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Had you always known that Tamme’s son was a character you’d introduce?

Flahive: I think like anything else, there were so many things we had planted in season one that we hoped we would have room to tell season two. On our wish list for season two was this sort of tale of two mothers where we would actually have the time to go meet Tamme’s son and we would spend the day with her and Debbie culminating in a match. The thing is you just want to make sure as you’re building a season is that, you know, in your season you have room for that move in a way that feels like it still fuels the larger narrative. I think once we figured out that we did that, it was exciting. I think we always had dreams of seeing more of Tamme’s life but only if it served the season and the story.

Is there more wrestling in season two than season one?

Mensch: Yes, for sure.

Flahive: There is so much more wrestling in season two.

Mensch: A lot of season one the joke was they went through this month long boot camp and then we started the season and they have to go back to the beginning and pretend  to be bad again. Then we spent all season watching them learn when in fact in our real lives, our actresses were actually pretty badass wrestlers at this point. It almost felt like we were holding a card behind our back. Season 2 they’re unleashed. I feel like we don’t have to pretend they’re learning anymore. We just get to show them at their full glory.

Is that harder to shoot?

Flahive: It is for sure harder to shoot, for everybody.

Mensch: You know, we’ve gone through so many stages of cinematic learning. In the pilot, we had to learn how to shoot that first match. Then when the finale came last year, I think it was a very huge learning experience, both how to not tax our entire cast and try to shoot it so that each match looked different, so that it was personal, so that it reflected their real life. And then I think we had a whole new learning experience this year where it was like not only do we have matches, but we’re making a TV show so we have to find different ways to shoot it so that we can see how they originally would have shot it, which is in episode eight.

Flahive: The wrestling is shot very differently than we do at any other point during the entire show.

Mensch: I feel like we’re on some level still learning. The large work of the show is learning how to capture it dynamically and show it evolving so that how we shoot it now is not how we shot it on day one season one.

Was “Far From Over” by Frank Stallone from Staying Alive, used in a montage in episode six, someone’s favorite ‘80s homage?

Flahive: You know, the thing we learned about songs and montages is that they can’t be too good. We did “Dare” in season one and that song from Staying Alive season two. They’re just the right level of cheesy and not so great that the song supports the montage but doesn’t overtake it. Because we tried a lot of different songs I think at a certain point in both of those montages and that was the thing we started to learn with the wrestling.

Do Ruth and Debbie have to work together a lot more through season two?

Mensch: Yes, I think we’ve structured the season actually so that they come from further apart. They weren’t working together at first and further sending them to their corners almost made the time when they have to work together, come back together which is a pretty tense moment, we wanted to load that moment up where we weren’t just building off where we were last year. We didn’t want them in such a great place.

Were drugs something you had to include doing a show about entertainment in the ‘80s?

Mensch: Marc Maron loves to tell the story of when he arrived and had very specific requests in terms of how his coke was carried in a bindle and what type of magazine page was used.

Flahive: The specificity of Sam Sylvia’s coke use was all designed by Marc Maron.

Mensch: And we just had to thank him and let him.

Flahive: Let him leave the charge on how his character does drugs because we didn’t do coke in the ‘80s.

But doing a show about the ‘80s, were drugs inevitably going to be part of it?

Flahive: I think it was less about it being relevant to the era and more about the character moment, and her having access in Sam’s office and being a little unhinged. Coke is around in the ‘80s in our show.

Mensch: Sam is doing so much coke in our show that we don’t need anyone else to do it. In a regular way, we have it represented on our show but then it kind of felt exciting to see what would happen when a character reaches a low point and what it means to be partnered with someone who’s a little…

Flahive: Drugs in the ring was something we always had on our bucket list in terms of something that could be a great complication. We didn’t, for a long time, know exactly where it went and then we figured it out.

Divorce was very different for women in the ‘80s too, wasn’t it?

Mesnch: Yes, and we had to do a bunch of homework on that.

Flahive: I think a lot of these stories, there’s something exciting about the great limits a period piece puts on you in terms of some of your storytelling and how if you want accuracy, if you want to be authentic, you have to embrace some of the constraints. I think that’s been a thrill for us and been really useful in our storytelling. I think we’re both pretty happy to not be having characters use cell phones. It’s real nice.

I know there are so many writers on Captain Marvel. Were you there in more of a script doctoring capacity or were you able to give some input on the direction of it. 

Flahive: We came in to do a polish and had a spectacular time. It was a total thrill.

Mensch: Other people had done a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of creating the plot. I think what was so exciting is we got to come in and obviously we had some ideas. We had some very open, awesome conversations with Marvel who knew exactly what they wanted but were also excited to hear where we could help with voice.

Flahive: Character stuff and it was a thrill to get to write, any bit of a Marvel movie is thrilling, but then to be involved in their first female superhero movie was delightful.

Mensch: They’re just really brilliant over there.

Were you told that Nick Fury calls her at the end of Infinity War?

Flahive: We were not. We were as surprised as everyone else.

Continue Reading Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch Interview >>

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