Episode 208: “It’s A Living” with Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Greenberg”

You could tell that they were afraid the show was too sexy…" - Jane Espensen Susan and Sharon start their look back at the under-the-radar 1980s comedy “It’s A Living” with modern-day TV writer/producers Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Greenberg. Jane Espenson has written for shows such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Once Upon A Time”, “Gilmore Girls”, “Jessica Jones”, “Battlestar Galactica” and “Game of Thrones”. Drew Greenberg’s credits include “Dexter”, “Warehouse 13”, “Firefly”, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Arrow”
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The Conversation

  • TO BOLDLY GO – How two separate chance meetings with Star Trek writer/producer René Echevarria paved the way for both Jane and Drew.
  • Jane remembers Drew’s first day at “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” – and so does Drew!
  • Who is “It’s A Living” creator Jenna McMahon – and why is she using a pseudonym??
  • What are the hidden similarities between “Facts Of Life”, “Desperate Housewives”, “Golden Girls”, “Sex And The City”… and “It’s A Living”?
  • In Season One – are six characters too many? Can you have too many women?
  • THE “CHARACTER TYPES” OF “IT’S A LIVING”: the Innocent, the Maneater, the Grounded Realist and the Smart Aleck – but who is who?
  • What’s up with those ever-changing waitress outfits?
  • How Ann Jillian was the “secret comedy weapon” of the show – and what happened when she got de-sexy-ied in Season Two?
  • Could you have a character like Sonny today? And is he really playing that piano?
  • What it means to re-watch a show with “nostalgia goggles”.
  • Jane reveals her “Secret Trick” to writing Iconic Women!
  • When Anne met Jane! Susan's sister and 8TL superfan, Anne Lambert, joins in to say hello and keep us talking during the break.

So join Susan and Sharon – and Jane and Drew – as they talk “Small Wonder”, syndication, “success pie”, swim-top switches -- and Piggy Barbecue!! 

NOTE: This episode was recorded before the WGA and SAGAFTRA strike.

Our Audio-ography

Read “Girl in the Show: Three Generations of Comedy, Culture and Feminism” by Anna Fields at Bookshop.

Check out Molly Ringwald’s New Yorker essay “What About ‘The Breakfast Club? Revisiting the Movies of My Youth in The Age of #MeToo”

Follow Drew Greenberg on Twitter @DrewZachary

Follow Jane Espenson on Twitter @JaneEspenson

Watch “It’s A Living” on Tubi or YouTube.

Visit the WGA Strike hub.

Visit the SAG AFTRA strike hub.

Help us make more episodes and get ad-free episodes and exclusive content on PATREON.


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80s TV Ladies™ Episode 208: “It’s A Living with Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Greenberg”
Produced by 134 West and Susan Lambert Hatem.
Hosted by Susan Lambert Hatem and Sharon Johnson.
Guests: Jane Espenson and Drew Z. Greenberg.
Sound Engineer and Editor: Kevin Ducey.
Producer: Melissa Roth.
Associate Producer: Sergio Perez.
Music by Amy Engelhardt.
Copyright 2023 134 West, LLC and Susan Lambert. All Rights Reserved.