GIRLFRIENDS’ GUIDE TO DIVORCE: Marti Noxon on Abby’s Job Required-Dating Spree, ‘Powerful’ Fan Feedback, and More | Give Me My Remote

GIRLFRIENDS’ GUIDE TO DIVORCE: Marti Noxon on Abby’s Job Required-Dating Spree, ‘Powerful’ Fan Feedback, and More

January 27, 2015 by  

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Things are looking up for GIRLFRIENDS’ GUIDE TO DIVORCE’s Abby — at least professionally. Fresh off of Abby’s agency approving her pitch to be more real with her writing, she lands a gig writing for the Huffington Post…where her first task is to date a whole lot of men in a short span.

I spoke with GIRLFRIENDS’ GUIDE TO DIVORCE showrunner Marti Noxon about Abby’s dating hits and misses, the evolution of Jake/Abby, losing original series co-star Janeane Garofalo, her takeaway from the show’s first season, and more…

What can you preview about what’s coming up on the show?
Marti Noxon: Abby [goes to work] for the Huffington Post [and] one of the ideas for an article she gets pitched to do [is go on] ten dates in two days, using social media, as a woman who didn’t have that the last time she was dating. It could be any form of getting ten dates. She could do it with [real life], but because she doesn’t have the time, she almost completely relies on social media. And we do ten dates in two days, and it’s pretty raucous. And Jo is really fascinated and goes along for the ride.

What kind of opportunity did those snapshots of dates give you and the writers in creating characters?
MN: There’s one guy — and I was so excited to write him, because I met him in [real life], who was just obsessed with ferrets. Like, really obsessed; would show you pictures and talk about it. And then I went on a date — I guess I met the guy on OKCupid — and not only did he cry, he asked if I would read his screenplay. I almost date for the anecdote.

Abby and Jake are past the pregnancy scare, but now that they’re both single for the first time since their split, how is that changing the dynamic of their relationship?
MN: I think one of the things that was so unexpected was that their relationship, over the course of this first season, would be a will they/won’t they [dynamic]. And that you’d go from starting off hating him to rooting for them was our goal, but it became our goal when we saw how they were together. People would ask for more fighting, and it’s like, you can’t do that every week. But there was obvious chemistry with the two actors.

Abby, I think, pretty clearly, knows they’re not meant to be. So how those feelings evolve, and how they play out through the course of the season, it gets pretty emotional.

What else is in store this season?
MN: The return of Will! You haven’t seen the last of him…Will will return and definitely muck things up.

Jo has a very troublesome ex, so that’s going to be fun. Lyla and Dan were contentious, but we haven’t had a full-on crazy ex. And what’s even more fun is he never actually appears on camera, but he’s lobbing stuff from the other coast that’s pretty hardcore.

And [Phoebe] starts a really interesting friendship with a man; that’s a new thing for her: trying to stay in the friend zone.

There was an evolution of the show’s original core dynamic with Janeane Garofalo’s (Lyla) exit a few weeks ago. What led to that decision, and is there a chance she’ll pop up again in the future?
MN: There’s definitely a chance for her to come back. I don’t want to overuse the word, but it felt right for her to exit — partially because of the demands of her own career. She was feeling torn, and it started to feel like she really wanted to go back in front of a live audience; that’s who she is. So when that became apparent, we tried to figure out the most graceful way to let that happen. And there had always been a question of how long she’d stay…if you can get a little Janeane, you take it…she, at heart, is a troubadour.

That makes sense. Have you gotten any feedback yet about a potential season 2?
MN: Not yet. We’re extremely hopeful. Our numbers actually went up over the holidays, which was really exciting. For me, I feel like this show lives and dies by people talking to each other about it. I’ve heard a lot of anecdotal [conversations] of women and men telling each other about the show and relating it to their own lives. I think the more people talk about it, the harder it will be for them to not pick us up.

As a team, the cast and writers have been very active on social media promoting the show. What has that experience been like for you?
MN: There is a tremendous amount of love and affection among us as a team; the actors and the writers had a rare experience of feeling like we were all on the same page and trying to make the same show. We already feel like a troop. We want to keep the show going because we want to do it again. We’ve even started getting together on Tuesday nights a lot of times whenever we can…we all have a lot invested in the show.

The other part is it is such a personal show, it’s interesting to see the feedback. It’s been kind of powerful. A couple of times I’ve had sidebars with women who are really going through it and one time had to say, “If it’s too hard to watch, I totally get it.” With another woman, she [said], “I feel like I’m not alone.” It’s been really powerful. There are always a few haters, but I’ve learned how to let that roll off my back.”

What has been your biggest takeaway from the experience so far?
MN: That’s really interesting, because my big takeaway has been that no matter what becomes of the show, in success or failure [of a second season], for us as a group of actors and writers, for us, it felt like a success. That was my takeaway, which was walking away from [season 1] going, “That was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

And for me, personally, the fact that so far the response has been mostly positive is a real validation that the hardest stuff to tell is the most worthwhile. And even in a comedic way, exploiting something that might have been personally painful — anything that feels like you’re telling your secrets connects more powerfully than a generic experience.

So I feel like that’s the thing. If we’re lucky, [we’ll get] to go back again and dig into what really really happens. It’s the same thing I learned from [former boss] Joss [Whedon]: you start from there and build out.

GIRLFRIENDS’ GUIDE FOR DIVORCE airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on Bravo.

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