Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Boys' first three episodes of Season 2.
Beyond boasting tons of bone-breaking badassery and spot-on performances from its ensemble cast, Amazon's The Boys is also arguably the most relevant and topical live-action superhero project out there right now. The first trio of Season 2 episodes keep that streak going, starting off with an overblown celebrity funeral (complete with a radio-friendly ballad), before moving on to Vought's Nazi history, Stormfront's super-casual racism and The Deep's inclusion into the Church of the Collective, a clear knock-off of another non-religious Church of note. Can I get you a Fresca?
The Church of the Collective showed up when fellow supe Eagle the Archer (Langston Kerman) bailed a hungover Deep out of jail and introduced him to Eagle's mentor Carol (Jessica Hecht), a therapist and Church recruiter. Though things don't necessarily start off very sinister, with Carol and Eagle trying to help The Deep accept his gills (in the most hilariously uncomfortable of ways), you just know something more problematic is on the way.
I asked showrunner Eric Kripke about bringing the Church into the story when CinemaBlend spoke with the series' creator ahead of Season 2's premiere, and here's what he told me.
The Church of the Collective. Yeah, you know, part of it is just, I think, the more we thought about The Deep, the more we realized he's sort of the 'Forrest Gump of bullshit Hollywood.' And so he gets tangled up in #MeToo, and then he gets tangled up in a religion that purports to help him but really just wants to keep him away from therapy and hopefully get a tax exempt status with the government. And so that's why we threw him into that world.
Is there anyone out there who possibly expected Eric Kripke's explanation to include a comparison between Chace Crawford's The Deep and Tom Hanks' Forrest Gump? I guess that answer itself was like a box of chocola... Never mind. We didn't get to hear The Deep talk about any of his mother's aphorisms, but after the Compound V news broke, he did reflect on his childhood and reminisced sadly about his powers forming during a trip to the pet store. Those poor goldfish! Somebody should have offered them a Fresca.
Considering how many times Fresca got name-dropped just in those first three episodes, one might have thought that there would be an incredibly poignant reason behind it, such as the discovery that the Catholic Church has had an ongoing exclusive contract with Mountain Dew. But according to Eric Kripke, the Fresca running gag was born out of the creative team's silliness. In his words:
Then Fresca just came from...honestly, I wish there was a deeper thought than it just became this running joke. We were laughing because we were thinking about like, 'Okay, what does Eagle the Archer serve him to drink? Was it alcohol? No, no, he's in this cult, and they don't drink alcohol. What do they drink?' And I don't know who said it, but someone was like, 'Fresca! They drink Fresca!' And we just started laughing, because for some reason, it seems like the drink of cult members, which I think is going to be their new advertising slogan next year: The Drink of Cult Members. It just seemed like something they drink, and so we just started putting it in more and more. You'll see once you see the whole season, we keep that joke rolling all season long. [Laughs.] That Fresca joke does not stop. It is right up until the very, very end of the show, we had Church of the Collective members drinking Fresca.
I'm not sure what the most sensible explanation for the Fresca joke would have been, but pure randomness surely comes as close as anything else. Of course, if the Church of the Collective's head honcho winds up being nicknamed The Grapefruit, we'll know what that's about. Now, before we wrap up here, you look like someone who could use a Fresca, so why don't I grab one for you?
The first three episodes of The Boys Season 2 are currently available to watch on Amazon Prime Video, with new episodes releasing on Fridays. Be sure to stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more exclusives and other coverage, and head to our Fall 2020 TV premiere schedule to see what other new and returning shows will be popping up soon.