Carson Rowland knows that Sweet Magnolias fans love the relationship between Ty and Annie — and believes their “Jim and Pam” dynamic is a big reason why.
“The writers, they love this slow burn. And I think what they’re doing is turning the furnace on so gradually to get people’s excitement up, like they did for the car crash in season 1, where it’s got all of this anticipation,” Rowland, 25, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting season 3 of the Netflix series ahead of the SAG-AFTRA strike. “And I love how the season ends with this subtle hint towards the relationship. And it’s a massive cliffhanger of the season. I think that’ll cause people to want to come back [for] more. Because what happens after that? Are they together? Are they not? We don’t know.”
Ty (Rowland) and Annie (Anneliese Judge) have been lifelong friends, but their relationship has become increasingly complicated since Annie drunkenly confessed her feelings by kissing Ty in season 1. While Ty initially didn’t feel the same — even going on to date Annie’s nemesis CeCe (Harland Drum) — season 2 saw Ty’s own feelings begin to develop. By season 3, Annie has a new boyfriend, Jackson (Sam Ashby), and Ty finds himself on the other side of a secret crush. It’s something Rowland can “relate” to in his own life — and enjoyed portraying on screen.
“I love how Ty is kind of getting a dose of his own medicine from season 1,” he told Us. “He gets a little bit of it season 2 toward the end after he and CeCe break up, but this season he’s fully on what Annie was in season 1 and I think it’s great for him to notice what he did to Annie season 1, too. … I see how I hurt her. That alone will strengthen their future relationship.”
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Ty might be pining in season 3, but Annie is busy hiding a secret romance with Jackson from his parents. While Ty attempts to be a good friend by helping her sneak moments with her boyfriend, he eventually puts her foot down – and Annie realizes that her relationship isn’t worth hurting the people she loves, including Ty.
“Annie is going through something, and she needs a friend, but Ty is really feeling drawn to her and I think on a subconscious level, Annie is being drawn to Ty as well. It’s like this electricity just being pulled together, like magnets almost,” he shared. “And Anneliese and I sat down and discussed a lot of this and how we wanted the dynamic to feel and that’s exactly what we’re going for.”
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The drama culminates in an explosive breakup during the season finale, which finds Annie running into Ty’s arms for comfort. It’s a moment that will inevitably be adored by “TyAnnie” fans — and one Rowland credits Judge and the writers for bringing to life so viscerally.
“That breakup scene was so well written and [Anneliese’s] performance on the day was just amazing,” he gushed, adding that he didn’t even “feel the need to act” because of the “great friendship” the pair have worked on over the years. “Working with her is truly just a blessing and so thankful I’m for her.”
While — spoiler alert — Ty and Annie don’t officially get together as a couple by the end of season 3, the two share a private handhold that hints at something more to come. Rowland told Us that the intimate scene was actually “figured out on the day” while they were filming and not written “in the script.”
“We rehearsed the scene and we were supposed to kind of touch hands just briefly. I did one of those Mr. Darcy Pride and Prejudice things where he extends his hand and [our showrunner] Sheryl [Anderson] was like, ‘Wait, hold her hand and put it behind you.’ And it was, it was just awesome,” he revealed, noting that it was a “really special” day on set.
What’s to come for the characters and the town of Serenity is unknown — the show has yet to be renewed for season 4 — but Rowland is excited about Ty’s future. He’s also open to the series staying true to the narratives of Sherryl Woods’ books by the same name, which follows Ty and Annie’s relationship into adulthood.
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“I would absolutely love to do a time jump like that,” he told Us. “There’s so many amazing aspects of playing a blossoming adult and a teenager. But to play something more grounded and more real would be just awesome. Especially in knowing that [it would] be the first time I’ve played my own age, so that’d be awesome, you know?”
Season 3 of Sweet Magnolias is now streaming on Netflix.
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