TV show that’s not for everyone
After the first season of his comedy series, The Other Guy, came out in late 2017, creator, writer and actor Matt Okine wasn't so sure he'd get to do it again.
"I wanted to but there were a fair few factors that made that difficult," he told news.com.au. "I went away for a few months afterwards - I wanted to have a holiday - and I think that didn't help."
"Why, why don't you think it helped?" Okine's co-star Harriet Dyer chimed in from her position sprawled horizontally across an extremely plush sofa in a room at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney.
"Because there was momentum," Okine explained to Dyer. "People were talking about it and I was like 'Don't call me for a couple of months'.
"When I got back and I was like, 'I'm ready'. People were like, 'What? Who are you?'"
Well, someone must've remembered because Okine and Dyer are back for a second season, dropping on Stan this week, and they've added some notable names to the call sheet: Claudia Karvan and Picnic At Hanging Rock's Lily Sullivan.
The Other Guy's return marks the start of Stan's big summer push of Australian original content, a necessary pivot in focus and marketing after the streamer lost the rights to popular, family-friendly Disney content after the House of Mouse launched its own platform.
Along with Okine's show, Stan is also dropping in the next few weeks two premium dramas, The Commons and The Gloaming, and Justin Kurzel's film True History of the Kelly Gang.
But Okine's show, a scruffy, sassy comedy about young Sydneysiders, is a different beast. Where the others are slick and big budget, The Other Guy is laced with a laid back but defiant attitude.
Its main characters, AJ (Okine) and Stevie (Dyer) are loveable messes. They are far from having their sh*t together - broke, career-stalled and without a cuddle buddy.
"I think that's what people love about the show," Okine said. "Someone messaged me on Instagram the other day, saying, 'Oh man, can't believe I just saw a show where people are slamming rails in the bathroom in Surry Hills'.
"That is so much of the life that exists in this city, whether it's good or bad or whether you agree with it or don't. So much of that is happening behind closed doors."
Dyer added: "I've had lots of girls coming up to me and saying they feel seen. Young women who said, 'I just got the morning after pill and seeing that scene meant so much to me'. That's something we haven't seen on telly.
"I think that's quite cool because it probably speaks to a specific group of people but at least they love it.
"My boyfriend's parents watched it and they didn't even understand what we were saying, I think they needed subtitles. Maybe it wasn't for them.
"I think if you try to make a show for everyone that everyone likes just a little bit, then it's going to be bad. If you make a show that is just for a few people, but they absolutely love it, and feel like they're being seen, then I think you've done a good job.
"The minute you try to please everyone, it's death. Death to comedy and death to authenticity."
Dyer's boyfriend's parents - the ones who needed subtitles - might not even know what "slamming rails" means (it means to snort cocaine, by the way - thanks, Urban Dictionary).
But Okine and Dyer are both getting at something here - the idea that there is now so much content, and so many different platforms for content, that not every show has to be The Big Bang Theory. You can make your show for a particular segment of viewers.
"I think there's a shift in mentality when it comes to hitting audiences from all of the networks," Okine said. "It used to be, 'We want a show for eight-year-olds and 80-year-olds'.
"But 25-year-olds don't want to watch something eight-year-olds also watch, or 80-year-olds watch. Stan has said from the beginning, 'Make sure you hit your audience, whatever show you're going to make, we just care that audience really likes it, you just serve your people'."
The other reason for The Other Guy's two-year break is Dyer landed the lead role in an expensive US network show, The Inbetween on NBC, which was cancelled last month after one season.
"I couldn't compete against this big blockbuster show," Okine said, before adding that he was "nervous" Dyer would've been too spoiled with all the money a US network show could spend.
Dyer chimed in, "Yeah, it cost like $6 million an episode!"
Okine said in response, "We could've made 10 series of The Other Guy with the budget on that one episode."
Dyer admitted that she had to reset herself "a little bit" after returning to Australia, especially after the experience of the well-oiled American production.
"First day back on set here, I rock up, ready to go and the camera crew aren't even there! So I'm just on this plastic stool in the sun going, 'Why am I here?'
"But I had a little chat with myself, 'Harry, it's just not going to be the same and you look like an arsehole'."
One of the key distinctions between the first and second seasons of The Other Guy is we get a lot more of Stevie, away from AJ.
"I got to do more stuff that wasn't always an accessory to AJ's character," Dyer said. "You get to see her go to work now, go on dates.
"When you've got a protagonist like AJ in the first season, you do have to operate around him, but because Stevie was such a loved character, that gave her licence to have her own storylines, which I was really happy for."
Okine was also excited about the "dual protagonist" set-up of season two, but what he's the keenest on in season two, he claimed, is the cock sock.
"I'm glad I finally show nudity from the front. I finally got to show people what a cock sock looks like. I denied them for too long in season one.
"So it was time to unleash the full-frontal cock sock joy and wonder."
The Other Guy season two is streaming now on Stan
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