The latest offering from Pete Helliar gives us a whole bunch of dates over eight weeks. The good, the bad, the ugly and so much more. At the time of writing, we’re only five episodes in, but have seen the delightful pairings of Denise Scott and John Wood, Asher Keddie and Stephen Curry and Kate Richie and Nadine Garner. The show is cleverly written and beautifully executed. It is far more subtle than I expect from Australian comedy – quite often, I find our comedies are filled with overly obvious stereotypes and ridiculous plots. This is far more gentle, far more real, and (perhaps because of this) far more funny. I can’t wait to see what is left in store.
Nina Proudman (Asher Keddie) is an obstetrician working in inner city Melbourne and trying to balance her career with the dramas of her family and her love life. All of her family live within the same suburb and are constantly calling or dropping in to each other. There is her sister, Billie (Kat Stewart) who is a real estate agent in her father’s business and dating gardener/musician Mick Holland (Eddie Perfect). Then there is her brother, Jimmy (Richard Davies) who seems unable or unwilling to hold down a job. Her mother Geraldine (Linda Cropper) is trying to find her place after it is revealed that serial cheater Darcy (John Waters) is to father a child to Cherie Butterfield (Deborah Mailman). But to complicate things, Cherie is a nurse at the hospital where Nina works. This is not the only work complication – over four series, Nina manages to go through relationships with a variety of co-workers including most notably Chris Havel (Don Hany), and Patrick Reid (Matthew Le Nevez). Watching and commentating are the marvellous nurses Kim (Alicia Gardiner) and Zara (Jane Harber) – and then there is the mysterious head-of-department Dr Martin Clegg (Lachy Hume).
The fourth season of Offspring has just finished airing in Australia and it seems as popular as ever. Some questions are never answered – like how on earth Nina has managed to hold down a job with the number of phone calls she answers at work and the number of times she runs off to solve some family problem. But that is unimportant; what is important is that they all love each other. And them sometimes they don’t. But then they do again. I totally loved the first couple of seasons, but felt in season three that it had jumped the shark. Of course, being me, I did continue to watch it through season three and luckily, I felt it came back in season four. I was a bit annoyed with some of my Facebook friends a couple of weeks ago, one of the main characters was killed off and immediately several people spoiled it. Since when was immediate spoilers allowed?
Anyhow, Offspring will be back next year. I can’t wait. In the meantime I’ll keep my ringtone the same as Nina and pretend to be an unlucky-in-love professional as I struggle to answer my phone whilst doing something important.