Julian Doucet was always told that his life should be made into a movie or TV show after he’d tell anyone his story—he’s a gay man who was just 20 years old when he had a daughter. While he and the baby’s mother gave the baby up for adoption, they remained in her life.
“I always felt a little conflicted about it just because it’s not just my story,” Doucet told me recently over Zoom from his home in Montreal. “It also belongs to her so I kind of wanted to wait until she was an adult in some ways. So when she graduated from university, I kind of was like, ‘Maybe I can do that show now.’”
That show is “The Lake,” Amazon Prime Video’s first scripted Canadian original series that premiered in June. Jordan Gavaris (“Orphan Black”) stars in the eight-episode comedy as Justin, a recently single gay man who decides to spend a summer with his 16-year-old daughter Billie (Madison Shamoun) who he gave up for adoption in a cottage in the lakefront community in Canada where his family once owned a home. Justin has to navigate family members (he battles his stepsister, played by Julia Stiles, after learning she inherited the family cottage when his father died) and old friends and neighbors while trying to develop a bond with the daughter he knows very little about.
Justin’s efforts to impress Billie result in some hilarious but very uncomfortable moments, especially when he makes inappropriate remarks about sex and dating.
“He just wants her approval so badly,” explains Doucet, who serves as the comedy’s showrunner. “He overshoots all the time because he’s trying to be cool. It’s a little bit like he’s bringing the energy of Amy Poehler in ‘Mean Girls.’ He’s also not great with boundaries.”
While a second season hasn’t officially been announced, Doucet says he’s “developing it right now.”
Asked to name his future dream guest stars, Doucet lists Sissy Spacek, Patricia Clarkson, Olivia Colman and Goldie Hawn. He also suggests a “Schitt’s Creek” reunion. “We could bring any of the cast of ‘Schitt’s Creek.’ That would be beyond,” Doucet said. “David [Dan Levy] could be a Justin rival. This lake is probably in the same world as the Rosebud Motel. They’re probably just a few towns over from each other.”