series following the adventures of two second-generation millennials and their friends, returns this summer with an all-new season featuring fan favourites and fresh faces, beginning Saturday, Aug. 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on OMNI Television (check local listings). Co-created, co-executive produced, and starring Filipino-Chinese-Canadian Amanda Joy as Jennifer Mo” Monteloyola and Chinese-Canadian Samantha Wan as Jennifer JenWu, the six-part, 30-minute episode season is inspired by their real-life experiences, as they sort through commitment issues, career challenges, and the awkwardness of dating.

Older, saucier, and no longer relying on their over-protective families, Mo and Jen are now grappling with the world of ‘adulting,’ as their childhood friends begin to establish successful careers and get married. Season 2 features an all-female creative team, with Carly Heffernan (Nurse Redelle, Second City), showrunner and head writer, at the helm. Amanda Joy has written three out of six episodes this season, including “Like A Girl,” “The Book of Jenesis,” and “Wall Squirrelly,” while Samantha Wan co-directs “Like A Girl,” alongside series director Romeo Candido.

Joining Amanda Joy and Samantha Wan as season regulars are Nile Séguin (Alister, The Beaverton), Lily Gao (Karen, Blood and Water), and new cast member Lovell Adams-Gray (Marcus, Slasher). Rounding out the culturally diverse cast are Janet Lo (Bunny, Diary of the Dead), Timothy Lai (Eric, How to Be Indie, Degrassi: The Next Generation), Caroline Mangosing (Maryjun, How to Be Indie), Carly Heffernan (Nurse Redelle, Second City), Patrick Kwok-Choon (Harrison, Star Trek: Discovery, Cardinal), Ho Chow (Mr. Hsu, Bad Blood, The Strain) and new cast member Oscar Moreno (Diego,Shadowlands). Buzz-worthy headliners from Canada’s comedy scene make special guest appearances, including Mark Andrada, Jim Annan, Craig Lauzon, Gary Rideout Jr., Pat Thorntonand comedic actress Patrice Goodman.

OMNI will air the season’s previous episode at 8 p.m. ET/PT, followed by a new episode at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. Audiences can catch-up on Season 1 on the OMNI Television website, www.OMNItv.ca, and on Rogers on Demand.

Second Jen is produced by Don Ferguson Productions (DFP) in association with Rogers Media. Executive Producers are Don Ferguson, Lucy Stewart, and Kevin Wallis. Amanda Joy and Samantha Wan are co-executive producers. Carly Heffernan and Romeo Candido are co-producers. From Rogers Media, Nataline Rodrigues is Director of Original Programming, Hayden Mindell is Vice President of Television Programming & Content, and Colette Watson is Senior Vice President of TV & Broadcast Operations.


Link: Samantha Wan and Amanda Joy debut culturally diverse Canadian sitcom ‘Second Jen’

From Robert Ballantyne of PopJournalism:

Link: Samantha Wan and Amanda Joy debut culturally diverse Canadian sitcom ‘Second Jen’
Four years ago — before Samantha Wan and Amanda Joy had fully formed the idea that would become City’s new sitcom Second Jen — they took the stage at a Canadian pitch contest and tried to sell an autobiographical comedy series that would explore the stories of the second generation and their families.

The judges were really not interested in their pitch. Continue reading. 



Second Jen’s co-creators navigate the road from short to TV series

If things had gone a little differently, City’s Second Jen may never have gotten a first episode. But Samantha Wan had some luck on her side when she took her comic digital co-creation to the Banff World Media Festival.

The friend who had TV pitching experience backed out at the last minute, leaving Wan to attend the festival alone. She had no experience selling an idea, so she practiced on an iPad every chance she got. Wan hadn’t signed up to have pitch meetings because she didn’t know she was supposed to. On the last night,  she met with Lucy Stewart of Don Ferguson Productions, who told her to talk with Kevin Wallis. The pair sat down and by the end of their discussion the company had taken the show.

Debuting Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET on City, Second Jen stars Wan and fellow co-creator Amanda Joy as Jen and Mo, twentysomething Asian Canadians who move into their first apartment together. Jen’s mother Bunny (Janet Lo) doesn’t approve, but that doesn’t stop the pair, who discover taking on responsibilities isn’t without challenges. Lucky for them, fellow apartment dwellers Lewis (Al Mukadam) and Nate (Munro Chambers), are there to provide support and friendship.

We spoke to Wan and Joy about their road from digital short to six-episode series and taking a two-person idea into a writers’ room.


A lot of the stories about Second Jen has put a focus on the fact you’re Asian and the series is about Asian Canadians. Is it important for you to discuss that angle, or do you prefer to just talk about Second Jen as a television show?
Amanda Joy: I understand that there is always going to be a political context. Anytime you appear on-screen as a person of colour or LGBT, there is always going to be political context. And I think that is important to us in one aspect of our lives. And then the show, what it is is important in another way. This isn’t a show about being Asian. It’s about being in your 20s in Toronto, and two best friends who are very intelligent but also not the most experienced women about how they navigate the world. In Toronto, because it’s such a diverse city, they come from an immigrant background and many of their friends come from an immigrant background. When you take on Toronto as a setting, I feel like that will be the case and that’s part of the strength of the story.

Samantha Wan: We’re ethnic, but this is the story of being stuck in the middle between the older generation and our second generation and stuck in the middle because we’re in our 20s. I’m not in high school anymore but I don’t have my career set out before me either. Naturally, the generation clash includes culture but that’s more the conflict and what we’re picking apart.

It’s one thing to create a project as a digital entity, but it’s another to flesh out characters and add more for a television series. What was it like having a writers’ room with folks like Kevin, Carly Heffernan and Jeff Biederman?
AJ: If I’m writing by myself and I hit a wall, I go for a walk. When you’re in the writers’ room and hit a wall, somebody else will know how to pick it up. Carly is hilarious and so much fun to work with, very intelligent and kind. She gave me a ride to the subway every day. And Jeff really, really knows his stuff. When it came to the room he was able to look at structural things, inconsistencies in plot or scenes.

SW: It was nice to know there was someone who could help us navigate notes from the broadcaster. The notes were very specific and were helpful but sometimes we needed to understand exactly what they meant. Having someone who was seasoned was really helpful.

(l-r) Munro Chambers, Samantha Wan, Amanda Joy, Al Mukadam

How much of Season 1 had been plotted out by the two of you prior to being in the room?
SW: We had plotted out ideas for episodes and those were pitched to the room and to Rogers. Then we picked which ones were the most relatable and the most funny.

AJ: And then it came down to what each character was doing in each episode. Even though we’re episodic, we do have some serialized arcs.

Let’s talk about your characters, Jen and Mo.
SW: They’re kind of a combination of the both of us. They were  pretty easy to write because they have characteristics are from the both of us. Nate and Lewis are based off friends we have, but combinations so no one can come back to us and say, ‘That’s me.’ Once we cast the actors, Nate took on a little bit of a different shape once Munro was in. It was the same thing with Al as Lewis. We really wanted them to collaborate on who these characters are.

AJ: A lot of people complain about underdeveloped female characters and when we wrote the first drafts we had to go back to the male characters. What it’s like being a woman comes easily for us, but when it comes to being a guy, we’re more guessing by what we see.

Second Jen airs Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on City.