Writer's blog: season 2, episode 11
By Gavin Strawhan
Ah, episode 11 was a nice and crunchy episode, I thought. When we say 'crunchy' around the storylining table, that's our highly technical term for something with a bit of emotional power, something that digs a bit deeper.
Now, we would never claim Go Girls was gritty realism; when we came up with the series it was deliberately meant to be something that had a bright, optimistic outlook, something that had a bit of the fairy tale about it. We figured there was enough gritty realism in all those police procedurals (which aren't very real at all), maybe we could have a bit of fun on our show and be a bit of an antidote to all the doom and gloom.
But that didn't mean we would include more serious stories; just that we'd just tackle them with our own, er, particular (and sometimes peculiar) bent. So we've touched upon Alzheimer's with Cody's mum, Gwen and we've had Olivia's blind ex, Nathan and there was Angelina and Brad's ectopic and so on.
But when we got to this episode there were two quite powerful stories coming to a head. We wanted a pay off to Kevin's tortured relationship with 'cheese girl', Kirby, and we wanted Cody to finally realise that it was Eli she wanted to be with; but also realise that to move on with a clear conscience she had to 'fess up about sleeping with Ben.
So, this is where I must take a small diversion to tackle that oft asked question; "where do you get your stories from?"
Well, we may not be in the business of gritty realism, but that doesn't mean our stories aren't sometimes based on real life. In fact, they are nearly always based on real life. Okay, damn it. I admit it, we are nothing but narrative parasites on everyone around us; friends, family, lovers, past and present, all are fair game. But to be fair, our own lives are also plundered fairly regularly.
Of course, by the time the stories are adapted to fit particular characters and their circumstances, they change and transmute, but they do often begin with real incidents.
And so it was with episode 11. Let's just say, there is this person we know who decided that the person they were sharing their life with was THE ONE. So they asked this person to marry them and the person said yes. But then this person we know felt this overwhelming urge to tell their beloved ALL the sins they had committed in the time they'd been together. At which point their beloved promptly dumped them. See, no one could resist stealing a story like that. So we didn't. Resist that is.
But of course telly story telling is about what you see on screen and it's very hard to show a person's inner conflict (say in the way you can in a novel) so we had to give Cody motivation for spilling her guts. That's when we thought of bringing back the wonderful Philippe and subjecting her to the dinner party from hell. Also, I might add, based on a real story...
And then there was Kevin's dilemma.
To be absolutely candid, Kevin's problem is partly based on my own experiences. I remember the many strange and confusing feelings associated with finding out that a woman I had dated (but was no longer with) had had a termination. On one hand, I totally respected her right to choose. On the other hand, well, I really wished I'd had a say in it, or that things had been different between us. So yeah, some real crunchy stuff there and when I came to write the script I felt quite close to Kevin's experience.
However, like I say, everything changes when it's told through specific characters - and ultimately Kevin's story is different than mine. I'm also quite jealous that he has such great friends to talk to and to support him. Olivia's little speech made me cry when I was writing it (okay, I am a big girl's blouse) and I thought Esther's delivery was wonderfully understated.
But we are, after all, a romantic comedy, and so -
There was the kiss between Kevin and Olivia. Unexpected, out of the blue and full of fireworks - literally. That was a late breaking idea, I think. But we really liked the idea of that amazing kiss, the one that comes from nowhere and blind sides you. The kiss that isn't logical, that is better than most sex, so powerful it throws all your perceptions out of kilter. But is that a romantic conceit or based on real life? Ah, couldn't possibly say.
But anyway, on to next week, when Kevin tries to deal with the silly season and there are some quite startling revelations...