Phoebe Robinson Hopes "Everything's Trash" Encourages People to "Be Kinder to Themselves"
Phoebe Robinson once dreamed of having her own scripted half-hour comedy series. That dream is now a reality. Based on her 2018 book of the same name, "Everything's Trash" follows the "2 Dope Queens" podcast cohost as a 30-something fictionalized version of herself named Phoebe Hill as she navigates her beautifully messy life. However, when her older brother, Jayden (Jordan Carlos), decides to launch his political career, Phoebe is forced to grow up with some support from her family and friends.
"It feels so exciting," Robinson, 37, tells POPSUGAR of fulfilling her years-long sitcom goal. "I keep pinching myself, because I'm just like, 'It's happening. It's all happening.' I'm so pumped, and this is just the show and the story that I wanted to tell. As someone who used to watch TV all the time as a kid up until now, I'm just happy that I get to have a show that's part of this TV landscape."
"I really feel like if you show the humanity, then you can't deny that we have that."
Robinson's 2018 book is a collection of hilarious essays that tackle a range of topics, from gender and race to dating and finance. When trying to decide which of those pieces they wanted to focus on for the show, Robinson and showrunner Jonathan Groff agreed that the money and Women's March essays from the book were both strong contenders.
"Both of those had a lot of humor but also had a lot of vulnerability, which I think the show has, and that's sort of baked into the DNA," Robinson explains. "So you just sit down and you go, 'OK, what can we take from here?' My time podcasting, my deep love of my brother, trying to figure out my career, having no money, and [building] a world around that, because that feels really reflective of a lot of people, especially [those] who live in New York and are trying to make their dreams come true."
As a New York Times bestselling writer and three-time author, Robinson is no stranger to storytelling, but she admits that the process of writing a show is totally different from writing a book. "Writing a book is a very solo experience, and then writing a TV show is collaborative," she explains. "We had 11, 12 writers in the room, so you have all these experiences and all these people trying to come together to make this special thing. In a writers' room, you kind of know what's funny and what's not."
"You don't have to have all the answers, and you're always going to be figuring out how to be an adult."
She continues, "I just loved the writers' room because some people were married, some people have kids, some people are single, everyone had a different sort of path to getting to the room. And we just made each other laugh all the time. I know that's cheesy to say, but it really was true. My face would hurt some days because I would just be like, 'I can't believe I get to laugh for eight hours a day.' And they're just some of the smartest people that I've ever met."
For Robinson, it was also important to show "different sides of the Black experience" and "to humanize us" through the series. She explains, "We have this narrative of the white hat and the strong Black woman, and it's like, there are other ways to be a Black woman. So I really feel like if you show the humanity, then you can't deny that we have that."
The Freeform series serves as "a love letter" to Robinson's brother, Phil Robinson, as well. Similar to Jayden, Robinson's real-life brother is a state representative in Ohio and married with a family of his own. "The key relationship in the show is the one between Phoebe and her brother Jayden," Robinson says. "We really wanted to have all of that included because that was really important."
With "Everything's Trash" premiering on Freeform on July 13, Robinson hopes viewers "can laugh at themselves the way they laugh at Phoebe, Jayden, Malika [Toccarra Cash], Jessie [Nneka Okafor], and Michael [Moses Storm]" and just "be kinder to themselves." She adds, "You don't have to have all the answers, and you're always going to be figuring out how to be an adult because you're always going to be changing."
A second season has yet to be confirmed, but Robinson is ready should she get the opportunity. "We haven't started talks yet, but I hope that people really respond to the show and really show it tons of love, because I am ready to do a season two," she says. "We have so many more stories that we can tell."