The Time of Our Lives

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Sun­day, 8.30pm, ABC1 This con­tem­po­rary Aus­tralian fam­ily saga from the peo­ple who brought you The Se­cret Life of Us has the usual sus­pects in key roles: Jus­tine Clarke, Shane Ja­cob­son, Wil­liam McInnes, Stephen Curry and Clau­dia Kar­van. It’s ‘‘ the se­cret life of us now that we are in our 30s and 40s and have kids’’. The show fol­lows the ex­tended Tivolli fam­ily, a bunch of fun­da­men­tally de­cent peo­ple who live and work in Melbourne. There is an un­for­tu­nate ten­dency to­wards soap that needs to be hosed down, and there is enough gloopy kid stuff — lin­ger­ing on the lit­tle ones in school per­for­mances and so on — to make Nine’s House Hus­bands blush. Thank­fully this is bal­anced to an ex­tent by the ob­vi­ous he­li­copter par­ent­ing of Caro­line (Kar­van), who is con­vinced of her son’s spe­cial­ness with­out a shred of ev­i­dence. Caro­line also has a hor­ri­bly toxic re­la­tion­ship with hus­band Matt (McInnes) and their scenes to­gether are har­row­ing. The show-steal­ing Michelle Ver­gara Moore, pic­tured, is stun­ning as adopted or­phan Chai Li, es­pe­cially af­ter the char­ac­ter is stood up at her wed­ding, an event that be­comes the show’s cen­tral mys­tery. The sec­ond episode is stronger than the first. Af­ter that, love them or hate them, you’ll find your­self want­ing to see more of th­ese peo­ple.

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