The title of Phoebe Robinson’s new show Everything’s Trash is extremely appropriate for the times in which we’re living. And while it may seem like a deep prophetic knowing, the title was actually taken from her 2018 collection of essays.
“It was my response to how society felt very angry,” Robinson tells ESSENCE. “With the show, we wanted to be like, ‘Yeah everything’s trash but once we acknowledge the things we have to work on, within ourselves and each other, hopefully we can find joy and humor in that. I think right now we need the humor because things are real rough right now.”
The release of Everything’s Trash was three years in the making. Robinson met her showrunner Jonathan Groff, known for his work on black-ish, in 2019 when he shared that he was a fan of her book. From there, Robinson put together a writers’ room with varied perspectives. Now, she’s grateful that the show’s found a home on Freeform, specifically.
“It’s great to be putting out a TV show under our president Tara Duncan, who’s also a Black woman,” Robinson said. “That’s not something I ever would have imagined I’d be able to do. There are not a lot of Black female presidents in television.”
While Robinson hopes Black women are drawn to the show, she believes it’s a show for anyone looking to laugh and feel good. Robinson knows that humor, if done effectively, has the potential to break down walls.
“Once you can make someone laugh, they’re going to listen. Once you can make someone laugh, they can empathize more,” Robinson said.
With Everything’s Trash, Robinson knows people will laugh. But audiences will also find that the show has heart and there are moments that will make you think as well.
But just because the show is multifaceted, Robinson doesn’t want audiences to expect the show to do everything. That’s a mantle placed on the shoulders of Black creators, particularly Black women, far too often.
“ I really do think that this expectation that Black women have to be the fixers of all things is not only unfair but is unrealistic,” Robinson said. “I’m hoping that with this show people don’t expect me to fix anything. I really want people to take on some of the responsibility themselves. No one’s asking anyone to save the day. But I think we have to stop demanding that Black women be all things for everyone, especially when we don’t get the care and the love and the empathy that we so deserve. It’s a bit much.”
In summation, Robinson encourages us all to tune in because it’s a respite for the depressing headlines, political upheaval, and the latest in a string of infectious diseases.
“[Everything’s Trash] is stupid funny,” Robinson said. “The fashion is real cute. I change my hair a lot. I kiss some dudes sometimes and I just hope that you feel good watching one episode and you keep coming back for more because we really need to laugh right now.”
Everything’s Trash is streaming now on Freeform with new episodes each Wednesday at 10:30pm ET. New episodes will be available on Hulu the following day.