Lyric Lewis, Mary Son & Jean Villepique speak season 4
SPOILER WARNING: This article contains some spoilers for AP biography Season 4.
Since AP biography‘s first episode, the relationship between Stef Duncan, Mary Wagner and Michelle Jones is an integral part of the series. This group of close friends have taught together at Whitlock High School for years, and that bond has proven to be a huge part of their continued survival tactics in a really tough job in the best of circumstances. As it turns out, the reason their relationship seems so effortless on screen is because it comes from a very real place.
Speaking to CBR, Lyric Lewis, Mary Sohn and Jean Villepique talked about being friends behind the scenes and how that translates on screen. They also teased what Season 4 has in store for their characters, including new games on the horizon as well as their ongoing efforts to force Jack into getting involved in his new life in Toledo – whether he wants to or not.
CBR: One of the things that impressed me from the very first moment with Stef, Mary and Michelle is that you have really been able to communicate the strong bond that exists between them from the first episode through to the entire series so far. How does this dynamic develop for you in Season 4?
Lyric Lewis: I just feel like they’re just going through the different things they’re going through. Life changes. Stef is having a baby. Things like this. I have a feeling that they just continue the friendship and the love just keeps getting deeper and deeper in a very authentic and real way, both on and off screen. So, I have a feeling this is it. The more things they go through with each other, deal with Jack and her students, and simply life. It just deepens that and is really there for each other.
Maria Son: Yeah, I think Lyric touched it a bit. I think the fact that we keep growing as real people, as actors, as friends. I think it gives them more to draw from. I also think the games are evolving too. So where was it maybe before pizza slap? This year it’s a midday roulette. There are only small games that are constantly evolving.
Dirty Durbs was a disturbing game, by the way.
Jean what about you How do you feel about the development of this connection between them?
Jean Villepique: I’m over it.
Son: Shut up, Jean.
Villepique: No, these ladies are two of my close friends in real life and the last people we saw before COVID. We had to end season 3. Then for a year I didn’t see anyone but my husband and son.
And then to get back to work, the bond got stronger and stronger and more wonderful. There are really special moments this season when we’re in a bar, we’re helping Helen with her love life, but we all have to hang out in a fake bar, which we all haven’t done for a year. So, I’ve really, really fed on that experience for quite a while. It was so wonderful to see these guys. The love we feel for one another has helped us cope with new circumstances.
When I watch the show, I get the feeling that Michelle is constantly holding back a part of herself, that there is always more to her than it seems. Every time she says something I feel like I’m learning something new about the character. Should her friends find out a little more who she is to dig a little deeper, you think?
Villepique: I think so. I mean, there is definitely a Kendall Jackson tattoo on her lower back. There are lots of strange behaviors and secrets. I think it is Mary and Stef’s duty to get to the bottom of this.
Son: Oh, this endless grave. No thank you.
Mary has a certain competitiveness that is kind of lurking. It shows up sometimes. I have a feeling that her friendship with Stef sometimes highlights that edge in her a bit. How do you see the progress in Season 4?
Son: You know, I think it’s funny, because like you said earlier when asked how this friendship develops, I think it shows up even in times when they disagree on something or compete on something. But I think whatever happens is, it shows that I think that especially the three of us raise each other for inclusion. I think even the teasing starts who can roast harder, right? This is really born of love.
Stef is a teacher. Obviously, she loves her job. She obviously has a passion for it. She may not always pretend she loves it, but she definitely loves it. What do you think makes them teach? How does Season 4 cater to these types of motivations more?
Lewis: Well, I think Stef is human at heart. She loves people. Whether it’s an adult or a teenager, she loves socializing. And I think she loves them … She’s very curious about her world, which she’s still preoccupied with people. I feel like [she] likes to be active and I think she enjoys her students and faculty. I honestly think she really loves going to school, you know what I mean? The teachers love to hang around there. So I think we’ll see more of that.
Stef has a very real moment at school as soon as people see him. She didn’t even make it to the hospital in time. She let everything tear [in] the school, at her favorite place, in the faculty lounge. So I guess that’s it. She just loves getting in touch with people and their students. The school is her family. Honestly, these are their people. So, I guess that’s it.
Stef, Mary and Michelle took the lead in getting Jack out of his shell and forcing him to actually deal with the school, the students and, let’s face it, Toledo as a whole. How do you see the progress of your efforts in Season 4?
Lewis: You know what, I think they are doing very well. By the end of season 4, I feel like it is fully integrated into Whitlock and the lives of these women and they will be integrated into his life in a very real way forever. So I’m happy when people see it. He wraps himself up very nicely and is really cute.
Mary, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this too. Precisely because Mary Wagner was obviously very involved in opening his proctological examination to the world.
Son: That is exactly what friendship is. It’s funny because I feel like we’re seeing a slightly softer side of Jack this season and seeing him dive in a bit more.
A bit tangential too, but we had to do a lot of scenes with David Neher playing Dave. And I feel weird when I bully him, Jack is a part of it too. Anyone can bully Dave and this is something of a family pastime.
AP Bio Season 4 is now streamed on Peacock.
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