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Why Grandma From Nora From Queens Is More Important Than You Think

Although it has a somewhat wordy title, "Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens" was one of the best shows of 2020 and a delightful new addition to the comedy scene. Co-created by Awkwafina, aka Nora Lum, and Teresa Hsiao, the underappreciated comedy follows the 20-something Nora (Awkwafina) as she lives with her dad and grandmother in the New York borough of the series' title and attempts to hold down a job and figure out her life. Although we've had to wait longer than we'd have liked for the return of the exceptional Comedy Central series, Season 2 is finally upon us — with new episodes premiering August 18.

But Nora isn't the only character fans have been impatiently waiting to see again. Nora's grandmother, known as Grandma and played by Lori Tan Chinn, quickly became a scene-stealing fan favorite for her unfiltered nature and the actress' expert line delivery. Nora and Grandma's close bond and friendship anchors much of the show, but there is more to Grandma than you might realize, and the character is more important than you think.

Grandma's storylines are based on Lori Tan Chinn's real life

In a new interview with CBR.com, series co-creator Teresa Hsiao discussed the creative freedom of "Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens," noting that the actors are also involved in the creative process. In fact, several of Nora's grandmother's storylines are actually based on reality. "So many of the grandma's storylines are taken from Lori [Tan Chinn's] life," Hsiao revealed, noting that just hearing Chinn talk about her life sometimes leads to the writers shifting things around and using it in the story.

Unfortunately, Hsiao did not elaborate as to which of Grandma's storylines were born from real events and which were not. However, she did divulge that Chinn's influence on her character extends well beyond her storylines. "[Lori] likes to bring in her own costume and her own props," she explained.

"Working with this cast, they're so amazing," Hsiao continued, "We'll let them play with it and go off. They're great at that."

Knowing that Grandma's storylines are often based on Chinn's real-life events certainly adds a whole new layer to "Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens." It somehow elevates the comedy at the heart of the series while managing to add a peculiar sense of realism to it as well. The only way this could possibly get any better is if we could figure out which things are real and which were fabricated for the show. Maybe Hsiao can reveal that next time.

"Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens" Season 2 premieres Wednesday, August 18 at 10/9c on Comedy Central.