A MILLION LITTLE THINGS Post-Mortem: DJ Nash on Gary's Cancer Reveal, Season 5 Time Jumps, and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS Post-Mortem: DJ Nash on Gary’s Cancer Reveal, Season 5 Time Jumps, and More

February 8, 2023 by  


Credit: ABC

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the final season premiere of A MILLION LITTLE THINGS.]

The A MILLION LITTLE THINGS season premiere brought good news and bad news for Gary (James Roday Rodriguez).

After the friend group came to lend support to Gary and Maggie (Allison Miller) over the recurrence of his cancer, the show jumped ahead several months—to a funeral, where it was revealed Gary’s father had died.

As if Gary didn’t have enough on his plate, he got a bit of bittersweet health news: His test results were good…but he’d have to contend with cancer for the rest of his life.

But what does this mean for him and the rest of the final season? AMLT creator DJ Nash shared some insight with Give Me My Remote

Gary’s tests were good—but this is something he’ll be dealing with for the rest of his life. How is that impacting his—and Maggie’s—journey this season?
I lost a friend to suicide, and it changed me forever. And I think what happens is when you go to a friend’s funeral, which is what Gary says in the pilot, you promise yourself you’re gonna live differently. And you do that—for exactly two weeks. And then you go back to doing the same stuff you always did. I think that kick in the butt that the friend group had in the pilot to make them make changes in their life caused the show to not be about a series about one friend dying; it’s a series about seven friends finally living, which is something I’ve said before.

For Gary, the return of his cancer and to know that this is something he’s going to be navigating his whole life, it makes him no longer scared of the screenings, no longer waiting for tomorrow. I think he very much is determined to live life to the fullest. Sort of the way Maggie was when we met her in the pilot. So I think he has a perpetual kick in the butt that happens, and we see an optimistic side of Gary, as he tackles this.

Spoiler alert: All of these friends die. I don’t know if they told you, but everyone dies [eventually]. But really, I get asked the question, “Is Gary gonna die?” And it’s like, “All of them die! That’s what happens.” Whether they all die on camera is sort of the hold-your-breath part of this. I’ve had a community that I’ve been telling the story about for five seasons. When you are battling cancer, or when you’re battling depression, sometimes you beat the disease and sometimes the disease beats you. And you don’t know that ahead of time.

We saw a time jump in the premiere. How much will you be playing with time in the final season?
There’s quite a few time jumps in our season. There’s going to be quite a few. And they happen…some for technical reasons and some for storytelling reasons. One of the technical reasons we jump ahead is because we wanted to be able to show a baby on the show. Because of COVID restrictions, you can’t have a baby that is under six months, and we didn’t want to have what we call a jelly baby. We also didn’t want to have a six-month-old playing a newborn. [Terrence Coli], our showrunner, felt really strongly that we do that, and I agreed with him. So there’s a time jump there.

Then as we get to the second half of the season, we time jump again. And it’s for the purposes of sort of giving you the “where are they now?” of the story.

One of the big parts of season 1 that feels quasi-unfinished is the Eddie (David Giuntoli) and Delilah (Stephanie Szostak) of it all. How much will diving into what that relationship really was, pre-Jon’s (Ron Livingston) death, be a part of this final season?
I think that’s an important part. First of all, I want to start by saying that Stephanie Szostak is amazing. She is an incredible mom. Her request to be written out of the series for a while was because of the need to quarantine going back to the United States and Canada [during the height of COVID restrictions]. And while on-camera it appears as though Delilah is shirking some of her responsibilities as a mom, it’s because Stephanie didn’t want to [do that] as a real mom. And so I talked to Stephanie about that extensively, because if we just wrote her out of episodes and she’s at the store or she’s working on something, that would be fine. But when this gang, that gets together when everyone has a hangnail…if she suddenly didn’t show up for Maggie’s 30th birthday because she’s busy, that would hurt her character. If she’s not showing up because she’s in France, you understand it. So she does return this season. She returns and so does Ron Livingston. And there are some incredible flashbacks that tell a story of some things that we may not have known about the characters.

Is she in a sizable chunk of season 5? Or is it an episode or two?
She’s back and it’s amazing. I can’t wait. I’ll just tell you that I was still dealing with the fact that she needed to get home and be a mom. But I had the pleasure of being on set with her, and she is so talented. Everyone who was hoping for Delilah to be a part of the series again will be thrilled.

Elsewhere, Rome (Romany Malco) discovered that his father was having memory issues. How will he be contending with that?
I think it’s really hard. And it’s really interesting, because the stories of our show come from real things that happen to the writers in the room, and this story is the same as a few of us in the room who’ve had to deal with parents who have memory issues [had]. And I am so grateful for the writers who shared their stories about their journey; it really provided so much authenticity. My own experiences were similar to the other two writers in so many ways and different in some substantial ways.

I always had planned that when [Rome’s mother] Renee died suddenly, as he said at the funeral, there was nothing he needed to say to her, there’s nothing he needed to hear her say. He was at peace about that. And as he turned to his relationship with his father, I think he felt, “I want to be at the same place with my dad that I am with my mom by the time he goes.” And so what he discovers this year is there might be a ticking clock, and he really has to try to process the ways in which he and his dad are similar, and the ways in which they’re different.

There are the scenes between Lou Beatty Jr. and Romany Malco that are some of the best scenes I’ve ever been a part of on television. The two of them together are magical. And there are certain storylines that are verbatim from my life. You just saw one of them, with Tallulah Bankhead. And just the care that the two of those men brought, or are bringing, to telling that story has meant so much to me. I had the pleasure of directing the two of them in an episode; to be on set with Lou, who’s just a gift, and to see Romany, and to see the two of them know that, “Oh, this is probably a scene that’s really close to DJ,” to see the care that they did in portraying, it was unbelievable. It really was very cathartic for me and for the other two writers.

There’s a couple of surprises that happen this year, and I just was with the family and whispered one of the surprises, which I rarely do. Fans who have watched the story will be very moved by what they see.

At the end of last season, you teased there might be some tests ahead for Katherine (Grace Park) and Greta (Cameron Esposito). What can you preview about what’s in store for them this year?
I think they’ve loved each other in some ways since eighth grade, but they have really different journeys. Katherine’s story is one that I am familiar with, and really wanted to tell, which is being the child of immigrant parents and wanting to meet or exceed their expectations for you. And as you become an adult, what you want out of life can be very different than what your parents want for you out of life.

Greta comes from a family that embraced her sexuality, or sexual orientation, immediately. And so these two women who have very different stories—Katherine only recently out and Greta, almost for her whole life out, have to navigate how they’re going to support each other in ways that might have the other one feeling more or less comfortable with who they are than their partner. And I think that can be really challenging. And what we’ll see is, again, this friend group and Theo be so—when you have that wind at your back, there’s nothing you can’t do.

Is there anything else you can share about the final season?
I know the stories that we’re telling, whether it’s about breast cancer, depression, being physically challenged, they’re some really personal stories that have resulted in those members of those communities watching our show and following it. So as I said, I’m not sure everyone will love every single story turn we take this year, but I hope that all of them will understand and feel that they’re authentic.



Follow @GiveMeMyRemote and @marisaroffman on Twitter for the latest TV news. Connect with other TV fans on GIVE ME MY REMOTE’s official Facebook page.

And be the first to see our exclusive videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made through links/ads placed on the site.

Comments Off on A MILLION LITTLE THINGS Post-Mortem: DJ Nash on Gary’s Cancer Reveal, Season 5 Time Jumps, and More


Comments are closed.