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Why ABC's 'The Letdown' is maybe the best TV I have watched in 2019

Image by ABC TV

Image by ABC TV

The Letdown came into my life on an unassuming day, while I was lazily scrolling through Netflix and not really in the mood to watch something new. I was not expecting much from this show; I rarely watch Australian television and I don't have children or a strong desire to have any. On the surface, it didn't seem like I was the right demographic for this series.

Boy, was I wrong.  I was enveloped by this show and felt myself sinking in deeper with each new episode. ABC's The Letdown follows brand new mum Audrey (played by Alison Bell, co-creator along with Sarah Scheller) who joins a parents group run by the unflappable Ambrose (Noni Hazlehurst). We watch while the delightful and accident prone Audrey, along with the other members of the parents group, try to figure out parenthood while still maintaining some part of their former baby-free life. They struggle with work, friendships, relationships, all while trying not to have an identity crisis and to keep a small human alive.

Before I knew it, I joined the parents group and I was right along side Audrey, Ester, Sophie and the rest of the gang while they drank decaf coffee and discussed birthing methods. The cast is wonderful and introduced me to many actors I hope I will see again. From the straight laced and matter of fact Ester (Sacha Horler) to the hilarious and experienced mother Barbara (played by the icon, Celeste Barber), each character felt rounded and real and their interactions were meaningful, entertaining and, sometimes, heartbreaking. The rawness and honesty of the friendships, between struggling new parents and old friends, were what made the show a pleasure to experience. The creators had a distinct vision and it was clear and unique.

Bell and Scheller were determined to create an aesthetic that looked real and lived in and they definitely succeeded - no make up, messy hair and stained clothes are a constant during the series, along side mismatched furniture and unmade beds. The costuming and set design felt like it ebbed and flowed with the characters' journeys to becoming parents - as Audrey became a more experienced and confident mother, her home's interior and her personal style changed with her. In fact, during season two Audrey became somewhat of a style icon to me. I am drawn to her modern yet simple 'hippy' style - comfortable overalls, checked button up shirts, not to mention that stunning opal ring. And while I have never had much of a hankering for it before, I will be purchasing a Fjallraven Kanken backpack in UN Blue as soon as humanly possible.

I can see myself in Audrey, in those times when you just can't seem to keep your head above water. When just putting on a clean shirt is enough to drain your energy and everything feels like a failure. But, like Audrey, you just keep on going, persevering, and putting on a clean shirt until it gets easier. The Letdown has awakened something inside me; something that feels understood and accepted, a feeling that connects me more closely to women around me and something that yearns to hear the Australian accent represented more on my television. Ultimately, The Letdown celebrates being human and making mistakes but trying really hard to be a better version of yourself. Now, excuse me while I spend the week binge watching The Glitch, Sisters and Laid.

Celeste MullerComment