Role: Diner guardian, punk rocker, and gunslinger
Who I’d Cast: Lizzy Caplan
Katrina Bailey was born in Carlsbad, New Mexico, to Walter and Shawna “Shelley” Bailey. She was born a full seven years after her brother Mitch because Walt was terrified of having a daughter, and it took Shelley that long to persuade him to have another child.
Katrina soon had her father wrapped around her finger. While her brother was more interested in helping his mother in the kitchen, Katrina enjoyed riding horses, shooting guns, and helping her dad around the farm. (He bought her a BB gun when she was four and her first pony when she was six.)
But when Katrina entered junior high, her interest in the farm started to wane. Mitch had gone away to college, and when her mother took a greater interest in Katrina’s life, things became tense. Katrina didn’t want to shop for girly clothes or talk about boys, and Shelley took Katrina’s lack of interest as a personal affront.
As she grew older, Kat became more withdrawn and introspective. She spent her time watching music videos online, listening to her grandparents’ old vinyl records, and writing songs in her room. She was extremely musical and started begging her dad for guitar lessons when she was just thirteen years old. Walt relented, hoping it would help Katrina broaden her social circle, but her interest in music only seemed to isolate her further.
Katrina had known from a young age that she was different from the other girls, and the older she got, the more pronounced those differences became. They liked pop music; she listened to old hair metal bands. They wore mini skirts and shiny lipgloss; she wore an old army jacket, distressed jeans, and dark lipstick. She didn’t share their interest in boys, and they didn’t get her jokes.
As the years wore on, Katrina began to feel more and more like an outcast. And although she was academically gifted, she frequently ended up in the principal’s office for brawling with the other girls.
By the time she got to high school, Katrina’s only solace was band. She was a percussionist, but she kept up with her private guitar lessons and got a job at the music shop in Loving. Neither of her parents understood her obsession with music, but Walt tried to be supportive.
Katrina no longer cared about guns or helping out around the farm, but she still liked to ride her horse and take long walks around the property with her dad. He was the first person whom Katrina came out to, and he took it much better than she could have expected.
Shelley was instantly supportive of Katrina after her coming-out, but when it came time for Kat to choose a college, their relationship took a sharp downward turn. Shelley was adamant that Katrina should attend a four-year college, but Katrina wanted to travel and pursue a career in music.
After one particularly horrible fight, Katrina ran away from home. She’d been saving nearly every penny she earned at the music store, and she figured she had enough to travel for six months as long as she was willing to couch surf.
Katrina ended up in New York and got a job as a waitress. Ironically, she’d always resisted working at her mother’s diner after school, but she didn’t mind waitressing in Brooklyn. The other staff were cool, and she loved the hustle and bustle of the city. She attended shows whenever she could and rented a tiny apartment with three other girls.
It was in New York that she met two other women with similar musical tastes, and they put together a feminist punk-rock group. Kimmy and Ramona knew two more girls, and soon they had a five-woman band. During that first year, Katrina and Kimmy had a falling out, and Kimmy left the band. Kimmy’s friend left, too, but they brought on a new bass player, and soon they had their act.
The Belligerent Beavers launched their career by playing in dive bars and cafés — any venue that would book them, really — and found that their music was very hit-or-miss. Some people loved their saucy, profanity-infused lyrics, while others found them too vulgar. Still, they started booking better and better gigs and managed to attract quite a few groupies.
Katrina dated on and off, but then one girl caught her eye. She was a petite brunette with sparkling eyes who wore way too many healing crystals. Starlight normally preferred folk music, but there was something about Katrina’s voice that drew her to the band.
Katrina and Starlight got a drink one night after a show (Kombucha tea since Starlight didn’t drink), and Katrina immediately felt herself falling in love. She didn’t know what exactly it was that drew her to Starlight — her laugh, her eyes, her sweet temperament — but for the first time, she could actually see herself staying with one person for the rest of her life.
Starlight would have been content to enter into a relationship, but Kat knew that if she committed to Starlight, that would be it. She’d never want anyone else. Instead of jumping in with both feet, she told Starlight that she needed to focus on her music, and they parted as friends.
After her brief fling with Starlight, Katrina dedicated herself to promoting the band. As it turned out, her old roommate had a cousin with connections in the music business. He helped them record an EP, and their single “I Don’t Wanna Brunch With You” blew up in Germany overnight.
The Beavers were offered a shot at a European tour. Katrina was hoping to get the band signed with a U.S. record label, but at the time the economy had taken a nosedive. The East Coast was being buffeted by storms, and sea levels were rising rapidly. She’d received word from back home that her mother was ill, but she couldn’t visit her mom with a face full of piercings and all her new tattoos — not when they’d barely spoken in years.
The band went to Europe, and Katrina struck up a romance with another girl in Berlin. She stayed there for a few years until the economic collapse back home sent shockwaves through the global markets. The president declared a national state of emergency, and word of riots, famine, and death started to reach Katrina overseas.
When Kat finally returned home, things in the U.S. had gone from bad to worse. New York City was underwater, the Southwest was a dust bowl, and the south had been devastated by storms. Since she couldn’t go back to New York, Katrina decided to stay with Mitch in Boulder, Colorado until she figured out her next move. Her mother’s condition had deteriorated, and although she visited, Katrina couldn’t bring herself to be around her for more than a few days at a time.
While she was staying in Boulder, her mother died. She and Mitch went home to see their father, but Walt was inconsolable.
A few weeks later, Katrina ran into her old flame, Starlight, who was teaching at her nephew’s preschool. They rekindled their romance, and Katrina knew it had lasting power when she took Starlight back to New Mexico to meet her dad. Originally, she’d invited Starlight home to act as a buffer. Things had been tense between she and her father since her mother’s death, and she wasn’t sure how the visit was going to go. But Walt loved Starlight, and Starlight fit right in.
When Mitch was forced to close the restaurant in Boulder and move home permanently, Katrina had nowhere else to go. Her father allowed her to move back home on the condition that she look after her mother’s old diner. Katrina had always hated the place, but she felt as though she owed it to her mom since she hadn’t been there during the last years of her life.