Set to the strains of Devo’s “Girl U Want,” THE WRONG GIRL and its star Jessica Marais come bursting onto the scene in a flurry of activity. It’s a pace that the pilot keeps up, adding a welcome bit of quirk to Australian prime time television screens. Insert standard editorial pun about the “wrong girl being so right” here.
Based on Zoe Foster Blake’s book of the same name, the series introduces us to Lily Woodward (Marais), a producer on the breakfast television show whose life and career are less than what she imagined. After sleeping with her best friend Pete (Ian Meadows) for the first time, she accidentally sends an unflattering text to celebrity chef Jack Winters (Rob Collins), and it’s up to her to to convince him to come back to the network. If only she can keep her life on track in the process, of course.
Many have already commented that the beat is a little too close to Offspring, and Australia does have a habit of repeating its successes. With it’s iTunes shuffle of a soundtrack, and a familiar slate of middle-class Melbourne faces, there’s definitely a vibe that fans of that series will dig. It’s actually really hard not to like what THE WRONG GIRL is offering, with Marais (most recently seen in Nine Network’s Love Child) an engaging lead, charming without ever having to fall into the manic pixie dream girl trope. She’s flawed, and so is everyone around her. The series plays some of this for laughs, but by the dramatic conclusion, it’s clear that there will be just as many poignant moments as there are giggles.
The pilot sets up the relationships between the rest of the cast, having already diffused the sexual tension between Lily and Pete, and creating new sets of problems for each of them. Collins, as the handsome chef, will become Lily’s primary unrequited love interest for the series, while Pete deals with the fallout from a relationship with co-worker (Leah Vandenberg). Familiar faces like Hamish Blake, Steve Vizard (as Lily’s dad), Craig McLachlan, and Kerry Armstrong pepper the supporting cast. THE WRONG GIRL is off to a strong start, and promises to be one of the most watchable shows of the current season.