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SYFY WIRE Paper Girls

'Paper Girls' stars, creators break down key moments from Season 1 of the new sci-fi series

Time travel certainly makes things complicated; fortunately we found just the right folks to break it all down.

By Ernie Estrella
Paper Girls PRESS

If you’ve binged through the exciting first season of Paper Girls on Amazon Prime, you're likely dying to talk about the new show based on Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang's hit sci-fi comic book.

Like the comic, the TV series follows a group of four 12-year-old paper delivery girls who are transported from the late 1980s into the year 2019. Wanted by a mysterious organization that abhors time travel, the gang must turns to their older selves for help returning home.

During San Diego Comic-Con, SYFY WIRE had the chance to speak to the cast including Camryn Jones, Riley Lai Nelet, Fina Strazza, Sofia Rosinsky, Nate Corddry, and Adina Porter, as well as executive producers and creators Vaughan and Chiang, and co-showrunner Christopher C. Rogers in order to find out a little more about some of the series' most stand out moments.

Below, we spotlight some of the key moments from the first season, and dig into what the cast and creators had to say about it.

**SPOILER WARNING! There will be spoilers for Paper Girls Season 1 below.**

Weird Science

The brains of the gang, Tiffany Quiklin (Jones), shares a connection with Larry Radakowski (Corddry) in that they’re the only ones who know what’s going on, and want to figure out what dangers lie ahead. He equips Tiffany with his notebook full of scientific data that will provide useful information in understanding the laws of time travel.   

"Tiff is not used to being understood. She’s very intelligent and encyclopedic. People don’t understand that sometimes. So when she meets Larry, it’s a ‘Whoa, someone understands me’ moment," says Jones. "I think that makes them instantly close. There is a twist that happens in the show… but just to have that bond, that she’s not alone is big."

Hold Me Now, Whoa Hold My Heart…

Mac (Rosinsky) ditches the girls to reunite with her brother, Dylan (Cliff Chamberlain), who has become a successful doctor. She learns that her future isn’t so long, but Dylan gives her a shot at a new life. Unfortunately, Prioress (Porter) is on the hunt, and Mac and KJ speed away as Mac holds KJ (Strazza) tight and cries into her back.

"Mac is in the unique position of not necessarily wanting to go back. She has a really rough life at home and the future can’t be any worse than what I’m already dealing with," says Rosinsky. "Throughout the journey Mac encounters someone she once knew, and building on that relationship. Finally she’s found something that she’s comfortable and happy with. Of course something happens, but just for Mac, she’s had it rough and she’s worried that it’ll be like that for the rest of her life. So she’s just trying to cling onto what she has for the moment."

Fear the Reaper

Old Watch soldier Prioress is in one relentless mode until the end of the fourth episode, when she answers to Grand Father (Jason Mantzoukas). It’s the first time we see her fear anything or answer to anyone.

"That was a great scene for me. It was an all-nighter and we shot at like, 3 a.m. in the morning. You know, Prioress is a warrior in the Old Watch and she believes in what she’s doing and she believes that the Old Watch is correct in their judgement, that time travel should not be messed with," says Porter. "So I loved having the challenge of being beholden to somebody else. I always try to bring a 360 humanity to my characters. My mode of operation is to make the crew laugh and the producers cry. Everyone is afraid of something. It makes Prioress more interesting knowing she has someone to answer to and to show fear. Everyone’s got somebody that they’re scared of."

She Doesn’t Go to Business School?

During the Brandman July 4th party, the girls realize that they’ve time traveled to a different year instead of returning to their original timeline. With nowhere to go, KJ remembers that her family leaves every Independence Day. Unfortunately this year, her family is holding a big bash at the house and KJ discovers that her world is not so predetermined; film school is in her future, and she also meets her girlfriend, Lauren (Maren Lord).

"In that scene, KJ’s world is falling apart and yet coming together at the same time. Her whole life she’s felt different and she’s never really known what it was," says Strazza. "She’s grown up in the '80s when growing up queer, or in the LGBTQ community, was not okay. Something that has felt so wrong to her her whole life, suddenly feels so right when it’s unfolding right before her eyes. Internal discovery for her, which I think is a truthful representation of that realization, can be for a lot of people, and it allows her to come into herself and her confidence to grow knowing who she is and learning to be proud of it."

Old Girl Look at My Life…

When Erin (Lai Nelet) comes face to face with older Erin (Ali Wong), she is disappointed in the sad, and pathetic life she’s made for herself. In many confrontations, she wrestles with her older self and what she’s become. Adult Erin eventually gets redemption and sacrifices herself.

"For Erin Tieng’s character, she’s quite naturally forced to grow up quickly knowing she has to take care of her family, help her mom go to the bank. She already has these expectations set for her and when she’s confronted that it isn’t exactly how it’s supposed to go, she feels very disappointed," says Lai Nelet. "I think the cool thing about young Erin and adult Erin is that they’re not the same person. Ali and I had a great time bonding and hope that people love what we did. After interacting with adult Erin, we can see the 12-year-old girl is kind of in her. I truly feel that Erin’s character has had a lot of development over the episodes and goes through all of these emotions, learning to trust herself within as well as those girls around her, knowing that she hasn’t had a lot of those types of interactions."

Don’t Press That!

After Adult Erin downloads the controls of the giant mecha robot, she has to learn how to pilot and use the controls. Adult Erin doesn’t take the task very seriously and Larry snaps at her and grills her on how to be an adult.

Nate Corddry (Larry Radakowski): The stakes need to be set up for the audience, for the girls it’s one thing, and it’s different for the adults. The girls have done it and then the adults need to come in and give the adult perspective of the stakes. If Adult Erin doesn’t figure this out, all is lost, and these little girls are lost. There was a lot was unsaid [pauses] I hope that plays, I hope that comes across. I’m glad that resonated with you because that scene was really fun with Ali. She was so game, and it was fun to shoot.  

The Tampon Scene

After seeing the demise of her older self, Erin has her first period after a time jump. Mac shoplifts a box of tampons and hilarity ensues as the four of them try to figure out how to use them.

"I think that is the best scene in the first season. That is our tone and a scene that only we can do. It demonstrates what we’re able to do that departs from the comic, which Cliff and Brian wrote this for 30 episodes in a great hurry many years ago," says Rogers. "This was a scene that was just suggested in the source material, and just expands that conversation and invites more people to it.

"Starting with co-executive producer Stephany Folsom, our writer’s room -- Fola Goke-Pariola, Lisa Albert, K.C. Perry, Kai Wu, and K. Perkins -- is all women except me and Chris [Cantwell], women in their 20s, women in their 60s, and we have women of every ethnicity represented in the show. We have women of every sexuality represented on the show, then it’s all female directors and of course, the girls themselves, which allow us to have these larger conversations.

"That was a topic that was so unique and specific to everyone who wrote it, filmed it and acted it that it just snowballed as we went," Rogers continues. "The writers had a blast that day and the director was like, ‘Let’s go!’ and the girls were ad-libbing and adding things, maybe from their own experience, maybe not. I just think that’s the best of what this collaborative medium can do to get a very hilarious moment."

Paper Girls Season 1 is now streaming on Amazon Prime.