The young ones

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - ANOOSKA TUCKER- EVANS

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.

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