We should have had Why Are You Like This much earlier than this. In early 2020, the Melbourne-based production was halted when COVID-19 struck, and everything ground to a halt. The production was able to ramp back up again in between the two big lockdowns, and now in February, we find the show being launched in a third Melbourne lockdown.
But could it be – and go with me on this one – that the series is all the better for it?
Born out of the ABC’s Fresh Blood program of pilot episodes, this 6-part series has been created by Humyara Mahbub, Mark Samual Bonanno (Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun), and Naomi Higgins (former writer for Get Krack!n and familiar to some from Utopia).
The setup of three twenty-something friends navigating the complexities of adult life – perhaps more complex than ever before – might be one that we’re used to but stick with it. Austin (Wil King) is a young gay artist trying to break into drag while battling untreated depression. Mia (Neighbours’ Olivia Junkeer) is a bi woman of colour drifting from job to job. But it’s co-creator Naomi Higgins who really delivers the goods as Penny, their friend who while acknowledging her cis, straight, white privilege, continually overcompensates, leaving a trail of destruction in her wake.
Six months ago, the laughs – and there are many – might have been delivered with a slight wince. Poking fun at political correctness and the “social justice warrior” (and I use that term reluctantly) would have been difficult to separate from politics. But in early 2021, in a post-Trump world, we’re hopefully in a bit more of a safe space to be a bit more dangerous.
Expect big things from this series.
– Reece Goodwin, TV & Special Events Curator
Why Are You Like This begins on ABC TV Plus on Tue Feb 16 2021. The series will also be available to stream in full on ABC iView.