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Go Girls' writer's blog: Episode three

Go Girls Episode 3

Kate McDermott is a writer on Go Girls.

The summer of 2007/2008 was a good one - or so I've been told.  I was at Tairua beach, on the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula, but I didn't see a hell of a lot of the sun or the scenery. My husband, mother, sister, brother and assorted others were wondering why I was spending glorious sunny days locked away in the bedroom of our rented bach, my laptop on my knees. While they were swimming, playing, dancing and performing the family's traditional beer-soaked New Years' Eve version of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody',  I was otherwise engaged.

With episode 3 of Go Girls.  At least I could take comfort in the fact in that in other beachside towns in other parts of the country, my fellow writers Rachel Lang and Gavin Strawhan were similarly occupied - Gavin with episode 2, and Rachel with yet another series of her "other show".

Getting started is often the hardest part.  You stare at a blank page, waiting for inspiration.  For me it came through my ipod -Anika Moa's 'In Swings The Tide' was on high rotate in the bach, and it seemed reasonable that Britta might have chosen the song 'Dreams in my Head' to record for her demo.  Plus there was the fact that the title and opening line of the song ("you may not remember me") were so incredibly apt for a girl who wants to be famous but is sadly stuck in Nobody-Land.

But, this was the episode in which Britta was to get her first big break - she scores an actual agent!  What she doesn't realise is that the agent isn't so much for "real" actors, and that her first job is nowhere near as glamorous as she'd imagined.  Britta turns up on the set of 'The Epic Tales of Zoltar' expecting to see scripts and have lines, only to find that she is just an extra, "basically warm scenery". 

Always optimistic, Britta guesses that "at least we're still part of it, people will still see me" before being handed a pig's head for her role as a Beast-Droid. (Originally I'd scripted it as a grizzly bear's head, and her part as a Bear-Droid, but I guess the wardrobe department didn't have any bear's heads handy that day. Ah well.)

The actor Blair Strang had a cameo role in this episode as another extra who makes friends with Britta, a plumber turned wannabe-actor called Joseph.  Watching the episode on screen, I had to laugh when Blair appeared.  I'd had a drink with him not long after he'd shot Go Girls, where he told me about how he got the part. The Go Girls producer Chris Bailey had phoned him and offered him the role of Joseph, no audition required.

"Sure, I'll do it," said Blair "as long as I don't have to wear anything stupid."   
"Of course not!" was Chris' reply. 
Cut to - Blair wearing some kind of cling-film silver ensemble, and then an animal-head, and finally with a mad scientist's bizarre headgear/eyewear situation going on.  You've gotta love actors with a sense of humour.

Speaking of, there's a lovely scene in this episode where Britta's Mum Fran McMann tries to show Britta that her job as a real estate agent "isn't dry and boring at all" by telling her an anecdote involving an open home and a couple of frisky buyers - and I can legitimately say that the scene is lovely, because I didn't write it.  After we'd spent ages editing and chopping our scripts down to size and after the first couple of episodes had been shot, we realised that we were coming in short of the forty-three minutes which make up an hour long show. And so, Gavin Strawhan quickly wrote a filler scene, which was Fran giving advice to Britta as she loads her car with open home flags and signs.  Filler scenes are great because you get to play around and have some fun with the characters, which Gavin certainly did with this scene. 

I was watching with my mother, who is also a real estate agent (no, Fran is not based on my Mum) and it inspired her to share some of her own stories.  Such as the appointment where she had a number of clients and other agents with her as she knocked on the door of the home to make sure it was vacant.  Thinking it was safe to go in, Mum led the group inside.  As they all started up the stairs, the vendor emerged from the shower - absolutely stark naked. There was a pause while the poor woman took in the dozen pairs of startled eyes, before she turned and fled.  Oops.

As much as I love Britta and the McMann family though, this episode really belongs to Cody, for it is the episode in which Cody gets her end away.  It explores Cody's self-esteem issues - she may be one of the blokes, able to play pool and darts, talk cars and break up bar fights, but when it comes to romance, Cody is terrified.  This is partly to do with the fact that she's been experiencing a bit of a dry spell&it had been quite a few years since she'd even come close to getting a bonk.  Which led us to a story table discussion about who exactly Cody did get it on with last. Some random? Had she ever had a boyfriend, even just for a little while?  We decided no, and then Kevin's name cropped up.  He's been friends with these girls forever - and he's secretly in love with Amy, sure - but has he ever gone there with any of the three girls?

After much debate, we decided that Kev and Cody might have drunkenly attempted to get it on one night, but of course it would end badly, and they would agree never to mention that it ever nearly happened.  And we know from Episode 1 that Britta helpfully relieved Kevin of his virginity back when he was nineteen.  So, that's two out of his three best friends that Kev's been with, even if only briefly.  So will it ever be "and Amy makes three"?  Not telling.

But back to Cody and her date for this episode - Nick, the auto-chondriac.  Of course Nick wasn't going to be "the one", it's never going to be that easy, is it?  So how to make this date disastrous? We had so many options and so much fun trawling through stories from some of my single female friends& like, False Advertising Guy, who was really spunky with his beanie on but not so much when he took it off and revealed that he was the owner of a premature comb-over. Or The Crying Boy - who thought that being over-emotional and tearful was extremely attractive to women. Then there was  Stubble Man - who (it was discovered too late) had for some odd reason shaved his entire body three days earlier. Or at the other end of the scale, the Hairy Beast, who took his shirt off and - well, the name probably says it all.

So, as far as Mister Wrong material went, we had piles of it. But as we were taking a lunch-break one story day, and Gavin was telling us in detail what he was cooking his family for dinner that night, the answer was suddenly obvious, and so very simple.  Nick would be a food-wanker.  Luckily Gavin was a good sport about me stealing his "served on a bed of wet polenta" for one of Nick's monologues. 

Nick might have been a git, but Cody decided to bonk him anyway.  Because this episode for her was all about getting up on that horse. Finding the confidence and the determination to get on with her quest.  And swearing that her man won't be a two or a three out of ten, oh no.  She's not going to just settle.  Sure she's only got nine more months to find him, but he's got to be perfect.  Bugger.  Looks like Cody's quest just got one hell of a lot harder.

And as for some of those dating disaster stories?  We decided to save some of them for later in the series.  Just wait till you see who Britta wakes up with further down the track&

Kate McDermott