Writer's blog: season 2, episode 4
By Gavin Strawhan
Sometimes I worry we drink too much. I mean, our characters do. They tend to hit the bottle a bit in times of stress, and as drama and comedy is often about conflict, which is stressful... well you can see where I'm going with this. Pissweak justification - or an unflinching mirror held up to the binge drinking society in which we live? You decide.
Not that anyone should drink except in moderation and never, ever as a way of alleviating psychological or emotional pain. Yeah, right.
Maybe I noticed it more this time around because sometimes I worry I drink too much as well. So to give my liver a wee breather I have a dry month every year. It's usually February (the shortest month, boom boom) but for various reasons that I won't go into (my father came to stay), I had to make it March this year. Just my luck, March 2010 was crammed packed full of social events including the launch of Go Girls series II, which I had to sit through cold stone sober.
It wasn't nearly as painful as I feared, but I did notice the drinking. A bit like how you notice everyone smoking (take a bow Nan and Jan) when you're giving up.
Anyway, all this reminded me that ep 4 was the episode where Kevin spends quite a lot of the time trashed. To be honest, he spent a lot more of it trolleyed originally, but it took up too much screen time and didn't really help move the story along, so some of it got edited out along with the way.
Actually Ep 4 went through quite a lot of jiggling and rewriting, partly because sh*t just happens and partly because of various scheduling contortions we had to perform to do with casting. (A little inside info - because Anna was very busy, we had to ration the episodes and scenes she could appear in, which is why she disappears for most of this episode with the mysterious Hans - more of him next week.)
Also, because of the way the scheduling of this series panned out, ep 4 was the first episode we storylined and it took us a while to get back into the groove. Well, it took me a while.
Yes, I admit it, okay! My first draft was not my finest work, but fortunately I have Rachel and Kate to offer their love and fine editorial skills. Actually, I think Rachel told me to stop being so pathetic and Kate may have muttered, 'get your hand off it'. But I know this advice came full of aroha.
So, anyway, a few drafts (and some drinks) later and we had something everyone was pretty happy with. Even me - ish. But I have no perspective and a script is just a blue print, so if I'm not 100% satisfied, I can always blame the Director and often do.
But enough whinging, in the end there is a lot I like about ep 4. It's quite a Kevin heavy episode, which is nice as Kevin is our narrator and often used to take a back seat to the girls in series I. He gets quite a lot of story in series II and this is really where it starts - with the gorgeous Kirby.
Monique, the actor who plays Kirby, had a small role in series I as one of Cody's WAG friends and she really impressed us, so we wrote her back into series II in a much more substantial role. Oh, all right, we did notice she is hot, blonde and has a great bod, but she also has a wonderfully natural performance style, and we thought she would be just the incentive Kevin needed to aim higher.
Ah, yes, it always has to get back to the quests. We talked about Kevin getting to own the garage as a blokey kind of aspiration, but we knew that would never be enough. We needed romance, we need sex and we need Kevin to want to have the unattainable. A very sexy woman married to an All Black contender. That seemed like the kind of challenge that would give us lots of story through this series.
And to give the story for this episode a satisfying shape, it seemed a good idea to involve Cody as a WAG who is trying to fit in, but isn't enjoying the job. This related back to her quest to make her marriage to Eli work and gave us lots of fun with Flinty and schemes such as Flabbusters NZ.
(Trivia note: the idea to put Flinty in the frock when Cody is having her WAG fears/fantasy was Jonathon, the Director's idea. I thought it was really funny.)
And in the end an excellent solution is for Kevin and Cody to be co-owners of the garage with Eli as the investor and guarantor for the loan.
This story was pretty big, but we also wanted to advance Britta's quest a little so we made her come to the pretty mind blowing decision to do what her mother always wanted her to - (It was Kate's inspiration to have Fran say - "What, get your hair straightened and a fringe", which I deeply love.)
But no, it is to hang up her fairy costume and be a real estate agent so she can meet a better class of man. Leaving Nan to keep the magic forest fires burning as Fairy Huckery.
Our other task was to integrate Olivia a little more and to plant the idea that she might want a quest of her own. We also built on her character trait as the human 'bomb', the one who is always accidentally going off and affecting the people around her without meaning to do so.
So, yeah, nah. Bring on episode 5, the school reunion, written by the firm but nearly always fair Rachel, which is a very funny and moving episode where some pretty huge things unfold.
And finally it's April, so, y'know, I think I'll have another wine.