In real life, geeky gals have very slowly infiltrated the oh-so-boy worlds of technology and science. On Eureka, it's been surprisingly slow, too. This week's episode introduces one seriously and adorably nerdy gal, Dr. Holly Marten, played by Felicia Day. As "Reprise" episode writer Amy Berg, the woman behind the dialogue and plot twists notes, the show was missing "a true geek girl presence."
The actor playing Dr. Marten is no slouch in the nerd department herself: home schooled, drama geek, Valedictorian of her college class as she graduated with degrees in a beautifully High Nerd combo of Violin Performance and, yes, Mathematics. She started her own online series, The Guild, starred in the Syfy movie Red, and won fans for her role as Vi in Buffy.
Amy--pictured here in a fabulous drawing from the fabulous blog Eureka Unscripted--is a writer and co-executive producer of the show.
Introducing Amy Berg & Dr. Holly Marten
Idea Lab:Dr. Holly Marten's character is hilarious, and gets developed a lot in this episode. How did you shape her character so specifically?
Amy Berg: Oh, thank you! I guess, for me, one of the things I thought Eureka was missing when I joined the show was a true geek girl presence. Allison Blake is hyper-intelligent, but hardly a nerd. And Jo Lupo is an amazing character who kicks all kinds of ass, but geek references tend to fall on deaf ears with her. So where are all the geek girls? There are a lot of us in the real world, and I thought it'd behoove us to have one on Eureka as well.
And then, how lucky are we? Around the same time we were developing this character, I had done an interview where I talked about Felicia Day being a perfect actress for our show and one that I'd love to bring aboard. Felicia saw that, and we got to talking. She came in for a meeting and BAM! That was that. She was Holly Marten. And now I can't imagine the part being played by anyone else. She is so good, it has made my job really easy.
I'm not the greatest writer on the planet, but one of the few things I do well is create interesting guest roles. I go out of my way to make sure everyone has a very distinct personality... even if it's just a scientist with a line or two. Maybe his girlfriend just broke up with him, or she's just had a grant approved. Something that gives the actor something to play. So having an entire playground to work with for a character, like I had in this episode, that was all kinds of awesome.
Fun fact. Originally the character's last name was Jordan, as an homage to the geek girl from Real Genius. Jordan was one of my big inspirations for Holly.
Thanks for talking with us, Amy!
More on women's role in sci 'n' tech--and more from our interview with Amy--in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned to Idea Lab!