Monday, December 27, 2004

[TV] lovebites - episode one (3)

Pretty much no version of the pilot played Clare as a central character. I'll undercut that statement in a moment, but in the meantime Clare (our life-of-the-party trauma nurse) was always an outsider to the original group. In the majority of later versions of episode one Clare would arrive in the last 30 seconds.

And maybe that's because we were caught in another bind. You see, lovebites was based on my movie, hopeless. But everyone - network, producers, writers - had different and changeable opinions as to how heavily we should structure the show as a direct continuation of the film. At first it seemed obvious that should be a '2 years later' follow-on from Phil leaving for Australia after confessing he was in love with Richard. This raised the question: how gay should we make Phil? And this was not question the networks wanted answered...or even asked.

In the search for an acceptable AND funny solution to the Phil-gayness algorithm, we went through an all-embracing pan-sexual Phil, hippie Phil, secretive Phil and left-a-pregnant-wife-in-Australia Phil.

Finally we settled on what turned out to be extremely-chauvinist Phil. The timeline for this decision is unclear to me. EC Phil was suggested early on at our roundtable with our first intake of writers, but we may have struggled against settling on it for up to a year. In the end, what we hoped is that we could write Phil as refreshingly blunt about the politics of sex and relationships, while having his sensitivity from the movie playing as a subtext.

Unfortunately, Phil turned out to be all text. In working to build a straight character with sex appeal - which is what the network wanted, seeing Scott as the sexiest of our actors - we helped create the exact opposite. It's all very Freudian.

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