Small start leads to bigger things
COMEDY Twentysomething started out so small co-creator, director and actor Jess Harris didn’t think too hard about the show’s character names. Harris and co-creator and co-star Josh Schmidt just named the lead roles after themselves – Jess and Josh. The series aired on community station, Channel 31.
The thought that six years after its public broadcast debut, it would screen for a second season on ABC2 never occurred to Harris – or Schmidt.
‘‘We kept the same names because we are friends in real life,’’ says Harris. ‘‘We didn’t think it would go anywhere, so we thought let’s just make it easy for ourselves.’’
After first airing on Channel 31 in 2007, Twentysomething had its first season on ABC2 in 2011. It sold to TV networks in New Zealand and Germany and was available online and on DVD. Harris says the series is more reality than fiction. ‘‘Josh and I are best friends in real life and best friends in the show so there is a sense of reality to it all,’’ Harris says.
‘‘We hang out every weekend so there is a real truth to it all and they say you write what you know.’’
One of the reasons it’s taken two years for the show to return is because it’s taken that long for Harris to cobble together a script and everything else that goes into making a TV series.
Aside from the six episodes in season two, there’s also six two-minute webisodes to explain what Jess and Josh have been up to between seasons.
Series two starts when the pair return from a backpacking adventure through Europe – and the trip of a lifetime is contained in the webisodes.
‘‘I draw heavily from my life experience and what has happened to me or my friends,’’ Harris says.
‘‘I do look at my journey through my 20s and I did the backpacking and you come back and have to hit the reset button and start again.’’
The series also features the return of Gold Logie winner Hamish Blake, who went to high school with Harris – in real life. Blake, who was spared being called by his first name, had a cameo in the original Channel 31 series and plays Jess’s former boyfriend Billy.
– DARREN CARTWRIGHT
Twentysomething: Thursdays from June 27, 8.30pm, ABC1.
Jess Harris and Josh Schmidt