Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched the first season of Apple TV+’s Little Voice.
Apple TV+’s music drama, Little Voice, wrapped up its nine-episode first season — and left the door open for the potential continuation of Bess King’s (Brittany O’Grady) musical and personal journeys as she attempts to find her place in New York City.
After rejecting record producer Jeremy’s (Luke Kirby) advances, Bess took matters into her own hands, performing at a local joint with fellow bandmate-turned-maybe love interest Samuel (Colton Ryan) by her side — moments after the two shared their first kiss. And in dramatic fashion, Bess’ storage unit neighbor, Ethan (Sean Teale), came back into the romantic picture when he arrived midway through Bess’ set, inconspicuously perched in the back of the bar. Is the love triangle still alive and well?
“Have you ever heard of a karmic relationship? I feel like Bess and Ethan are — I don’t want to minimize it to karmic because usually it comes with a bad connotation — but I feel like they were instantly attracted to one another to that level that you feel like you’re the only person in the room with them,” O’Grady told ET. “A lot of times they were the only ones in the storage unit and they had this instant connection of like, ‘Where do I know you from? I feel like I’ve known you in another life,’ and it’s star-crossed lovers like Romeo and Juliet where they can’t be together. The unique circumstances that create that: He’s in a relationship, Bess is waiting and she gets her heart broken.”
“I think Samuel holds Bess accountable in an incredibly honest way that she needs,” the actress continued. “I feel like Ethan was an escape from her reality, and then Samuel is making her face her reality and finding the honest, true characteristic that he loves in her — that she maybe doesn’t accept in herself. He pushes her to be better and to acknowledge her strengths. That’s a very healthy dynamic. We’ll see where it goes. He’s given her so much confidence and challenges her. In the fifth episode, he’s like, ‘You’re afraid you can’t do it. You are trying to hold back for your father and you’re afraid you’re going to do what he couldn’t do.’ And that is a very honest, hard thing to say to somebody. But if you really care about them, he has the guts to say it.”
For Ryan, a theater actor who recently booked a role in the Dear Evan Hansen film adaptation, Bess and Sam’s connection was undeniable right from the get-go — even if it took Bess a little while to sort out her feelings.
“The interactions they have about music felt the most authentic to me. When you meet someone who can jam with you, it’s such a high; you don’t want to really let that go. You try to fall all the way to the end of the rainbow and when these two meet each other, it’s very obvious that, in a lot of ways, they view the world very similarly,” Ryan said. “And personality-wise, they have a lot of similarities. They’re both stubborn to a fault. They both are a little too opinionated and that’s the exact reason why a lot of times their music helps when they work together.”
“In the second episode, there’s a whole scene in the storage unit for the first song they ever wrote. It’s ballsy that she presents this song [‘Coming Back to You’] and he’s like, ‘You know what? It’s fine, I liked it. But would it be better if it was like this?'” he added. “It’s so hard as a musician to show someone your soul and it’s a very delicate balance. That’s why when you meet those people who get it, who really see you for what you’re trying to do, but also can be like, ‘Hey, I see the full picture,’ or, ‘I see something else that might be worthwhile.’ She definitely had that going on, and it felt really authentic to me.”
Ask O’Grady and Ryan whether Bess and Sam’s kiss means they may be exploring something more than just friendship, and the actors play coy about where the characters’ relationship could go if the series is renewed for season 2.
“Oh my gosh, I wish I knew! That is totally up to [creator] Jessie [Nelson],” O’Grady said. “I’m excited to see where that goes and see how Bess handles being in a relationship and what would come up for her, especially if she’s dealing with a relationship and possibly a career move and potentially a guy that she just made out with being a part of that career. We’ll see if a relationship blossoms or if it fails. I’m very excited to figure it out once, whether we see if we get a season 2 or when it’s safe to film again, which I hope too.”
“I love Sean. I’m Team Ethan. I’m Team Sean, but I’m also, ‘If Sam gets the girl…,” Ryan shared, adding he’s not one to speculate about Bess and Sam’s future “until the writing tells me.” “I have high hopes that we keep exploring it.”
If Bess’ romantic life wasn’t enough drama, she also dealt with some major upheavals in her family. Her father, former singer Percy (Chuck Cooper), reverted back to his reliance on the bottle and as a result, pushed his daughter away. Her estranged mother re-emerged in an attempt to reconcile with Bess and her brother, Louie (Kevin Valdez), which ended up disastrously.
“I don’t know where that dynamic will go, but I thought that it was a really interesting and incredible dynamic to be put in the show — the severity of Bess’ father’s alcoholism and how that disease affects the whole family and how it affects her father,” O’Grady said of Percy rejecting Bess’ help in the finale. “I thought that it was so important to be portrayed — and that was a really heavy, heavy scene. I’ve filmed some pretty heavy scenes with some really, really high stakes and there was something really delicate and heartbreaking about that. I’m worried for him too. I don’t know where it’s going to go, but hopefully in a better direction — a healing direction.”
As for Bess’ broken relationship with her mother, O’Grady said she’s “curious to see how the outcome is” too. “Where Bess, her mother and Louie left off, I’m curious to see whether Bess will circle around or find some sort of situation where she’s going to need closure or more of an explanation,” she explained. “I was so moved by the scenes, I actually cried during one of them and the camera wasn’t on me. It was one when she came through the door and Louie was like, ‘Mom?’ I was crying. I was like, ‘What is happening? This is so emotional.'”
A unique aspect of Little Voice that sets it apart from other music dramas are the sprinkling of original songs, all written by executive producer Sara Bareilles (who makes a brief cameo in the series). O’Grady and Ryan had their personal favorites but both zeroed in on “Simple and True,” a song that’s featured in episode 6, as their true No. 1 — in part because of the state of Bess and Sam’s roller-coaster dynamic at that point in time.
“I really had a wonderful time singing ‘Simple and True,’ just because Sara really gave me the opportunity to belt it out. That was really fun. It was a really cool milestone because at the beginning of the series, a lot of the songs are very soft and sweet and close to the vest,” O’Grady said. “It was such a beautiful song. Sara recorded it years ago and when I heard it, I was just so moved by it. So to be able to sing it as well, was really cool and empowering.”
“‘Simple and True,’ that song just feels really emotionally potent,” Ryan said. “Some songs are meant to feel vibrant and bouncy; ‘More Love’ is fun, it’s a full bop. ‘Simple and True’ — the story and the song is so heavy and has these feelings [ingrained in it] and I got to let loose on that one a little. Britt[any] and I, in the show, even in the visual it’s going back and forth like, ‘Oh man, these two cannot get it together.’ That was the most thrilling song to me.”
Little Voice is streaming now on Apple TV+.
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