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Harriet Dyer and Patrick Brammall in 'Colin From Accounts' | Image: BINGE

INTERVIEW: How ‘Colin From Accounts’ Became Australia’s Anti-Rom-Com

Make no mistake, the Hollywood rom-com is back. From Glenn Powell and Sydney Sweeney’s smash hit Anyone But You to Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine’s steamy love affair in The Idea of You, the often-predictable ‘Will they? Won’t they?’ formula is taking the global box office by storm, but for Aussies Patrick Brammall and Harriet Dyer, the genre looks very different.

The duo’s breakout hit, Colin From Accounts, flips the script on rom-coms as we know them, injecting an uneasy sense of reality that feels, at times, entirely too real. Forget coffee shop courtships and dancing in the rain, this little Aussie show embraces the awkward discomfort of finding love in your 30s and dealing with the consequences thereof. Helmed by real-life partners Brammall and Dyer, the series focuses on Ashley and Gordon, two singles brought together after a car accident and an injured dog whom they subsequently name Colin. A few awkward sexual encounters, a power outage and a deeply memorable trip to Costco later, love starts to blossom.

Harriet Dyer and Patrick Brammall in 'Colin From Accounts' | Image: BINGE
Harriet Dyer and Patrick Brammall in ‘Colin From Accounts’ | Image: BINGE

Admittedly, starting a rom-com by running over a border terrier is an unusual approach, but it feels strangely fitting. The Australian sensibility is entirely different from that of other parts of the world, and as we’ve seen countless times before, with hits such as Kath & Kim, Upper Middle Bogan, and Utopia, it takes a small dose of reality to get viewers on board. It’s something Brammall, who is perhaps best remembered for his role in arguably the nation’s best awkward comedy, The Moodys, knows all too well.

“Even though part of our pitch was like, ‘Oh, Australia’s never done a rom-com’, we never really set out to hit the tropes of a rom-com,” he tells us. “It was just like, what’s funny? What feels real? And as actors, what do we want to do? It’s fun. Let’s enjoy it because it’s ours.”

Season one of Colin From Accounts premiered on BINGE back in 2022 and massively outshone expectations, taking home three wins at the 63rd Annual TV Week Logie Awards, prompting the streamer to run it back again for another instalment. We sat down with the real-life partners and co-stars ahead of the season two launch to talk about the romance of hit-and-runs, making a move, and why babies should get report cards. It was a chaotic and unusual affair, but you’d expect nothing less from the stars of arguably Australia’s most entertaining new series.

MoM: Congratulations on season two. What has it been like to witness your little project take a life of its own and be as successful as it has been?

Harriet Dyer: Yeah. I mean, that was our first child. Season two was like another birth.

Patrick Brammall: It’s a weird balance of letting go of control of a thing that’s just been ours. It is hard to do, but also a huge relief to give it over.

Harriet Dyer: It’s kind of like a baby in the sense that it gets report cards, doesn’t it?

Patrick Brammall: Just like babies do.

Harriet Dyer: Well, like kids do. It gets judged all the time, and I have to personally not read the reviews because it’s too much for my brain. But people have ownership over it. They feel a certain way about the characters and that is amazing.

Patrick Brammall: That’s one of the things we thought about when we sat down to write season two, was people are going to have opinions and expectations about what the show is, what it should be doing and that sort of stuff. So we wanted to be respectful to that, but also never pander to that. So we wanted to keep kind of pushing and also to make it interesting for us and fun for us. We didn’t want to just do the hits again at all.

Patrick Brammall in 'Colin From Accounts' | Image: BINGE
Patrick Brammall in ‘Colin From Accounts’ | Image: BINGE

MoM: Is it less pressure launching season two than it is season one, would you say?

Harriet Dyer: It was a different kind of pressure. Pressure because you don’t want it to be less than season one, but less pressure because you know it’s already loved a bit.

Patrick Brammall: That’s true. Because the pressure before we released season one was like, “Well, this is our shot at making our show, and if it sucks or if it’s just fine…” One of our biggest fears is when people just go, “Yeah, fine. It was cute. That doggy show”.

Harriet Dyer: Cute doggy show made me want to just vomit, but I don’t think we did that.

Patrick Brammall: That was our fear at the end of season one before we released it. We didn’t have that this time, but this time it’s like, “Can it hit the same kind of high watermark?” But you’ve got to put all that shit out of your mind at the end of the day anyway, and just do the thing that you like.

Harriet Dyer: Also, it’s just TV. It’s not saving lives.

Patrick Brammall and Harriet Dyer in 'Colin From Accounts' | Image: BINGE
Patrick Brammall and Harriet Dyer in ‘Colin From Accounts’ | Image: BINGE

MoM: The show is often described as a rom-com, but it’s unique and has its own Australian nuances, complete with awkward moments and Aussie banter. Were you trying to play against the traditional rom-com format?

Harriet Dyer: We’d call it a relationship comedy, just because it’s not Dharma and Greg, is it? It’s not. That’s a really cutting-edge reference. Mad About You. Actually, America had heaps of those rom-coms, didn’t it?

Patrick Brammall: Australia’s never done one. We call it a com-rom. We should call it a com-rom. It’s never going to catch on. Even though part of our pitch was like, oh, Australia’s never done a rom-com, we never really set out to hit the tropes of a rom-com. It was just like, what’s funny? What feels real? And as actors, what do we want to do? It’s fun. Let’s enjoy it because it’s ours.

Harriet Dyer: I think we just want to see more real people on TV, less people that are so kind of shiny and perfect. My favourite episode, probably of last season, of season one was episode seven, where they just both were a bit shit. He was a weird host. She was mean to him, and they weren’t perfect.

Patrick Brammall: And it had this great fight at the end as well.

Harriet Dyer: Yeah. My friend, Kate messaged me and she was like, “I’m so mad. I’m so mad at Ashley. Why was she so mean to him?” I was like, “Good, good. Be mad.”

Patrick Brammall: We like to make them full of flaws and full of little neuroses and get in their own way and stuff. It’s fun and it’s a good source of comedy as well.

Harriet Dyer and Patrick Brammall in 'Colin From Accounts' | Image: BINGE
Harriet Dyer and Patrick Brammall in ‘Colin From Accounts’ | Image: BINGE

MoM: I’d love to know, is it harder or more difficult working with a real-life partner?

Harriet Dyer: Well, I don’t have anything to compare it to because this isn’t all… I feel like it’s easier actually because we spend so much time together writing it, producing it, acting in it, in the edit, all that that if he wasn’t my husband, it would be weird. My real husband would be like, “Where have you been?”

Patrick Brammall: Yeah. Yeah. It takes so much of our time and energy.

Harriet Dyer: And it takes intimacy. There’s a lot of sitting very close. It would be a threat to any other relationship.

MoM: The one thing I really love in the screenings that I saw was the very end, the extended banter you get at the credits. Was that all improvised or is that scripted?

Harriet Dyer: Yes. Both two and three were improvised. The end of four was improvised, but we ended up putting a song on top of that. We kind of trailed off in two, three, and four with some improv, but some of it was like, “Is this good enough? I don’t know.”

Patrick Brammall: Yeah. It’s not like because we only want to do improv at the end, we never want it to feel like this is scripted, this is improv. We want it all to feel real and loose, and like the people are saying it in the moment because they’re compelled to say it. But I think we started to develop a thing at the end of each episode just to let the credits go as the image is running. So sometimes we just let it run, going, “Oh, we’ll find a song here.” And sometimes we don’t.

Season two of Colin From Accounts premiered on BINGE on May 30. The series stars Patrick Brammall, Harriet Dyer, Emma Harvie, Genevieve Hegney, Michael Logo, Helen Thomson, Darren Gilshenan, Annie Maynard, Tai Hara and Glenn Hazeldine. New cast members for season two include Celeste Barber, Virginia Gay, Justin Rosniak, John Howard, Lynne Porteus and Aunty Donna’s Broden Kelly.