The Secret Life of Us: articles

Enter the Secret Life

MOUNT Coot-tha, we have a problem. It is a serious problem and one without precedent.

We seem to have a surplus of quality television airing on Monday nights. Ever since the return of ratings this year, Monday nights have become a viewing utopia. Pity the fools without VCRs.

Firstly, there's the 8.30pm jousting match between the intelligent yet comic spy series Alias and the pinnacle of Australian television The Secret Life of Us. Four Corners and South Park are outside chances.

Viewers then have to decide between three fine shows at 9.30pm—Sex and the City, The Practice and The Fat—before making the agonising choice between Six Feet Under and my favourite, Buffy.

Buffy should always enjoy priority viewing, of course, but even I am willing to admit it's a close call.

So why are free-to-air networks punishing their viewers in this way? Are there no longer seven days to the viewing week? Do television execs not recognise the stress involved in programming a VCR?

Unfortunately, these questions remain unanswered. So while you sit in your lounge chair tonight, contemplating your remote controls and considering the difficult choices ahead, I suggest you simply take my advice and begin watching The Secret Life of Us.

It is one of the most scintillating, true-to-life television shows I have had the pleasure to watch. Exhibit A: in this episode, Evan takes a moment to adjust his underpants; Exhibit B: bad things befall the characters and, more often than not, they bring it upon themselves.

The characters are all distinct personalities from different backgrounds, they all have flaws and they all stuff up.

Alex is a surgeon but emotionally she's a checkout chick; Evan, the writer, couldn't hold down a job to save his laptop; and Kelly divides her life into categories to make sure she's well-rounded.

Take away their wealthy wardrobes, designer decor and amazing capacity for alcohol—both physical and financial—and you've got something closely resembling real life, albeit more interesting.

This episode—another gem—illustrates the point.

Gabrielle's latest flaw is her insistence there is unrequited sexual tension ("urst", as Evan calls it) between herself and her new, remarkably unattractive boss.

She tastes both feet while trying to resolve the situation.

Meanwhile, Miranda becomes paranoid while working with her boyfriend's former fling and Kelly stresses about her relationship with boyfriend Nathan. He forgot their six-month anniversary and she's stressing fit to burst.

Then there's the ever-interesting love triangle. Alex and Rex are still going strong despite Evan's inner-monologue wishing Rex ill.

A dinner party elicits a more satisfying result.

The Secret Life of Us, Channel 10, tonight at 8.30.

By Jennifer Dudley
March 18, 2002
The Courier Mail