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Apple TV+ 'The Big Door Prize' Season 2 comes back wackier and more intriguing, with 'Succession' star Justine Lupe

"In lots of ways Dusty is just the middle-aged man falling for the new trick," Chris O'Dowd said

Canadian showrunner David West Read has taken the Apple TV+ show The Big Door Prize into more comedic, but also more cryptic, territory for Season 2, starring Chris O'Dowd, Gabrielle Dennis, Ally Maki, Mary Holland, Josh Segarra, Sammy Fourlas and Djouliet Amara. With new addition to the cast, Justine Lupe, it's an even more fun and intriguing ride than the first season.

"In the first season we're just getting to know these people, ... it's individual characters being focused on in individual episodes, and in Season 2 it's much more of an ensemble show," Read told Yahoo Canada. "We, as a group of writers, knew who we were writing for, and we had seen them together and seen which combinations felt really fun to us."

Watch The Big Door Prize on Apple TV+ with 7 days free, then $12.99/month

$13 at Apple TV+

In Season 2 of The Big Door Prize, we've entered the "next stage" of the Morpho machine, this time giving the Deerfield residents short "visions" of their life, that look like clips from '90s video games. What makes things particularly complex is that these visions are very much up for interpretation.

Chris O’Dowd and Gabrielle Dennis in
Chris O’Dowd and Gabrielle Dennis in "The Big Door Prize," now streaming on Apple TV+.

For Dusty (O'Dowd) and Cass (Dennis), the couple feel they need to take some time apart for "‘self-ploration," which you will likely guess comes with its own set of challenges.

"As a mom and as a wife, it was time for her to find out the Cass part of her identity," Dennis said.

"The marriage is slowly collapsing like a flan in a cupboard," O'Dowd said in a separate interview.

"His whole personality is based around the solidity of that family and his place in the school and his place in the town. ... He definitely starts to kind of go off the rails a little bit and his former critic kind of falls for the Morpho, and is now guiding people towards it. So it's a fun trajectory for him to go on."

Dusty, in particular, is someone who really gets obsessive about the Morpho machine, that includes trying to navigate a new relationship with Justine Lupe's character.

"It's such a part of our modern discourse isn't, getting stuck down this wormhole of misinformation," O'Dowd said. "And in lots of ways Dusty is just the middle-aged man falling for the new trick."

Mary Holland and Josh Segarra in
Mary Holland and Josh Segarra in "The Big Door Prize," now streaming on Apple TV+.

From the beginning to the end of the season, some of our favourite moments are between Giorgio (Segarra) and Nat (Holland), jumping right into a romance together, including matching tracksuits.

"When I read what they were giving us to do, I was cackling by myself in my house," Segarra said. "Mary Holland breaks me all the time on set, she makes me laugh really hard, so I'd like to think that our dynamic on screen is just a real relationship turned up to 12."

Read stressed that it's particularly fun to write for these two characters.

"[Josh Segarra and Mary Holland] are not only two of the funniest people I know, but two of the sweetest and kindest people I know," Read said. "So it just felt like a match made in heaven."

"We kind of treated that relationship like a relationship back in reverse, where they start off ... already as deeply in love as you could be, having just decided that they love each other. And then over time they start to realize that it wasn't just the thing they rushed into for no reason, they might actually be the best people for each other."

Mary Holland, Gabrielle Dennis and Ally Maki in
Mary Holland, Gabrielle Dennis and Ally Maki in "The Big Door Prize," now streaming on Apple TV+.

But while Nat is in a relationship, seeing the women characters bond in Season 2 is also a joy, including a particularly fun episode where Nat, Cass and Hana (Ally Maki) go to a casino, and Nat and Cass decide to role play as different people for their night out.

Maki said it was fun to put Hana in "awkward" and "uncomfortable" situations, as she's trying to really make friends.

"I remember when we did the slo-mo shot out of the car [at the casino], that's one of my favourite shots, because these girls look so stunning and gorgeous, ... and then I get out of the car and I'm just in the same outfit," Maki said. "And then they're doing these different characters and I'm like, 'I'm Hana. I'm a bartender. I don't know what else to be.'"

"We had so much fun that day and I think going into the set, it just really brought everything to life, because there's just real roulette tables and blackjack."

Watch The Big Door Prize on Apple TV+ with 7 days free, then $12.99/month

$13 at Apple TV+

With Season 2 of The Big Door Prize giving us more insight into Cass and Nat's friendship, Dennis added that that working with Holland is a "treat."

"We see even more and get a little more backstory of their girliness and how they met, and just some of their silly times," she said. "I love to be able to improv with her. We're making up dance moves and she's picking them up as I go along."

"It's just all about that sisterhood, I think, which is really beautiful to see, always, on screen. To see women supporting each other and loving each other, and being there for each other through all the good and the bad. And even when we see that moment in the casino, even though it's this great, fun, out of the box, out of character for a moment for us, it's still like, ... we need to be there to support a friend."

Ally Maki, Sammy Fourlas and Gabrielle Dennis in
Ally Maki, Sammy Fourlas and Gabrielle Dennis in "The Big Door Prize," now streaming on Apple TV+.

But with all the wacky ideas in The Big Door Prize, what really shines is the show's ability to integrate that with more thought-provoking moments.

"That tone shift is tricky," O'Dowd said.

"Because sincerity can be a tough nut to crack sometimes and when you put comedy on top of it, it becomes even more so. And then when you raise the stakes so high that there's a magic machine, it becomes almost impossible to achieve authenticity through sincerity. ... I think that they've done a great job."

Dennis also highlighted that Read, in particular, is an extremely effective as a showrunner, really making time to collaborate with the cast.

"I'm an actor who asks tons of questions and he will find the time in his super busy schedule to actually answer them, and with passion," Dennis stressed.

"I try to sit down with everyone individually and say, 'This is your arc, this is where we're taking you,' without giving them all the information because it's sometimes helpful to not know, as an actor, something that your character doesn't yet know," Read added in a separate interview.

"But I love collaborating with our cast and I'm so open, just my own style is to change things as we have those conversations, to help them add to what's already there and make it even better."

The Big Door Prize premieres April 24, with the first three episodes, followed by new episodes every Wednesday.