Last Man Standing: articles

The secret life of blokes

A new Australian comedy may help to explain the compulsive and sometimes bizarre behaviour of men, writes Erica Thompson.

CURIOUSLY, we meet in St Kilda.

The funky Melbourne suburb immortalised on The Secret Life of Us—which set the benchmark for Australian relationship dramas—a show Seven’s new drama series Last Man Standing will inevitably find itself compared to.

There’s a bunch of late 20-somethings living in Victoria’s capital, who congregate at a bar to discuss their loves and losses and have their inner thoughts revealed by a ubiquitous voiceover.

But this is not the new Evan, Alex and Kelly, insists Brisbane actor and star Matt Passmore.

For a start, you’re allowed to laugh.

Secret Life dealt with relationships on a much more realistic level,” he says.

Last Man Standing doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is a level of tongue-in-cheek and absurdity in this show.

“Even though certain people may fall flat on their face and get hurt, we seem to bounce back very fast.”

Described as “shamelessly heterosexual” by executive producer Ewan Burnett, the show focuses on three mates, heartbroken Adam (Rodger Corser), womaniser Cameron (Passmore) and unlucky in love Bruno (Travis McMahon).

All that testosterone will make an interesting companion to the female-driven Desperate Housewives, which will precede the drama on Monday nights.

But Passmore says the blokey series should appeal to both sexes.

“A lot of the show is based on boys trying to work out girls, which I think is something women can look at and laugh at,” he says.

“It definitely tries to pinpoint the joy of boys being boys, but these characters certainly aren’t ambassadors for all mankind. (The show) is not saying this is the epitome of the Aussie male.”

Far from it. Passmore’s character in particular sets SNAGs back a decade or two.

“He is just a slave to his impulses,” the actor says of Cameron, whose flirting and cheating ended his marriage to the love of his life, Zoe (played by New Zealand actress Miriama Smith).

“He loved being married but he just couldn’t keep it in his pants. He doesn’t sleep with women for any conquest. He’s not out to hurt anyone at all, but there is this side to him that is so impulsive and sensual that just sort of takes him over.”

And that made filming 22 episodes of the series a rather intimate experience for Passmore, who conversely, has been happily married to wife Jacqui for seven years.

“I find it really difficult to have sex now without a crew in the room,” he laughs. “It’s something I’ve gotten used to and unless someone’s lighting me or directing me I don’t know what to do any more.”

Cameron’s sexual antics might horrify Passmore (and perhaps viewers who know him best from Play School), but he admits many other aspects of the show ring true.

“There was one scene where we were all supposed to be drunk, doing karaoke and falling all over each other,” he says.

“When we finished the scene, we turned to each other and said: ‘Oh, yeah. How many times have we done that (in real life)?’. ”

While the show might not probe too deeply, Passmore says there are still flickers of honesty about the, er, secret life of young Aussie men.

“They go and they get into ridiculous situations and then they end up at the footy bar later on bouncing it off each other,” he says.

“It’s not boys getting together and sharing and caring, but underneath it, there’s a deep sense of mateship and vulnerability. These boys live for each other, really.”

Last Man Standing, Seven, Monday 9.40pm

By Erica Thompson
June 02, 2005
The Courier Mail