AMERICAN AUTO Post-Mortem: Ana Gasteyer on Payne Motors' Bittersweet Win - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

AMERICAN AUTO Post-Mortem: Ana Gasteyer on Payne Motors’ Bittersweet Win

April 18, 2023 by  

AMERICAN AUTO season 2 finale spoilers

AMERICAN AUTO — “Judgement Day” Episode 212 — Pictured: (l-r) Ana Gasteyer as Katherine Hastings, Humphrey Ker as Elliot, Harriet Dyer as Sadie — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the AMERICAN AUTO season 2 finale, “Judgement Day.”]

The Payne Motors team managed to pull off a miracle in the AMERICAN AUTO season 2 finale—but it didn’t go down exactly as planned.

On the Tuesday, April 18 episode, “Judgement Day,” the team was in the final hours to raise their stock prices—and keep their jobs—and were making forward movement thanks to some TV exposure and the new, affordable Pika car.
But a typhoon derailed the entire market, threatening everything. Katherine (Ana Gasteyer) tried every possible rabbit (or, uh, Pika) up her sleeve to reverse the trend…until the news leaked she might be on her way out of Payne. Suddenly, the stock prices started the rise—and she and the team were safe.

Now, in a potential season 3, they have a new opportunity: Go on the offense rather than be playing defense all season.

“What’s so great about the opportunity is that it also allows you to play with bravado, hubris, swings, and misses,” Gasteyer tells Give Me My Remote in the video below. “I mean, you don’t have to look very far to see a head of a major car company who’s now gone ahead to run a different kind of company—social media—and to see how that can maybe play itself out. So, I think what’s great is that it’s that question of how big can she swing and what is she going to swing for?”

And, importantly, will she be allowed to? After the death of his grandfather, Wesley (Jon Barinholtz) now has the most stake in the company. “We have some SUCCESSION-style anxiety there, even though we haven’t dealt with it at all,” Gasteyer previews. “I’m sure that will come to play in season 3, as well. Because he’s the nepo baby that was the heir to the throne, that has always been kind of sidelined, and now for the first time ever, he’s gonna be the majority shareholder of Payne. So he has some authority over Katherine, certainly within his family, and over the future of the business. God help us all.”

Despite the win, professionally, Gasteyer acknowledges Katherine only keeping her job because the general public was glad she might be losing her job is a bit bittersweet.

“I think it’s complicated for her,” she says. “It’s pretty humiliating to know that your stock price rose because you were leaving. And I think she did want her colleagues to have their jobs saved. I think there is a piece of her that cared about that. Not the primary piece, but a piece—a decent enough one. And I think that there’s a win in that.”

“But…the accidental success of the Pika, which really was Katherine’s idea—she may not have believed in it, but it’s a great idea,” she continues. “And I love that scene so much with Dori, where they’re taking a test drive and it’s a disaster; the car’s a piece of shit. But they’re like, this would be everybody’s first car. It’s an emotional connection. Everyone remembers their first car. It’s cool. And I think for the first time, not only does Katherine kind of lock into the emotional relationship to that, but she also starts to understand a little bit about cars and car culture in that moment.”


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