New ABC comedy ‘Why Are You Like This’ is chaotic fun


abc comedy series why are you like this
Photo: ABC

The ABC’s irreverent new twentysomething comedy Why Are You Like This arrives on Australian screens this week.

In the series, Mia, Penny and Austin are storming through their twenties in Melbourne. They’re barely coping with adulthood, money struggles, and dreams that seem unachievable.

The well-intentioned but misguided trio follow their own moral codes as they navigate identity politics and “woke” culture in an outrage-driven world.

Mia (Oliveer Junkeer) is a bi, South Asian woman who milks her identity for all it’s worth. Penny (Naomi Higgins) is on a quest to be the ultimate ally to Mia.

And Penny’s gay housemate Austin (Wil King) is a dramatic, aloof artist with a burgeoning drag career.

The six-part ABC series is created by Get Krackin’ writer Naomi Higgins, Humyara Mahbub and Aunty Donna’s Mark Bonnano.

The series was born in 2018 as an ABC pilot that then caught the attention of Netflix. Now the streaming giant is releasing the full series internationally.

“We knew we wanted to make something we’d never really seen in Australia before,” Higgins, Bonnano and Mahbub explained.

“The original thought was, can we write the filthiest thing that’s ever been on Australian TV, but shoot and produce it with style and beauty?”

The co-creators describe their lead characters as “fun to watch, even if they aren’t necessarily good people – or are, in fact, very bad people.”

“The aim of the show is to never present people or phenomena as good or bad, and never give any sort of solution,” they said.

“This is because the world is hell, and we definitely do not have any solutions.

“The show exists in the grey, which is where we believe all of the funniest stuff is.”

Why Are You Like This filmed in and out of lockdown

COVID-19 shut down production of Why Are You Like This in Melbourne last year.

“It reached the point where continuing to film was no longer possible. Production was stood down in March for four months,” the team explained.

“Each episode was halfway filmed leaving [post-production] unable to get started.

“We managed to get the series back into production in late July. Then as we threw ourselves into shooting again, the second wave of COVID-19 hit Melbourne.”

But through “hard work, acrobatic flexibility and the medicinal properties of comedy” the entire team managed to get it finished.

Why Are You Like This premieres Tuesday (February 16) on the ABC TV Plus multichannel and streaming on ABC iView.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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