Mother load:

Gear­ing up for a week of com­edy on Three.

The TV Guide - - CONTENTS -

Sarah Nealon catches up with the cast of Mean Mums, one of five lo­cal come­dies screen­ing over four days for Three’s Com­edy

Pi­lot Week. Pub­lic com­ment on Three’s Face­book page will help de­ter­mine which shows will be given the green light for a se­ries.

Ex­cite­ment, ap­pre­hen­sion and ner­vous­ness are to be ex­pected when a child starts school.

From re­mem­ber­ing where the toi­lets are to be­com­ing ac­cus­tomed to class­room eti­quette, there is a lot to take in when you are five years old in a new en­vi­ron­ment.

It is also a big deal for par­ents for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons. For some, it is a chal­lenge in­ter­act­ing with moth­ers and fa­thers they ei­ther don’t know or have lit­tle in com­mon with.

This is the ba­sis for the com­edy Mean Mums when new en­trant Ryan (Ed­die Waspe) walks through the school gates with his mother Jess, played by for­mer Neigh­bours ac­tor Mor­gana O’Reilly.

Made by South Pa­cific Pic­tures, whose pro­duc­tions in­clude Short­land Street and West­side, the pi­lot show also stars Anna Jul­li­enne (Short­land Street, 800 Words) and Aroha Raw­son (Ma­hana, Cover Band).

Mean Mums was cre­ated by Amanda Ali­son who has writ­ten for shows such as Welling­ton Para­nor­mal, The Cul De Sac, Sunny Skies and The Moe Show.

It was filmed at a West Auck­land pri­mary school and looks at how Jess han­dles the play­ground pol­i­tics.

“What I re­ally love about Jess is that she’s kind of ev­ery­thing – she’s not just one thing or an­other,” says O’Reilly, 33. “One of her at­tributes, which I just love, is that she doesn’t think be­fore she speaks.

“Usu­ally it means it’s a faux pax or some­thing like that so she’s re­ally gen­uine and she can also be re­ally ir­ra­tional and com­pet­i­tive. And she’s a bit of a hot mess but, at heart, she’s a good one.”

O’Reilly isn’t a school mum in real life but she has a three-year-old daugh­ter, Luna, and is preg­nant with baby num­ber two. In Mean Mums, her on-screen son Ryan is her real-life nephew, Ed­die Waspe.

“It was so great,” she says. “It’s a big deal for a kid to be fo­cused for six hours. It’s a school day that they have to do ob­vi­ously on set.

“It meant I could be a good sup­port per­son for him right there. Also it meant that we could play around be­cause he did all these won­der­ful lit­tle im­pro­vised mo­ments.”

O’Reilly, who is the daugh­ter of renowned dancer and chore­og­ra­pher Mary Jane O’Reilly, lives in Mel­bourne with her di­rec­tor hus­band Peter Salmon and Luna. The ac­tress flits be­tween Aus­tralia and New Zealand, de­pend­ing on where the work is.

“I did a lit­tle play ear­lier in the year and at the mo­ment I’m di­rect­ing a play for the Mel­bourne Fringe Fes­ti­val. I have a lot of voice work that I do along the way,” she says.

“I stalk ev­ery­body con­stantly in New Zealand as the voice of The Ware­house.”

She is also ap­pear­ing in Went­worth’s sev­enth sea­son which isn’t ex­pected to screen un­til next year.

Anna Jul­li­enne, who will be back on our screens soon in 800 Words, is also busy with the­atre work this year and had just re­turned from a play re­hearsal when she spoke with TV Guide. In Mean Mums, Jul­li­enne plays Heather, who is unim­pressed by O’Reilly’s char­ac­ter Jess. “She is a high-aim­ing per­fec­tion­ist who puts ev­ery­thing into moth­er­hood that’s for sure,” says Jul­li­enne, who has two sons, aged two and four. “She takes it very se­ri­ously and she can be tough on her­self and tough on oth­ers.” Just don’t ex­pect Heather to be any­thing like Katie, the artist and kind-hearted mother she plays in 800 Words. “It’s good to have a va­ri­ety of char­ac­ters and some­times it’s quite lib­er­at­ing to just be a bit mean to some­one in your pre­tend life,” she says. School mum Heather was in­spired by real-life play­ground in­ter­ac­tions and ob­ser­va­tions. “When the writer was speak­ing on it – and she has school-aged chil­dren (like) a lot of the other women around the ta­ble – they were like, ‘Yes, I know a mother like that’,” says Jul­li­enne. “Heather is a re­ally strong char­ac­ter and you wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily think that you would bang into a mother like that but ev­ery­one had a Heather in their ex­pe­ri­ence which I found kind of quite in­ter­est­ing.”

“Some­times it’s quite lib­er­at­ing to just be a bit mean to some­one in your pre­tend life.”

– Anna Jul­li­enne

Man­gere Vice

A street-smart Auck­land de­tec­tive is paired with a church-go­ing de­tec­tive from the af­flu­ent sub­urb of Ep­som. They have their work cut out for them when they must in­fil­trate the no­to­ri­ous Killer Whales gang. Star­ring Co­hen Hol­loway, Rachel House (above), and Ana Scot­ney. Writ­ten by Da­mon Fepulea’i. Screens Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm

The Lonely Hearts Mo­tel

A mother and son, who man­age an un­usual Palmer­ston North mo­tel, are on the verge of fail­ing their mo­tel in­spec­tion when a rel­a­tive, and silent part­ner in the busi­ness, turns up unan­nounced. Star­ring Millen Baird, Ginette McDon­ald, Toby Sharpe, Fa­situa Amosa. Writ­ten by Millen Baird (right) and Siob­han Marshall. Screens Mon­day, 9pm

Side­lines

Billed as Mod­ern Fam­ily meets Se­in­feld, four dis­sat­is­fied thirty-some­thing sub­ur­ban par­ents are forced to spend Satur­day morn­ings watch­ing their chil­dren’s soc­cer team. Star­ring Nick Rado, Tarun Mo­hanbhai, Chris Parker and Donna Brook­banks. Writ­ten by Nick Rado (above) and Tarun Mo­hanbhai. Screens Mon­day, 8.30pm

Golden Boy

In the rugby-mad and (fic­tional) ec­cen­tric town of Craw­don, an as­pir­ing jour­nal­ist named Mitch works in the fam­ily dairy and helps her mother run a cheap-look­ing home­made news­pa­per. Mean­while, Mitch’s not-very-bright brother has just been made an All Black and it looks like Mitch is des­tined to live in his shadow. Star­ring Hay­ley Sproull, Dean O’Gor­man, James Rolle­ston (left) and Kim­ber­ley Cross­man. Writ­ten by Alice Sned­den, Nic Samp­son, Eli Matthew­son and Thomas Ward. Screens Tues­day, 8.30pm

Aroha Raw­son, Mor­gana O’Reilly and Anna Jul­li­enne in Mean Mums

Mor­gana O’Reilly with her nephew Ed­die Waspe

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