Crashburn: articles

Catherine McClements

Catherine McClements, the other half from Crashburn

TV's last taboo broken

AN Australian adult drama series is about to tackle one of television's last taboos with a blow-by-blow analysis of a marriage breakdown.

Each episode of Crashburn has been divided in two halves—He Says and She Says—and follows the couple, played by Catherine McClements and Aaron Blabey, as they undergo marriage counselling and flashback to the beginning of their relationship.

Marriage guidance counsellors describe the prime-time drama as "gutsy" and predict it will prompt a flood of calls from couples experiencing difficulties in their relationships.

"The way this show treats marriage breakdown is brave," Relationships Australia CEO Anne Hollonds said.

"I believe it will get people talking about how they have to invest in their relationships if they want to get anything out of them in the same way they look after a car or a house,"

"We are still a nation of gamblers when it comes to relationships—we leave everything to chance.

"Studies have shown that people usually leave their problems to run for seven years before they will seek professional help and that's too long."

SeaChange creators Deb Cox and Andrew Knight were inspired to produce the Network Ten series after listening to a dinner party conversation about separation.

A former star of Water Rats and The Secret Life Of Us Catherine McClements plays Rosie, who suddenly tells her husband she cannot stay with him any more but she doesn't know why.

"When I first read the script, it struck me how real the story is," she said. "Television has totally changed and if you are talking about reality, it doesn't get any more real than this.

"When we were doing scenes, it wasn't unusual for one of the cast to have lived through exactly the same thing.

"I find it very cathartic—to get through all the dark stuff on set and go home and have a good time."

The Ten network, which will screen the series from August 18 at 8.30pm, has already garnered attention for the show with a clever series of promotional spots which give the male and female perspective on marriage.

"A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't. A man marries a woman expecting she won't change and she does," was the script for one of the popular spots.

Co-creator and executive producer Andrew Knight said the title of the show was inspired by the fact "when a marriage ends, men crash and women burn".

"No matter how good a relationship is, everyone goes through 'crashburn'—that time when everything comes tumbling down like a pack of cards," he said.

"It might sound rather heavy but it's not depressing at all."

Ms Hollonds, who viewed the first two episodes with her teenage children, said she expected Crashburn would prove popular with Australian men who still felt ill-equipped to communicate within their relationships.

And it would also stir debate about the evolution of modern marriage as the divorce rate approaches one in every two unions.

"We keep using the same word for marriage, but these days it is a very different situation to what it was 20 years ago," Ms Hollonds said.

"The key difference now is we haven't got society or church or state telling us you have to stay together.

"And we still attach this romantic notion to marriage that if we are in love, everything will work out.

"But people look at divorce as a lifestyle option now. And it's almost a matter of shame to stay in a marriage if you are not personally happy."

By Kathy McCabe
August 10, 2003
The Sunday Telegraph