When Finding Carter returns for the second half of season 2, there’s a new brother in town. With a refocusing on the teenage world of the show, we’ll be seeing a lot of him, along with Carter, Taylor, Gabe, and just about anyone under the age of 21. (We hear there might even be an unexpected romance between two of those teens.)
We talked with executive producer Emily Whitesell about new brother Ben, and what fans can expect from the television family with more secrets than, well, just about anyone.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First question: Are there any more secret children out there?
EMILY WHITESELL: [Laughs] No, there are no more secret children. I think I can pretty much guarantee there are no more secret children. I think a lot of things that we were trying to work out were questions that had been posed early on and trying to go back and make perfect and real sense of what those relationships had meant and so that’s how we arrived at it. We do love a good cliffhanger too, so.
Then let’s discuss the secret child — Ben. How would you describe him?
He’s had a troubled life where, as far as he knew, no one was ever looking for him. He didn’t know where he came from and he had no idea that anyone was ever looking for him so he’s troubled. He’s that troubled bad boy that I hope we all love. He doesn’t need to be close to people, he doesn’t want to be close to people. He’s a kid whose been in foster homes his whole life and it’s going to take him a while to want anything to do with these people. He’s very edgy and mysterious at first and involved in some not so great things, but in the end, really likable and vulnerable because of what he’s been through.
How is his arrival going to affect dynamics, particularly with David?
We’ve been working really hard to make [David] into this very real and caring parent, which he always showed even when we weren’t quite sure what he was up to. So of course finding this out, he wants to know the kid as well. But more than that, it’s about throwing this guy into the dynamics of our teenage world a little bit and how he’s going to play into that in this incredibly interesting season for Carter, where she really starts living a way more adult life, an adult existence.
How is she living a more adult existence?
She drops out of school, she gets a job in a bar using a fake ID. She starts living in this adult world and it’s more about how Ben comes into the world. She meets this incredibly provocative and might I say sexy older guy [played by Jackson Rathbone] in the bar and becomes involved with him. So Ben also becomes embroiled in this whole drama that’s going on in the bar scene where they live, and they start throwing raves to make money and it just gets into this really fun, very teenage place. We are delving a lot into the fun of being that age this year and the lying and the sneaking around and trying to get away with it and not have your parents involved in your life and trying to live this very adult life. We just really delve into a very intriguing partying world of teens.
So it’s How to Get Away with Being a Teenager?
[Laughs] Exactly! That really is what it’s about.
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What does this sexy older guy at the bar mean for Crash and Carter’s relationship?
Crash goes away. I think Crash has this feeling that Carter is the one who’s responsible for making him a man and giving him this life and that she’s trying to find her own life right now, and I think that part of him feels like he wants to give her the freedom to do that and find her own happiness the way she’s helped him find his. So he’s away for a long time and I think they have this understanding, because Carter’s not a cheater at heart. And then she is working in this bar and Crash is away and they aren’t in touch for a while and this whole other thing happens, but Crash returns! Because they’re in love and I think when she’s in trouble at any point, she reaches out to him and they always when they need each other stay in contact, so at a certain point, just at the right time when she needs him, he shows up. So there’s a return and the whole thing gets very complicated with the new guy and Crash. But [we’re] trying to play it on a very real and grown-up level.
I love that Crash seems to genuinely be a changed man.
Yes! We’re embracing [new Crash]. He really is a new man and what we love about that is that she can be exploring her own world but he is sort of the love of her life rock in a way and we can play that when we want to.
Will we get more to Lori and David’s story?
I think that story takes really interesting turns. It’s not the focus of the season. It’s going to lean more towards how can these people function around each other, but the focus really is the teen world.
Gabe lost his father last season, and from the looks of things, seems to be partying a bit too hard. What can you say about his journey this season?
He really will struggle with the loss of his dad and not know what to do with himself and his friends rally around him. There’s trouble at a certain point because he’s behaving so badly and in such a self-destructive way and Taylor’s so close to him, so it’s an interesting dynamic between Taylor and Max and Gabe, and her trying to help Gabe. I think we feel so much for him because of the loss of his dad even when he’s behaving really badly, we know that’s what it’s all about. He and Ben, the brother, have a few escapades together because he’s in such a bad way. He has a lot to do this season.
How will Elizabeth cope with the Lori/Ben of it all?
We’re going to watch her — in a peripheral way because again the focus is the teen world — deal with everything that’s happened, trying to be okay with the fact that there’s this other kid. And by the way, she and Ben have very interesting dynamics because he’s David’s kid and she’s a good person. It’s not like she’s going to be horrible to David’s kid. She’s not. But she still has to grapple with all of this, so it’s very interesting to watch her grapple. And I think when you see where it all ends up, she has to deal with Lori. She just does. So it’ll be very interesting to watch her get there. It’s not easy.
Finding Carter returns Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on MTV.