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Writer's blog: season 2, episode 2

Unfinished Business and Dodgy Territory

When you're working on a series, there are sometimes leftovers. 

Bits of story that you didn't finish, or get round to.  

Sometimes it's because you can't decide what's the best way to do it, and other times, you just run out of room. 

Sometimes, to your shame, the leftovers just don't fit with the current menu plan, so they remain forever at the back of the story fridge, unanswered and unfinished...

(On Shortland Street , we used to call such a story Jenny's Cyst, because it was an example of a story we forgot to um, finish. And on The Show Which Remains Nameless because it's on another network, we call those hanging-out-there stories The Body Under The Driveway, because that's one that never got resolved either.)

But anyway, on season one, we often used to talk about who Possum's father might be, and it was the source of much debate.  What would happen if it was Brad?  Or Kevin?  Or some random?  Was it possible that Cody really didn't remember?

(And if you missed Episode two, from now on this will be full of spoilers, so catch Episode two Ondemand - or read on at your peril.)

But among our suspects was one who was far more contentious: Larry.  Given that he is a lot older than Cody and also Amy's Dad, we knew this was potentially leading us into Dodgy Territory.  

Writers tend to like Dodgy Territory: because things which touch a nerve often make for good story.  (And if you're Gavin Strawhan, Dodgy Territory isn't just a place to go to, it's more like Home Sweet Home.)

And when we talked about the story, it caused even more arguing and debate, particularly to do with the attitudes of the characters. 

Kate McD got very hot under the collar about Amy and whose side she'd be on, and whether she could actually go to that place where she thought her father had molested Cody.   But if everyone's getting heated, it's probably a good sign that we're onto something.

(On the other hand, if we're all falling around laughing, that doesn't necessarily mean we're writing anything funny.  Jodie Molloy is probably just telling us one of her X-rated travel stories.)

Anyway, the episode is all about secrets, and whether or not it's better to tell the truth.  But the thing about secrets or stories from the character's pasts is that they need to have an impact in the present.

And as it turned out, it was good that we waited to do the story because it fitted much better with this year's quests than last year's - and had a lot more impact.

Amy wants to help others and be good, so finding out that Cody did her Dad, and that he could be Possum's father is quite a large test to this resolve.

Amy spent last series being very loyal to Larry - in fact, he was most of her reason for wanting to get rich and buy her house back.  She is a little cooler with her father since he rejected her efforts and got back together with her mother.  But blood is still thicker than water.

Cody's vow is to make her marriage work, so this rather large bombshell seemed like a great test for her.  It was also good to have the boot on the other foot for a change -where she was the one with a secret in her closet, not Eli.  

Eli has turned out to be an interesting character.  It would have been predictable for him to reject Cody over this, but Eli is far more practical and goal oriented.   In a world where people are supposed to talk about things all the time, he is a fan of the opposite.  Say nothing and it will blow over...

The other fun thing about the episode was being able to go back to things we'd talked about but never put on screen - Larry and Alison in the good old days, when he was the king of cars, and their place was party central.  (It was also very good to see Jay back in that spectacularly mongy wig.)

I also like the way everyone's memory of the party is so subjective.  Memory is like that.  And even very good friends have things they don't tell each other.   

I like the way that Kevin had a moment where he could have changed history.  At the time, he didn't know, and now he does - and well, he decides to say nothing about it.  And keep another secret.

Good on you, Kev.