There are very few people out there who really understand how to relate to the people that watch your shows. To a lot of people it’s just a job, pounding the pavement through mainstream media, answering questions, and quite frankly becoming jaded by the job.
But over the past few years, we’ve been lucky enough to make a Twitter friend out of Dean Georgaris. He’s been behind some of our favorite shows – The Brave and Bluff City Law. He’s taken our particular brand of criticism with the same open ears that he’s taken the love we give his shows.
With his latest show, The Baker & The Beauty, he’s kept us as fans. The show tells the story of Noa Hamilton, an international superstar, who falls for the normal guy that she meets, Daniel Garcia. But it’s not just about them. It’s about family – the ones that you are born into and the ones that you choose. It’s about the struggles to find who we are and where we are going to go. It’s about following the journey, no matter the outcome.
And maybe that’s the reason that we have fallen so hard for his shows. They are multi-layered, diverse, and they tell stories that you can relate to. Sure, you may fall into them because you like a certain theme – military shows, law shows, or the whole celebrity romance thing, but you stay because you become emotionally invested in every character on the screen.
And that is the beauty of a Dean Georgaris show.
Read our exclusive interview with him below.
From The Baker and the Beauty to Bluff City Law, your shows are pretty diverse. Is that a conscious decision?
I would say it’s probably an unconscious decision. By that I mean…I grew up watching television and I loved a wide range of shows. And whenever you create a television show, it’s a lot of hard work and you need to be prepared for it to be a success and to perpetually live with those characters for about 4 to 10 years. So, I think the answer to your question about it being a conscious decision, I think the conscious decision is to pursue shows that really speak to me. You know, you try to write a show that you want to watch. I happen to love The West Wing and I love Notting Hill. I love a good scifi movie. As a fan I’m pretty diverse in that case and I think that’s why as a writer I’m not afraid to try different things.
I will say when I did The Baker and the Beauty, for a lot of people who I’ve worked with, movies in particular, I hadn’t really gotten to write a romantic comedy before so there’s always a little resistance when you’re trying to do something that you haven’t done before. Because it’s not mean spirited that they want to keep you in your lane, but they know one way works so they’re like, “Do you really want to devote so much energy to a different way?” But that’s also the way to spread your wings.
In the case of those two shows in particular, what was conscious was Bluff City Law was completely original and that required a certain work and amount of thinking. And it was a drama, and it was an issue of the week. And we were going to take on really dramatic topics. So, it’s rare to create two network shows at once. I knew I wanted to try. And since Bluff was a drama and all original and pretty heavy, the idea of working on a romantic comedy based on a format, felt like it was a nice balance. I wouldn’t completely…my brain would get to spend time in two different worlds, which is much easier than trying to spend time in two worlds that are closer than that. Going back and forth was actually almost rejuvenating.
What made you decide to make it a Latinx family?
When I watched the Israeli format, full disclosure, it took me a while to watch it because I didn’t actually think Notting Hill and that kind of story would work as a tv series. Especially after it seemed to work so well as a movie. When I watched the Israeli show, after about 10 or 15 minutes, it dawned on me, “Oh, this is actually a really great ongoing love story. In the Israeli show, which is only 30 minutes, it’s mostly focused on the couple and I knew that I wanted to expand it to include the family because to me, it’s sort of the secret passion of The Baker and the Beauty, to write the family story.
When it came time to actually creating the characters, some of it was a very practical decision. We knew we wanted it to be an immigrant family, because that was such a great contrast. We knew we wanted it to be believable, which meant our two people had to actually cross somewhere you would believe. And that led to a really quick set and series where we know celebrities inhabit. When we got to Miami the Cuban community was just so vibrant. It’s very well defined. I think a lot of people in our country have a sense of the Cuban community and those are all real pluses for us as show creators because there’s a recognition factor very quickly.
Almost half of our writers were Cuban. Sure enough, their own stories about their family, you always heard over and over the sort of devotion to one another, support for one each other, they love fiercely, they fight fiercely. And that just felt like such a great fit and contrast with the character of Noa Hamilton, who is essentially not going to have any real functional family.
Ships are important to drawing anyone into a show. What do you think people love about Daniel and Noa?
I think what people are responding to in Daniel is that while he’s an “ordinary guy” he’s an active character. He’s curious, he can bake and shows you how, he changes over time. So you’re watching a character that’s discovering himself, which I think is always fun and something that a lot of us can relate to. Because it’s really hard to figure out what you really want to do in this world.
And then with Noa, and a lot of credit to Kari Burke at ABC, was very important to all of us that even though we were gonna use the word “The Beauty” in the title, we wanted to make it clear that that was not her real value and that she was much more than that. I think that’s what makes her appealing. Nathalie Kelley is very philanthropic and always talking about issues in the world so it’s a very natural way. So it was very easy to write Noa that way because we had a lead actress who was that way. And I think that makes her more interesting and more accessible that she has very strong, very positive, pro-woman views that she is not afraid to express.
What do you think it was about celebrities that intrigues the general public?
The truth is, Cinderella is the most popular story of all time. It’s a story that you find in every culture and I think celebrity is just another version of royalty. It’s another version of this idea that there are special people among us that get to have a life experience that we believe would be so spectacular and such a fantasy. What’s interesting is that in a way they represent lives we aspire to have and dream. But in reality I think most people aspire to have the kind of life that the Garcia’s have, which is one filled with love and family. But from time memoriam we’ve always celebrated the royalty, the regal, and I think celebrity is just another form of that.
We’ve followed you from The Brave to Bluff City Law to here and they are all so uniquely different. What have you learned from each show that has made you a better showrunner?
I think there’s two answers to that. One is being a better showrunner in terms of the day to day production of a show. And I’ve been very lucky from the first go around with The Brave to have excellent partners and to trust my partners. And more than ever I trust my partners in The Baker and the Beauty. So I trust and surround myself with the best writers. We have this incredible cast that Sara Isaacson put together for us, and I trust them. And the trust is reciprocal. So when, if Carlos Gomez and has a question about a line or if Lisa Vidal has a suggestion, we take them very seriously. We almost always end up doing them and the actors also know they have the freedom to ad lib where it feels right. As a showrunner, I’ve just learned to trust people more and more. And surround yourself with the best people, more and more.
As a writer, which is interesting, because what I’m learning is that emotion is king on television. People really…you meet these characters and you’re potentially going to spend a month following them. And what people respond to is emotion and emotional situations. And I think each show I’ve done, the emotions have been more and more featured. The goal of The Brave was actually to be very subtle with character and emotion; you know, reveal it very slowly. And Bluff City Law is more of a family show so there’s more emotion in this, comedy, and joy. It’s emotion from page one. Every minute, which is also very enjoyable to write.