The Secret Life of Us: articles


Ten tries again to find an audience for The Secret Life of Us.

The Secret Life of Us

To the list of shows that have jumped the shark (that point when a show loses the plot) following the departure of key characters, we can add The Secret Life of Us, the fourth series of which returns to our screens tonight at the special shark-well-and-truly-jumped timeslot of 10.30pm.

Ten tried to screen this series last year but it flopped painfully; frankly, it's little wonder.

One of the initial strengths of Secret Life was the manner in which it depicted the role of friendship in defining who we are.

Take away the familiar friends Alex, Rex, Gab, Richie, and in many respects, you've taken away the show's reason to exist.

All that you're left with are the writing flaws, which have been all the more glaring in recent series.

Tonight's return episode highlights the problem.

Evan (Samuel Johnson), once the cheeky, yet angst-ridden, voice of the program, barely appears, the downgrading of his role an apparent preparation for his departure in three weeks.

Kelly (Deborah Mailman) is still around, but her character by now seems mostly a vehicle for subtle-as-a-sledgehammer associations between her psychological studies and her own psychological state: she even walks into the office of her university lecturer/possible love interest Frank (Rhys Muldoon) carrying a book entitled Mysteries of Attraction.

Elsewhere, there's artificial conflict, bizarre metaphors (Lucy, played by Alex Schepisi, describes her absent fiance as a "pepper grinder"—whatever that means) and sex, and more sex, and sex until you're sick of the mention of sex.

Like the twentysomethings it so successfully depicted in its first two series, The Secret Life of Us was once fresh, witty, vibrant.

Now showing the wounds of age, it's probably time for it to grow up—or move out.

By Kenneth Nguyen
January 13, 2005
The Age

The Secret Life of Us

I've never been a fan of The Secret Life of Us. The shallow, self-absorbed behaviour of most of the characters either annoys or bores me, and the program's one glowing light, Deborah Mailman, never gets enough screen time to make watching a pleasure.

They inhabit a subculture where a man's worth as a lover, perhaps even as a human being, is measured by what he wears and the number of women he has bedded. The apparent solution to any relationship break-up is, naturally, to go out, get tanked and get laid.

In the midst of all this sails Mailman as Kelly, whose inherent sweetness and honesty makes the others look even more two-dimensional. Tonight, she's sweaty with fantasies about her university lecturer (with whom she shared an interrupted pash in the long-forgotten last episode).

Disarmingly, she admits that she doesn't see herself as sexy, which makes a refreshing change from most of her friends.

By Judy Adamson
January 20, 2005
Sydney Morning Herald