Lauren Ash on Marika’s “Super Fun Night” coming out journey

From the pilot episode of Super Fun Night, it was clear that the character of Marika was a tomboy that had never had a boyfriend, and it might mean she was interested in finding Ms. Right — she just didn’t know it yet. It took 13 episodes before Marika was asked out on a date by a male friend, Ruby, only to find out he thought she was gay and would make a great wingwoman.

On that episode, Marika met Frankie G (Hana Mae Lee) and formed a friendship that made Marika start to question her sexuality. On tonight’s episode, “Lesbihonest,” Frankie G invites Marika to a Valentine’s Day party at a women’s bar, but she isn’t so sure about going so she first heads to Kendall’s (Kate Jenkinson) for a single ladies’ night.

LAUREN ASH, KATE JENKINSON

Lauren Ash plays Marika, the tennis instructor with a heart of gold, and talked with us about the trajectory of her character and what we can expect from the last few episodes of Season One.

AfterEllen.com: I’m happy to see that Marika is getting a bit of romance! What can you say about Marika and Frankie G, who she met at the art gallery on a recent episode?

Lauren Ash: Marika did meet Frankie G at the art show and obviously was intrigued about a potential friendship there. [laughs] We will see Frankie G in this next episode, for sure. We’ve seen Marika on this journey and up until this point, she’s not necessarily been aware of herself or willing to really fully look at herself in terms of where she is in her own journey. And the good thing about Frankie is she’s going to make Marika take a look at that. So we’ll see how she reacts and how she handles it. She’s going to have to take a hard look at who she is and who she is becoming, who she is deep down.

ABC's "Super Fun Night" - Season One

AE: When Marika thought she was being asked on a date by a male friend, do you think she was excited about it being the prospect of a date vs. the fact it was a guy?

LA: You know, I always kind of approached Marika as an innocent, a little bit. We have to remember these girls are 10 years out of high school and Kimmie has just lost her virginity within the last two episodes, Helen-Alice, it takes her something like 14 episodes before she kissed Benji. Like they’re all so sheltered and so innocent and I think Marika, she was pumped that somebody wanted to ask her on a date. Up until now all she’s known about relationships are the stuff her friends talk about by themselves in their apartment on Friday night. So I don’t think that she was necessarily looking at it from a place of “Oh, is this romance? What does this mean?” I think it was more like, “Boys asked them out on dates. A boy asked me out on a date. Oh boy! How exciting.” It’s not until she takes a hard look at how it makes her feel and she realizes it could potentially be something else.

ABC's "Super Fun Night" - Season One

AE: What has been the most fun part of playing Marika?

LA: I love that she’s like a puppy dog. She’s just ready to go. When her friends want to do something, she’s like “When, now? Let’s do it.” She’s always on board. She’s always enthusiastic. She comes from a place of love. I really think Marika operates from a place of love, which sounds kind of cheesy but she doesn’t really have a conniving side. She’s really just somebody that loves people and loves her friends and I think that’s refreshing to see on television and it’s definitely refreshing to play. It’s nice to play a female character who loves the other female characters on the show unconditionally. Even Kendall! Her interchanges with Kendall — she’s totally on board with having this new friend. When Kendall shows up in a downward spiral a few episodes ago, Marika’s like, “Yes, get in here! Let’s do it!”

AE: What’s the fan response been like?

LA: People in general are just so positive about Marika. I get so much love on the internet all the time, I can’t even stand it, it’s so amazing. People love to say Marika has the best lines or jokes, and the innocence comes through too. And the audience will pick up on the jokes, the things she says about women, things Marika says in the moment and doesn’t necessarily see the other side. But it’s funny to audience members because it’s layered. So I think people are really invested in her and seeing where her storyline goes. I’m really excited for audiences to see the next two episodes.

Bulova/Manchester United Trophy Tour Red Carpet Event

AE: Was there ever a conversation after the pilot about how Marika would eventually explore her sexuality?

LA: I don’t know if we ever really fully sat down and had a conversation together. I kind of entered playing this character having played this character at Second City. I developed a character like Marika. … I kind of always approached it that she was going on a journey to figure out her sexuality and just needed more time than some other people, so that was always kind of in the back of my mind and I think it was always in the back of the minds of the showrunner and the writers. It was always there. … It was also important to everybody that we were honoring the character and her journey and her innocence without rushing things. Because I think the reality is, a lot of people find out who they are in high school or college. These girls just didn’t. They had a stunted adolescence almost. So I think it’d be more realistic to honor that with a slower journey and a slower realization for herself. And I think that that’s real and I think that’s something lot’s of people go through and it’s relatable. … It’s been really a delight to play. And this episode, I just can’t wait for people to see and there’s just so many great moments for the Marika storyline and it just warms my heart.

Here’s a clip from tonight’s episode, in which Marika kisses someone you might least suspect.

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