Scene It Before: Echo Park from Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce

The series left its Vancouver sets to film a few site-specific scenes in L.A.
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My husband and I recently started getting into the new Bravo TV show Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, which just so happens to be the network’s first scripted venture. It is definitely not “the new Sex and the City,” as it has been touted, but the series is still an enjoyable watch. (Though I must say it has lost a bit of luster since Janeane Garofalo left in the seventh episode.)

After watching the pilot I set about tracking down locations from the show, and I was shocked to discover that while the series is set in Los Angeles and the city figures into much of the storyline, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce is lensed mainly in Vancouver. While runaway production is, sadly, nothing new, runaway production in which another city masks as Los Angeles is certainly out of the ordinary.

Every once in a while a scene that really was filmed in L.A. pops up. In the pilot, for example, Abby McCarthy (Lisa Edelstein) smokes in front of the Laurel Canyon Country Store. In “Rule 17: Ask the Answer Lady,” Abby’s distraught BFF Phoebe (Beau Garrett) throws baby mannequins off of the Sixth Street Bridge. And in “Rule 33: When in Doubt, Run Away,” Abby and her friends exercise together in front of Echo Park’s famous three-geyser fountain.

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Photograph courtesy Bravo TV

Echo Park is no stranger to the screen. The site, which is located at 751 Echo Park Ave. in Echo Park, is where Jack Nicholson secretly photographs an adulterous commissioner while in a rowboat in the 1974 classic Chinatown. Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson share a date there in 1991’s Dead Again. And Martin Lawrence almost gets arrested for breaking into his own car while at the park in the 2003 comedy National Security.

The incredibly picturesque place was founded in 1892 and designed by landscape architect Joseph Henry Tomlinson. The 29-acre property, which is one of L.A.’s oldest public parks, was declared a Los Angeles Cultural Monument in 2006.

Echo Park recently underwent a two-year, $45-million restoration process, during which 40,000 cubic yards of sediment (and other surprises) were removed from the bottom of the site’s 26-million-gallon, 13-acre lake. Four acres of wetland were also added during the revitalization, as were a café, two observation decks, and a jogging path. The park’s locust bed, which had died out by 2008, was reinstated, as well. The new and improved Echo Park opened to the public on June 15th, 2013.

Echo Park is easily one of Los Angeles’ most beautiful locations and one of my favorite places to spend a sunny afternoon. The city is forecasted to have many of those in the near future (sorry, East Coasters!) and where better to spend them than against a backdrop of shooting geysers, sparkling waters, and a colorful locust garden?


Lindsay Blake is an actress, writer, celebrity admirer and Los Angeles enthusiast who contributes to CityThink each Thursday. Her true love is filming locations, and she founded the Web site IAMNOTASTALKER in 2007 to document her vast findings on the subject. For more “stalking” fun, you can follow Lindsay on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

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