The Wrong Girl
Lily is in a tug of war between two men and trying to hold the fort in her TV job, in TEN's upbeat new drama.
TV has been chockful of females who are a gun at their profession but struggle to control their domestic lives: Grey’s Anatomy, Ally McBeal, The Mindy Project, Love Child and a certain show called Offspring.
Meet The Wrong Girl, 29 year old Lily Woodward (Jessica Marais) a TV producer on The Breakfast Bar. She lives with flatmate Simone (Hayley Magnus) in the hip, inner ‘burb of Yarraville. But a spontaneous one night stand with best friend Pete (Ian Meadows) unsettles her at the same time as pressure mounts on the work front.
Breakfast Bar producer Sasha (Doris Younane) rejects Lily’s latest story pitch and instructs her to assist segment producer Nikkii (Christie Whelan Browne) into coaxing hunky chef Jack (Rob Collins) becoming their new TV chef. However a distracted Lily manages to make a bad first impression on Jack, who consequently plays hard to get.
Also in this busy ensemble are Lily’s parents Mimi (Kerrie Armstrong), Anthony (Steve Vizard) and brother Vincent (Hugo Johnstone-Burt), Pete’s dad Ivan (Kevin Harrington) and The Breakfast Bar team Eric (Craig McLachlan), Erica (Madeleine West), Hamilton (Hamish Blake) and producer Dale (David Woods).
Writer Judi McCrossin sets up plenty in the opening episode, adapted from Zoë Foster Blake’s novel, and despite the parade of characters it hangs together quite well under director Daina Reed.
Marais again exudes confidence as the centre of a TV universe -literally- allowed more lightness than the darker ripples of Love Child. In the frenzied goldfish bowl of breakfast television (where McLachlan is having fun as a restless, vain anchor), Lily looks set to ‘save the day’ with her experience. But she is paddling madly below the surface.
The relevance of the title is not readily apparent in the opening episode, but it alludes to Lily’s tug of war between two males. There’s also a fair slice of Men from Mars and Women from Venus in McCrossin’s script too.
Both Ian Meadows and Rob Collins arrive as men with opposing approaches, with Meadows afforded a more rounded character from the outset. I’m very happy to see faces such as Kerry Armstrong and Doris Younane back on our screen and the fine Hugo Johnstone-Burt will extend the depth of characters here.
I’d be remiss not to mention the “TV within TV” element of this drama. It’s doubtless a risk. Media as workplaces can appear aloof to audiences and this one has its share of shallow types (you can play ‘guess the real world inspiration’). Dialogue such as “Is he interested on being on network television?” “Have you got any sponsors interested in your story idea?” and “The segment pays for itself,” had the ring of authenticity.
The Wrong Girl gets off to a promising start and so long as viewers are happy to buy Marais in another series role, it should slip snuggly into TEN’s female-skewing Wednesday line-up.
The Wrong Girl premieres 8:30pm Wednesday on TEN.