July 15, 2024

In the opening sequence of Fake, food writer Birdie is arriving at a bar to meet her new dating app match, wealthy grazier Joe.

But just metres from the bar he awkwardly messages to say he’s bumped into a client and is hoping she can pretend to be his partner whilst he makes pleasantries and gets rid of him?

It should be enough to ring alarm bells, and to her credit, after meeting Joe, Birdie soon decides not to waste much more of her time.

But Joe is a charmer. Before long he has apologised and made his case for a second date.

With that, Fake, a new 8 part drama begins to reel Birdie -and the viewer- in. The series is the best local drama Paramount+ has delivered and is highly bingeworthy, if not addictive.

It’s also the best thing Asher Keddie has done since Offspring. Birdie is late 40s, with aspirations for more considered journalism than foodie articles, marriage, motherhood and living up to the ideal marriage of her demanding mother Margeaux (Heather Mitchell) and late father. Her friends, stable gay couple Anton (Nicholas Brown) and Tovey (Spencer McLaren) are about to get married. Birdie feels the pressure to land someone for herself.

Enter charismatic architect turned grazier Joe (David Wenham), a handsome, windswept romantic who can recite poets and authors, lives on a farm with his dog while juggling shared parenting and advising governments on solar and wind farms. What’s not to love?

He also messages Birdie nearly as much as Baby Reindeer‘s Martha, but with sweet nothings, insta shots of farm animals and rustic romance. The needy Birdie finds herself falling for his aura to the point of letting loose of logic for the sake of a weekend shack (it won’t be until much later that someone suggests a quick background check).

But the perfect picture is not without its cracks with his habitual cancellation and encyclopaedia of excuses. If the viewer is yelling “Wake up!” at the screen, Birdie is constantly wavering between devotion and doubts. Writer Anya Bedersdorf, drawing inspo from the book by Stephanie Wood, pulls you down the rabbit hole of Birdie’s blind obsession, skilfully guided by directors Emma Freeman, Jennifer Leacey and Taylor Ferguson.

Asher Keddie delicately swings between Birdie’s hopes and hesitations like a pendulum. If her misplaced logic drags on a little too long, then an intense drive to the airport will surely knock some sense into her. It’s one of the drama’s wildest sequences, with an integral cameo by Arka Das as driver.

The series by Kindling Pictures (which reunites Offspring’s Keddie, Freeman and producer Imogen Banks) also features supporting or cameo appearances by Freya Stafford, Janet Andrewartha, Anne Charleston, Ming-Zhu Hii, Greg Stone, John Stanton, Suzy Cato-Gashler, Suzi Dougherty and Louisa Mignone.

But it rests on the relationship of Keddie and Wenham, often as a two-hander, and here it does not disappoint.

In a world of scams, bad dates and ghosting Fake is a modern cautionary tale about trust and self-worth. It’s also a ripping yarn.

Fake screens Thursday July 4 on Paramount+.

links to content on ABC

TV Tonight 

Read More 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *