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Writer's blog: season 2, episode 10


By Gavin Strawhan

Okay, now I'm a bloke (in fact, when it comes to the storylining and writing of Go Girls, I'm the only bloke) so what I know about the agony of childbirth is mostly restricted to watching the mothers of my children scream and yell and carry on, not sparing a moment's thought for how I might be feeling or how tired my feet might be from all that standing around...

But anyway, sometimes people talk of the act of creativity as one of giving birth to something.  If that's the case, then Episode 10 was definitely a bit breach; it wriggled out legs first or something and caused all sorts of emotional haemorrhaging.  But now I look at it and go, ahhhh, so what if it nearly killed its mother or made me stay up all night in a goddamn hospital pretending to be a sensitive reconstructed male? It was worth it.

(Or at least I think so.  But then, I guess we have to love our children, no matter how ugly or stupid.)

So, what was the problem? Well, as is so often the case, it began with conception. We had built up to the lovely ep 9 where our boys cut loose, and then, well, we weren't exactly sure where to go from there. What did our characters want now? Where should we take them? We knew where we were going but a lot of the ideas we had - to keep flogging my metaphore - were missing the egg.

We thought it was time for our new girl, Olivia, to get a big story of her own.  I think in our original planning we had thought of bringing in a past boyfriend from overseas for Olivia, someone she'd also run away from (possibly explaining her move from London to New York) but we'd had Hans whisk off Amy in ep 5 and we also really liked Nathan and wanted to make more use of him.  So, we conceived (boom boom) of a rematch.  And then, being parents with a slightly twisted outlook, we thought it would be interesting if he (the blind guy) took advantage of her guilt.  In our Go Girls way, it wasn't a case of goodies and baddies; I think Nathan genuinely likes her and is considering a more serious involvement, but when he realises that she doesn't feel the same way, he decides revenge bonking is the next best thing. 

We decided, in that NZ North Shore way, that we would interweave our other stories and not have Olivia off in her own in a story ghetto, so we came up with the idea of Kevin being worried about the closing of the Banh Canh, his favourite Vietnamese Takeaway place (I believe Rachel Lang came up with the name) at the same time as Brad is worried that Britta is being used by the Player.  This was the first in a series of quests we decided to put Brad through in his attempt to win Britta, whom he has come to believe is his true love. 

Back to difficult pregnancies - we did go off on a few tangents (I think at one stage the gothic psychodrama 'Rebecca' was invoked and we were going to give Joseph the mother-in-law from hell) but we realised this would mean Brad was being a story hog and there wouldn't be room to do Olivia's story properly, so we went back the very important writing principle of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid.)

Ah, so eventually we had a storyline. Then our firm but fair Network Executive wasn't entirely convinced we shouldn't be considering a termination so we took her out for a few drinks (remarkable how useful a nice Pinot Gris is for problem solving) and it was time to go to script...

Now, Kate, Rachel and I write all the Go Girl scripts between us and then edit each other's work.  The reason is because we love the show and also because it pays quite well.  But (I think I mentioned this in a blog last year) every season we try and give other writers a go.  Now these are perfectly fine, talented writers. But so far, for some reason, none of them have quite cracked it.  Go Girls scripts are deceptively difficult to write - being mostly character driven and not based on the high levels of conflict the writing gurus say you must use. 

So it was with Episode 10.  The writer wrote some lovely sharp, funny lines.  But it didn't work, so we had to put it aside and start again.  With Kate head down, Show Running series 2 and Rachel busy on That Other Show That Can't Be Mentioned Because It's On Another Network, it fell to me to write the script. 

(Btw this enabled me to write my fave line - personally, I mean, obviously Rachel and Kate write lines I'm jealous of, all the time - which is when Brad tells Kevin that The Player is an Actor, "he lies for a living" tee hee.)

Then we got to production and, well, I won't say that the mother drank and smoked all her way through the pregnancy, but poor Ep 10 was still not having the easiest run. 

Most of the episodes are shot in blocks of two eps - which means every director has two episodes to shoot - and it's inevitable that they tend to pay more attention to one than the other.  This is especially true when there are big scenes where they can flex their visual muscles.  So lovely Peter Burger did such a fantastic job on Episode 9 that he was worried he hadn't had quite enough time to give Episode 10 all the love, care and high strength narcotics it needed for a pain free birthing experience.

I don't think he should've worried so much.  When I went to the screening of the Director's Cut I was pleasantly surprised. Delighted, in fact.  And I thought Olivia was absolutely gorgeous.  So there you go.  If only my own children turn out as entertaining...

And on to next week where lots and lots of chooks come home to roost, especially for poor Kevin...


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