'The Fosters' EP on the Aftermath of That Kiss and Rosie O'Donnell's Return

·New York Bureau Chief, Yahoo Entertainment

The Fosters didn’t mean to create a TV milestone when two of its characters kissed last week… it just did.

To recap: After much buildup and back and forth — and even an off-screen instance discussed but not shown — 13-year-old boys Jude and Connor kissed, marking the youngest gay kiss in television history. Still, co-creator and executive producer of the hit ABC Family show Bradley Bredeweg didn’t expect the massive reaction that followed. “We didn’t plan for it,” he tells Yahoo TV. “We’ve been building this relationship almost since the series began, so it felt like a natural progression and that’s why we told the story. Then, when we got to the office the next day, it seemed to really blow up. We were surprised.”

While there was undoubtedly a slew of angry, hateful tweets — unfortunately, that’s nothing new for a show revolving around an interracial lesbian couple and their five biological, adopted, and foster children — the overall reaction has been positive. “The fact that people have really taken to Jude and Connor — or #Jonner, as they’re known — is really a great surprise,” Bredeweg says, and went on to talk about what’s coming next for the couple this week, as well as the futures of some of the other fan-favorite characters.

Now that they’ve had this kiss, but Connor also has a girlfriend, where does Jonner go from here?
We’ll continue to tell Jonner’s story for sure… we do have a big cliffhanger regarding Jude and Connor on Monday, so I want everyone to tune in and be as surprised as we want them to be.


Jude (Hayden Byerly) and Connor (Gavin MacIntosh)

We’ve already seen Connor’s dad’s violent concerns that Jude is gay. How are the people around them going to react if they find out?
Jude has an incredible support system around him, clearly. Connor, on the other hand, comes from a family that might not quite understand what’s happening at this moment in time. To me, that would be the challenge on the Connor side: Will he have as much support as Jude would have if they decide to come out?

Speaking of support, how did you approach this with your young actors, Hayden Byerly, 14, and Gavin MacIntosh, 15?
We sat down with both Hayden and Gavin from the very beginning and talked about our plans for Jude and Connor, and we also brought their parents into the conversation, so we’ve always had this open dialogue about where we’re going. Typically, we don’t really do that, but because these boys were a little bit younger when we started the show, we just thought it was a good idea. They both do have an incredible support system around them, both here on the show and within their families. We’ve just kept it open and honest, and we’ve always said to them that they can come to us with questions.

The day we shot that scene I’ll never forget. The two of them came to set and they were super-excited and very professional. Kissing scenes, no matter what, are always a little bit awkward, so we just treated it like any other kissing scene.


The Fosters kids: Brandon (David Lambert), Jude (Hayden Byerly), Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), Jesus (Jake T. Austin), and Callie (Maia Mitchell)

Callie has a big decision ahead of her. Will we see a conclusion to the question of whether she’ll stay with the Fosters or move in with her father, Robert, by the end of the season?
All will be answered by the end of the season in terms of where she feels like she belongs.

Will we see more of her half-sister, Sophia?
You will see Sophia before the end of the season, yes.

So much of this season has seen Callie focusing on her family life, with boys on the backburner. Will she get a little more romance in Season 3?
There might be a little romance for Callie in Season 3. But it’s not going to be all about romance. Teenagers always have romance in their lives and that’s something that we always talk about. At 16 years old, you’re always looking for a little romance, but it’s not everything that Callie’s about, obviously. It will be a part of her life, but it won’t overwhelm her journey this next season.


Carmen (Alicia Sixtos), Rita (Rosie O’Donnell), Callie (Maia Mitchell), and Daphne (Daffany McGaray Clark)

Have we seen the last of Daphne’s kidnapping drama?
There are repercussions for sure. We’ll continue to follow Daphne. Daphne is a favorite of ours, both the actress and the character.

What about the rest of the Girls United girls and their leader, Rosie O’Donnell?
They’re so fantastic. Rosie, too. We love Rosie on the show and she’s going to be back for Season 3. We’re really excited about that, too.

The Fosters airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.