AE: What characters were born that night?
KG: There was Jenny. She was to provide access into the lesbian subculture,
an innocent point of view-narrative way into the story.
MA: She was a relatable character. We all know the feeling of walking into
a gay bar for the first time, leaving one world for another and the entire cultural
shift it implies.
AE: Sure. Who was she based on?
KG: Me, because I had the experience of coming to L.A. from Wisconsin …
and it was overwhelming. The first time I went to Girl Bar and saw 300 beautiful
women, I couldn’t believe it.
MA: Jenny was described in the pitch as “Fresh Meat Farm Girl.”
(Laughter) How she ended up being a Nazi stripper and a cutter is anyone’s
AE: Who else?
KG: Shane. She didn’t have a name, but she was called “The Cad.”
AE: Classic. There’s a Shane in every group.
MA: Bette and Tina. They were the power struggle couple.
KG: Through them we wanted to explore the heterosexual paradigm in a lesbian
couple. … Originally, they were both named Bettina, because we noticed
that a lot of women who get together have the same names. So we were making
fun of that because, you know, what couple would include two Bettinas?
AE: That’s so random.
MA: You could tell we were at the bottom of the tiki punch bowl at that point!
KG: So we thought, how would they distinguish themselves? And we said, well,
one would be called Bette and the other would be called Tina.
AE: I didn’t know that.
MA: It never came out.
AE: Was Alice on a napkin?
KG. Yes, but I don’t think her name was Alice.
MA: And she wasn’t as kooky and funny as Leisha [Hailey] brought to the
KG: But she was always going to be a magazine writer or editor … the
one to call people on their bullshit.
MA: For sure, Dana was there.
KF (to MA): And she’s based on you.
MA: She was the least composited character. …We wanted a person who grew
up in a conservative environment and has to deal with a lot of social pressures
that keep her in the closet. So we thought, let’s make her an athlete,
a public figure. … I wasn’t a public figure … but I played
some pro [tennis] tours. I was also really closeted and in a sorority. And you
can’t be a lesbian in a sorority.
AE: Oh, yeah, you can!
MA (making fun of herself): Unless you’re me!
MA: The goofiness of her, you know, being the transparent person [to whom everyone
says], “Oh, honey, you’re so gay! Why do you keep toting around
this beard?” was right out of my experience. … I had some ridiculous
beards! … And when I started meeting gay women they called me out.
AE: Like Alice and Tina did to Dana.
MA: Right. And then I came out like a bat out of hell and started running lesbian
parties in San Francisco. So there was that element [on the napkins], too —
the club scene, the DJ …
MA: Yes, but she wasn’t called Carmen. [The clubs were] the first portals,
the places to go to find girls…
AE: What about Kit?
KG: We started with a character we called “The Old Sea Captain,”
who was like a historian, a woman [who’d] been through decades of change.
MA: She was an activist, a touchstone for the historical aspects of the movement.
And there was a person in town like that.