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Monday, June 17, 2024

Good Grief deals in the funnier side of loss

OUTtv has already ordered a second season of the Halifax-shot comedy series.

The self-described queer comedy series Good Grief, shot and produced in Halifax, is making waves at home and abroad on Bell Fibe TV1 in Canada and OUTtv both at home and internationally.

It is fundamentally about how we treat each other… And if we can have a laugh along the way while we’re doing that, we’re all better for it. – Amy Trefry

Good Grief is a television series about a bereavement group that is in need of a new place to meet and end up having their support group sessions in a drag bar that is owned by their newest member,” explains writer and director Amy Trefry.

Trefry and co-creator Katerina Bakolias came up with the idea for Good Grief to explore grief and loss in a fresh way, especially as there has been increased openness around the topic in recent years. “I came up with the idea a couple of years ago, and I think it started during a time when there was a significant increase in discussion around loss, death, and grief, especially during the pandemic,” she says.

Having her own experience with support groups, Trefry saw a way to bring together the queer community and those experiencing loss together. “Grief groups, in themselves, are often held in really weird places,” says Trefry. “They’re in church basements, community centers or an abandoned room in a hospital, and the only unifying thing is who the support group is specifically aimed towards.”

Taking that idea of support groups holding meetings in unusual places, Trefry chose a drag bar for this particular support group, with Good Robot’s Mousetrap Lounge standing in for the location. “When Kat [Bakolias] and I first started talking about the show and the idea of bringing these two oppositional groups, senior widows and widowers and a younger queer demographic, together, The Mousetrap was the perfect venue because it is a comedy venue where they also hold drag shows,” she says.

Co-creators Katerina (Kat) Bakolias and Amy Trefry share a moment on the set of Good Grief. Photo by James MacLean.
Co-creators Katerina (Kat) Bakolias and Amy Trefry share a moment on the set of Good Grief. Photo by James MacLean.

A topic often considered off-limits to humour, Trefry acknowledges the real-life presence of humour in difficult times. “There’s a lot of heart to it, too,” she says. “We wanted to give people access to a topic that most people don’t want to talk about.”

“It felt right to make it a comedy,” adds Bakolias. “There is a kind of ridiculousness and joy that comes with finding community, even if it is a difficult time in your life.”

In creating the show, the two creators consciously decided to avoid the traditional seven stages of grief. “We decided to look at how messy it is and how awful and wonderful it can be with all of those complexities of human emotion,” says Trefry. “The conflict between our two main characters shows how differently they each deal with grief.”

“It’s an invitation for audiences to consider that there is no right way to do this, and even if you feel like you’re doing it wrong, it’s probably okay,” says Bakolias.

On the set of the queer comedy series Good Grief. Photo by James MacLean.
On the set of the queer comedy series Good Grief. Photo by James MacLean.

Initially created for Bell’s FibeTV, OutTV also picked up the first season. OutTV has already ordered a second, which is now in post-production. “It’s not an official release date, but we are thinking fall 2024 for season two,” says Bakolias.

While Good Grief may be about how we process grief, Trefry’s most significant takeaway for potential audiences is that it is a show about community. “It speaks to the idea of community at a time when it feels more important than ever,” she says. “It is fundamentally about how we treat each other, the acceptance, tolerance, care, and love that we have for one another, and what gets us through this shared experience called life. And if we can have a laugh along the way, while we’re doing that, we’re all better for it.”

“I think audiences of all ages and demographics can relate to grief and community,” adds Bakolias.

You can find more information, and subscribers can watch Good Grief on Bell Fibe TV1 and OUTtv.

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