The young ones
JESS Harris would like to make something very clear, she is not like her character in ABC2 series twentysomething.
While the Australian comedy about two friends in their 20s trying to work out what to do with the rest of their lives may be based on her own life, and she may share the same name as her character, the series’ writer protests the two aren’t replicas.
Her character is wild, opinionated, socially inept at times, irresponsible and manipulative of her best friend Josh ( played by co-writer Josh Schmidt).
She can also be unemotional and rude, especially to ex-boyfriend Billy, played by radio star Hamish Blake.
‘‘ I’m very different to the character Jess in terms of how she behaves and reacts,’’ Harris insists.
‘‘ I definitely have a spark and I definitely feel like I’m fun-loving and I put myself out there, but I’m definitely more socially aware than she is.’’
Having written the production six years ago for community TV in Melbourne, Harris says she never thought the series would air on a major television network and never dreamt she would have to defend herself or her character.
‘‘ I’m nervous that people are going to think I’m like that,’’ she says.
‘‘ Some people said, ‘ I didn’t really warm to her [ the character]. I don’t really like her’, so now we’re like, ‘ What have we got ourselves into?’
‘‘ I might have to be overly nice and sweet and polite in order to win people over,’’ she laughs.
Harris, 29, says co-writer and co-star Schmidt’s character is also not an accurate reflection of his true self.
‘‘ Josh in real life is a lot more outspoken, he’s not as cautious as what his character is,’’ she says. ‘‘ But he is really sweet and loyal and he’s a really great friend. The good parts of Josh’s character he is for sure.’’
Despite the pair ( pictured) being best friends in real life, producing a show together based on their lives wasn’t all pleasure, Harris reveals.
‘‘ You ask a lot of a friendship when you work with someone and sometimes a little bit of the fun gets knocked out and you’re colleagues,’’ she says.
‘‘ I called him up the night before the shoot and I said, ‘ We’ve got to remember that no matter what happens we’ve got to be really honest with each other and know that this is just a short stage and we’ll get through it’. So we really worked hard at it because it can test you.’’
So did they come out the other end unscathed?
‘‘ It hasn’t ruined us at all. We’re still friends. We see each other or speak to each other nearly every day so we’re still going strong,’’ Harris says.
While the pair is just clinging to their 20s, Harris says she’s keen to write another series to find out what happens to the characters of Josh and Jess and whether they finally get their lives on track.
‘‘ I think there are still plenty of stories to tell with them,’’ she says.