Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s episode, senior features editor Danielle Turchiano talks with Tanya Saracho, executive producer of Starz’s “Vida.”
“Vida” centers around two sisters, Lyn (Melissa Barrera) and Emma (Mishel Prada) who in season 2 embark on the monumental task of rebuilding their mother’s bar in the face of financial constraints, competing developers and the growing anti-gentrification. Only nine days have passed between seasons, and Saracho says the sisters still have to work out exactly how to go about renovating a bar.
She and the other creatives behind the show researched the plot of the second season by formulating an actual business plan that Lyn and Emma would have to carry out in order to make a profit on their endeavor, and using it as a framing device for the season. The result, Saracho says, was that they discovered just how difficult it would be.
However, despite the challenges, Saracho says that Lyn manages to pull it off by bringing in a different, younger, more inclusive clientele.
“Lyn wins at the end, but she has to struggle for that win. We knew we were leading to this moment where her sister saves her from the protestors,” she says.
The protestors Saracho is referring to are unhappy at the new people their bar is bringing to the neighborhood. Saracho was inspired by real life examples of what happens when a new place opens up in a small, local neighborhood.
“A lot of these businesses that invite a new clientele into the neighborhood have been protested,” she says. “That is the part of me telling a story that is happening right now and the tactics they use.”
She also reveals that the show itself has incited protests while shooting in Boyle Heights.
“I have to say I get it. We are big trucks, Hollywood trucks coming into your neighborhood,” she says. “It’s a threat here because displacing and erasure are real.”
Another obstacle the sisters face is their often testy relationship. Many of the writers who sit in the “Vida” room have been through similar issues, however, Saracho says that at the end of the day, siblings are usually there for you “when it matters.”
Later in the episode, critics Daniel D’Addario and Caroline Framke discuss Netflix’s “Tales of the City” and HBO’s “Big Little Lies.”