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Go Girls' writer's blog: Episode four

Go Girls Episode 4. 

Gavin Strawhan is the co-creator and executive producer of Go Girls.

My god, ep 4 already, it's all going too fast!

I have to be honest here, I'm always pretty hard on my own writing; it's usually a year or two before I can look back and not be annoyed at myself. (As well as the Producer (for not insisting I do another draft), the Script Editor (for not rewriting my terrible lines) the Director, the actors, the costume, the makeup& basically everyone involved.) 

And to make it even more stressful, episode 4 was the first we shot and cut together to show to the network.  (This is quite common; it helps everyone work out how to make the show, the actors to connect with their characters etc before they go on to tackle the very important episode 1.)

But the first cut I saw of episode 4, I didn't hate.  In fact, I even . . . liked it.  I loved my actors; I thought they had done such a neat job of bringing these characters to life and making them their own.  

And the very clever tape editor started playing around with transitions (the way we go from scene to scene) and some subtle visual fx and put down some temp music tracks and I thought (secretly 'cos I didn't want to jinx it) that this show was actually going to work! 

But back to the writing of episode 4; the episode where Britta gets a crack at being famous and Cody meets true love. 

We wanted to give Britta the 'A' story for this episode and explore another way that people can get famous in NZ - through reality television.  And seeing as Britta is a fairy we thought, why not send her to party where one of the parents of the birthday kid turns out to be connected to a reality tv company?  But this would be too coincidental not to mention easy.  We wanted Britta to be more active in her quest.  So then we thought, what if it's a matter of crossed wires&

So Britta applies to be on a reality show called Mother V Daughter (where Mother's and Daughters swap lives for a week.  Not a bad idea, eh?  I think I came up with this because it would also be a way of involving Fran and Jan in the story) and she is very excited when she gets a call. 

She turns up at SmashKiwiTv expecting to be auditioning but instead finds out she's been booked as a fairy.  The woman who runs the company, Antonia Li (played by the gorgeous Lynette Forday who used to be Grace Kwan on Shortland Street), is a very successful business woman with a formidable reputation but she has another life; as a single parent.   

Britta, being Britta, remains optimistic. She goes to the party and is delighted to find that the birthday girl is really a birthday boy who loves fairies.  She and Gabe bond and so, when Antonia is called away on sudden business, Britta is happy to child mind.   She also comes to think that Antonia isn't the hard nosed bitch people say she is.

Along the way Amy gets involved.  Antonia is her role model of the successful woman and Amy manages to score a job as a junior assistant.  She hopes Antonia will mentor her into becoming rich and successful.

(There were concerns that we based Antonia Li on a real live reality show producer, but of course, this is fiction.)

Anyway, so far so good; until Gabe's dad turns up and gives Britta a completely different view of Antonia and how he's denied access to his own son.   Poor Britta doesn't know whom to believe, so she lets him pick Gabe up after school one day.   Only to discover that Gabe's been taken for a paternity test!   Antonia is justifiably furious and fires Britta. 

 (This story was, in part, inspired by an interview I heard where a father had been paying child support on four kids.  He had them tested for paternity and discovered that none of them where actually his.  But because he had taken the test illegally, he had to go on paying support. Ouch.)

Even worse for Britta's quest: she doesn't get the gig on Mother V Daughter.  Amy goes into the bat for her, but Antonia insists that it wasn't personal, it's just that Britta and Fran weren't dysfunctional enough to make good reality television.   When she shows Amy the audition, Amy has to agree.  So Amy, being a good friend, decides it's better to let Britta go on thinking Antonia was too pissed off.  So we leave Britta, down for a moment, but definitely not out.

Cody's story is more straightforward but kind of sweet.  

We wanted her to meet a nice guy, not a pin up, but someone she really connected with.  Someone she could fall in love with.  And we thought, why not a teacher?

We were talking about the fact that she was really a child herself when she had Possum and that her Mum did most of the child-raising stuff. So how would Cody react to finding out there was something like bullying going on?  We figured that Cody was probably on the receiving end of a bit of bullying herself in her time.  So, being a forthright sort of chick, we had her march down and confront the bullies in a very UnPC kind of way.  (She er, threatened to& "snap their skinny little arms like twigs".) 

But she gets caught by Possum's teacher, Mr Maddox, and (in one of my favourite scenes) gets told off and reacts like she's a little kid in trouble.  The Director emphasised this by having Cody sit on one of those little school chairs.

Mr Maddox (his first name is Ben, but we keep a running gag going where Cody keeps calling him Mr Maddox) has an old Triumph and, on learning that Cody works at a garage, brings it in for Kevin to work his magic.  Much fun is had at the expense of the mechanically unreliable '72 Triumph.  The more Cody sees of Mr Maddox, the more she likes him; to the point where she builds up the courage to ask him out. Which is when she discovers he is married. 

Well, it was never going to be that easy, was it?

But sometimes you can't help being married to the wrong people and even though Cody tries her best to put him out of her mind, she and Mr Maddox are destined to keep running across each other&

Yeah, nah.  Roll on episode 5, where Amy finds that Brad has been giving her mother very suspect advice and Cody gets some upsetting news about Gwen.   

Gavin Strawhan