“An immediate must-watch for anyone craving a romantic comedy that is neither predictable nor sappy”
In Colin from Accounts, impulsive medical student Ashley (Harriet Dyer) and artisanal brewery owner Gordon (Patrick Brammall) find themselves bound together by the aftermath of an accident involving a small terrier. A hit with audiences and critics alike, the Australian series is everything your typical boy-meets-girl story is not. Seamlessly intertwining comedy with drama, it tells a refreshing story and features complex characters trying to figure life out and realise the beauty in being brave enough to show one’s true self.
The mismatched couple meets one morning at an intersection when Gordon drives to work and Ashley walks to an exam. After some miscommunication and both signalling for the other to go first, Ashley eventually crosses the street and playfully flashes her breast in gratitude—a distraction that causes Gordon to accidentally hit a stray dog. After rushing it to the vet, they learn that the medical bill will be around $12,000 and that the dog will need lifelong care. With the alternative of putting it to sleep out of the question, the pair find themselves as unlikely caretakers for both the pet and accompanying bill. Whilst trying to figure out their newfound situation, it soon becomes evident that they have more in common than initially expected.
Perfectly cast, Colin from Accounts features impeccable comedic timing and charm as everyone gets their chance to shine regardless of role size. Gordon’s brewery colleagues Chiara (Genevieve Hegney) and Brett (Michael Logo) each have opportunities to add some heft to their supporting roles—as do Emma Harvie as Ashley’s best friend and fellow medical student Megan. Despite its shorter runtime of approximately 30 minutes an episode, the series gives surprising depth to its characters. Whether through complicated familial relationships, contrasting generational struggles or the impending economic realities of running a business, the series subtly reveals nuances within each personality.
This is a show that knows how to toy with expectations. Surprising viewers with multifaceted characters that are much more than what they initially seem; Ashley is a character that—in lesser hands—could’ve so easily been a walking cliché. She’s established early on as chaotic and messy, conveyed through her swallowing of spirits after accidentally oversleeping within the first minutes of the pilot. Yet she’s anything but the archetypical quirky manic pixie dream girl she may have been reduced to.
With these types of stories, it all comes down to the lead characters having palpable chemistry. Despite the extreme circumstances that brought them together, everything about Ashley and Gordon feels genuine. Brammall and Dyer, who are actually married in real life, seem to have an ease together that is impossible to fabricate. Since offscreen relationships don’t necessarily equate to flourishing chemistry on camera, it’s a joy watching these two set the bar high. They showcase a kind of magnetism that’s a delight to witness, as they riff off each other, delivering snarky comments intertwined with heartfelt honesty. Then, as the relationship between Ashley and Gordon deepens, it feels natural rather than inevitable—which is impressive considering how stories with romantic elements often feel predictable.
While watching Colin from Accounts, viewers will be laughing at one moment and squirming in their seats the next. In one episode, Gordon accidentally sends Ashley a ‘dick pic’, chasing her from a garage sale to a death bed by means of trying to try and delete it. In another, Gordon tries to play Ashley off as his sister in front of a date, only for the date to pick up on their chemistry and assume in disgust that they’re incestuous. Little gags (the vet is called Yvette; Gordon’s last name) are combined with sketch-like moments (the coffee shop next to the veterinarian clinic where every table awaits news regarding their pets), which proves to be the perfect mix of showcasing how and where comedy appears organically in real life.
Serving as the series’ creators, Brammall and Dyer also share writing credits, penning four episodes each. The result of their close contribution to the material doesn’t go unnoticed either. The ease audiences experience when watching Colin from Accounts unfold mainly lies in the characters feeling both understood and cared for by their creators. Moreover, neither Brammall nor Dyer is afraid to get awkward. A lovely thing about the series is that it isn’t above any kind of material, but rather features the perfect balance of sharply written dialogue and low-brow humour—the latter which even includes scatological humour. Yet, instead of playing those examples off as revolting, they are used to represent anxieties or purely unfortunate incidents. These more offbeat moments work because there’s always a grounded element to them—it might be awkward, but the situations are all too plausible.
Sharply written, everything from dialogue to situations unravels organically, even within its most extreme examples (including the unravelling of a drunken birthday celebration that is uncomfortably sobering to witness). This pair, who may never have met during ordinary circumstances, gradually grows into a highly believable albeit odd trio with their newfound animal companion. Over time, viewers will begin to care for them as they try their best to navigate whatever comes their way. The eight-part series is perfectly bingeable, yet should definitely be savoured as long as possible. At times silly, only to surprise with its depth and heart the next minute, Colin from Accounts is an immediate must-watch for anyone craving a romantic comedy that is neither predictable nor sappy.
Director: Madeleine Dyer, Matthew Moore, Trent O’Donnell
Producer: Ian Collie, Rob Gibson
Cast: Harriet Dyer, Patrick Brammall, Emma Harvie, Genevieve Hegney, Michael Logo, Helen Thomson, Tai Hara, Annie Maynard, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Glenn Hazeldine, Darren Gilshenan, David Roberts
Release Date: 1 December, 2022 (original release), 11 April, 2023 (UK)
Available on: SVT Play, BBC iPlayer, Binge, Amazon Prime, Yle, TVNZ+ and more depending on regional territory