*Saying ABC Family’s drama “The Fosters” has something for everybody is an understatement.
The show follows a multi-racial family with a mix of biological and foster kids who have two moms – white police officer Stef (Teri Polo) and African American school vice principal Lena (Sherri Saum).
Stef and Lena start out with three kids – Stef’s biological son Brandon from a previous marriage, and their Hispanic adopted twins, Mariana and Jesus. Eventually, they take in troubled white teen Callie, who has spent her life in and out of foster homes, as well as her brother Jude.
Polo says the show’s diversity has been championed by a number of groups represented in the story, including the LGBT community and those who have grown up in foster care.
“I have people stop me in the grocery store and tell me that they were involved in the foster system and how grateful they are,” Polo told TCA critics. “I’ve had different members of the LGBT community come up and tell me how grateful they are that we are on the air, and thank you so very much. And it’s just it’s an absolute honor. That’s the reaction and the feeling that I get from being stopped. It’s just an absolute honor to be a part of this show.”
“The Fosters,” however, caught hate from at least one homophobic corner of society. One Million Moms, the group that famously boycotted JCPenny for hiring Ellen DeGeneres as a spokeswoman, started speaking out against the show’s two mothers before the first episode even aired. Saum thought the attention would at least give the show free publicity.
“I was kind of thinking, ‘Well, this is going to be a great controversial thing,’” she said. “And then I looked them up on Twitter, I think it was, the One Million Moms, and I think they had 47 followers.”
As “Fosters” prepares to air its winter finale on Monday, Saum – herself the daughter of an African American father and German mother – said she continues to find fans of the show in the unlikeliest of places.
“There’s a nun at my mom’s church who is 86 years old, in Dayton, Ohio, who is always talking to my mom about the show,” said Saum. “She’s so excited for the next episode, and she just hunkers down in her little…where do they stay, the nuns?”
“And to the little kids,” Saum continued. “It’s amazing to see the generations that it spans [and] that it affects. It’s really moving.”
Jennifer Lopez executive produces the series under her Nuyorican Productions banner. Fellow EP Peter Paige told us how hands-on she is behind the scenes and if we’ll ever see her jump onscreen in upcoming episodes.
The winter finale airs March 24 at 9 p.m., then returns with new episodes on June 16.
Watch the finale promo below.