‘The Fosters’ Summer Finale: Sherri Saum On Jude’s Sexuality And What Defines A Family

by | August 18, 2014 at 8:54 AM | LGBT, The Fosters

Sherri Saum as Lena Foster on 'The Fosters' (ABC Family)

The summer finale is here for ABC Family’s hit drama “The Fosters” and one huge bonus is that Sherri Saum is back now that Lena has taken some time to recover from the loss of her baby a few episodes back. (In reality, Saum took a short break while she gave birth to twin boys in real life with husband Kamar de los Reyes.)

The writers, led by co-creators Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg, don’t waste any time getting Lena back in the mix as she has changes happening at the school where she was passed over for the job of principal. Also, the relationship between Jude (Hayden Bierly) and his friend Connor is stirring things up again as is Mariana’s (Cierra Ramirez) reaction to seeing her birth mother again.

I grabbed some time on the phone last week with the always cheery Saum to find out what we can expect to see in  tonight’s finale as well as how her own life is going with the addition of her twins.

With everything Lena has gone through lately, do you think we’re going to see her approaching things differently?

Sherri Saum: I have a feeling that that would be the case. She’s definitely still mourning the loss that she had but probably also more than ever grateful for what she does have and just kind of realizing the brevity of life and just how you have to make the most of it. So you can’t live your life in mourning.

Speaking of that loss, I loved that we got to see Steph’s side of that a little bit when she’s fixing the sink and just kind of breaks down about the baby.

SS: Yeah, absolutely, from the beginning, she wasn’t very gung-ho about this idea of having a baby and so she always kind of held it at bay but I think in that episode she saw that the loss was profound for her, too, even though she came so late to the idea of having a baby with Lena. She felt it really profoundly and it was nice that she got have that moment to acknowledge that and to mourn. We needed that together.

Teri Polo as Stef and Saum as Lena in 'The Fosters' (ABC Family)

Talk to me about Lena’s workplace. What will it be like now that she’s getting back to work?

SS: She goes back to work but there are some personnel changes but you also know she loves being around kids. She loves being an educator and an administrator. So that’s where she belongs. So you know whatever obstacles she’s going to have to overcome with the new regime, she will overcome them. We hope.

The show’s approach to Jude’s sexuality is so great and it comes up in this episode. What can you say about that journey for him and how we see it from a parent’s perspective?

SS: I think that we’ve finally given Jude a safe place to be whatever he wants to be in the time that it takes for him to realize what that might be and so he doesn’t feel ashamed, he doesn’t feel rushed [and] he doesn’t feel like he needs to have a decision about his sexuality one way or the other. He doesn’t have to explain anything to anybody.

That’s a freedom that he’s never had before, so he’s just kind of exploring that freedom right now and who knows which way they’re going to go. Who knows which way the writers want to take that but I think it’s kind of nice not to have an answer on that because this is life. We don’t have those answers for years. We take a long time just to find ourselves and that’s what Jude’s experiencing right now, which I think is kind of lovely, and how it unfolds, is how it’s going to unfold.

There’s also a really great scene in this episode with Lena and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) because she’s seeing her mother again and this doesn’t go well. It’s a great reminder of what the show says about family.

SS: Yeah, it’s a theme that we revisited a few times just mainly with me and Mariana. But Lena has finally come to an understanding that blood does not make a family, even though she’s preached that forever. She really profoundly knows that because of her loss and knowing that she still has a family even though they aren’t blood and they’re as strong as any other family and now she can really speak from experience and really drive that home to Mariana that it’s not about blood but it’s having to do with love.

[The sound of Saum’s twin babies can be heard in the background of our phone call.]

Let’s talk about your family, who I hear in the background a little bit. How’s it going?

SS: It’s a bit of a circus, a beautiful circus. We have help and that’s the amazing but it’s a lot. We’re just trying to find our rhythm every day, but no matter how hard it gets in the day or how frustrating things can be, it’s just seeing their faces first thing in the morning. It’s just the most…I can’t even explain it. It’s just everything. But one way or another we’ll find our rhythm and make it work but it’s a juggle. It’s a juggling act every day.

Has the show prepared you at all for being a parent and what you’re going through in real life now?

SS: Absolutely. I won’t need some of the lessons for a while but it prepared me for how to approach certain conversations and how to not traumatize them. This show has had so many crazy issues, so many intense, dramatic, adventures and the writers have already written the answers for me, so I can borrow from them.

“The Fosters” summer finale airs Monday at 9pm on ABC Family. 

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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