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Go Girls' writer's blog: Episode two

Go Girls Episode 2

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

Okay, that difficult second episode - why is it difficult?

Well, apart from the fact we're biting our nails, wondering if the audience (you) will switch on again...

In episode 1 we've set up our premise (you know, the rich, famous, married and, er sports steering wheel bit) and introduced our lovely characters, but episode 2 is the one where we let you all know what a 'normal' episode is going to look like. 

Which means we have to work it out too! 

Sure, there's probably a book somewhere, but to be honest, we make it up as we go and it's pretty much what feels right at the time. 

So, having set our folks on their quest we'd expect to see them pursuing that quest - right?  Well, sort of.

We decided that Amy would be the one most likely to get her teeth into it (that's why I have Kevin's voice over saying she's a bit like a bull terrier, "you could shoot her in the head and she wouldn't let go") whereas for Britta, Cody and Kevin it was just one of many drunken promises over the years.  Cody, in particular, we decided, is embarrassed about her quest and has decided to quietly let it go somewhere to die. 

But not Amy, oh no...

So, we had to come up with a plan for Amy to get rich. 

Which, when you think about it, is bloody hard; 'cos if we knew the answer to that one, we'd be rich too.  

However, one of our storyliners (who used to sell vegetables) told us that the basic formulae for getting rich is (apart from winning lotto or being a Trustafarian) is to take something that everyone needs, buy it for less and sell it for more.  Makes sense, eh?

So we figured, Amy could start selling cars like her dad.  But we like to think Go Girls is rooted in the real New Zealand world, so she can't suddenly have an empire over night.

She starts, like her father did, with a few dungers on the front lawn. 

We wanted to show the audience Amy's blind spot - her father, Larry.  Everyone else, her friends, the audience, us, we all know that Larry is a pisshead and a bullshit artist, but not Amy.  She worships her dad and blames her mother, Alison for ruining her parent's marriage. 

So we needed a story where we showed that Larry was going to be one big obstacle to Amy getting what she wants.  Which is kind of ironic because Larry is the reason Amy wants to get rich and buy back the old house . . .

(Ain't life funny department; Theresa Healey who plays Alison, also played Carmen on Shortland Street - and I wrote the episode where she died after being hit by a truck!)

Anyway, we came up with the 'A' (main) story for the episode which was basically that Amy has to realise she has to find her own way forward. She goes from trying to sell cars, to selling socks (hey, everyone needs socks) because we wanted to give her a stall at the Taka markets.  And so we could have the 'Sox In The City' gag at the end.  But Amy still doesn't realise the truth about her father, because no one has the heart to tell her.

So that was Amy taken care of which leaves the other guys.   We wanted to learn a bit more about their friendship and also push them into fully embracing the quest.

(Okay, I make that sound easy, in fact I wrote quite a few drafts before we sorted out exactly what the difficult second ep was about&)

Britta's story is where we bring in Marco, a guy from her past and use this to show a bit more about Britta's character and how sweet and trusting she is.  To start with, Britta has a huge blind spot for Marco. 

This became the theme for this episode; how girls sometimes can't see when guys are bad for them.  Amy and Cody try and help Britta - by confronting Marco (Cody bops him on the nose) - but Britta doesn't appreciate this at all.  It's like she has amnesia about what Marco is really like.

And poor Kevin is left trying to work out why some guys get away with murder and he's left scratching his balls..

(And actually Marco was originally called Dino but when the lovely Dean O'Gorman was cast, he asked us nicely if we could change it so people wouldn't confuse him with the kind of sleazy character he was playing.  So Britta went from being a Deanoholic to a Marcoholic.) 

Through the story we find out that Britta went to Wanganui with Marco and was very unhappy because Marco was such a root rat and a user.  Cody called Amy who came back from London (where she'd gone for her big OE) and together they rescued her. 

But when Marco makes fun of Cody and her quest, Britta remembers what really happened, putting her back on track and she takes action.  She forces Amy and Cody to reaffirm their quest and their support for each other.  (She also makes Amy ride on the back of her scooter in the shortest dress - Anna ad libbed a line which was: 'have you seen what I'm wearing?'

So, by the end of this episode, our guys are back on track and we know pretty much the style and tone of our series, and I'm thinking, hey, that wasn't so hard after all. (Britta's not the only one with amnesia about painful events.)

Oh, and luckily for us, the audience (you) did tune back in and the ratings were good.  Phew.  

So roll on ep 3, in which - Cody tries to find Mr Right, or even Mr He'll Do For Now and Britta gets her shot at actual fame.

Gavin Strawhan