PETER Helliar was less interested in how a couple get together and more in how they stay together in his new Australian Channel 10 comedy series, How To Stay Married.
A spin off from the first episode of his 2013 ABC show It’s A Date, which followed Greg, played by Helliar, on a blind date with Em (Lisa McCune) at a Mexican restaurant, the series picks up 15 years later where the couple is married with two daughters.
“There are lots of Australian dramas where relationships are falling apart, but this isn’t about that,” Helliar said.
“This is about a couple whose kids are off to school, they still love each other but they want to know what the next part of their lives will look like.
“They are navigating the day-to-day things we all try to work out in our marriages; finding time for date night, finding time to get to their kid’s sport, potentially getting a vasectomy for their sex life or lack there of. It felt it was a rich minefield.”
Helliar, who co-wrote the show, admitted to using inspiration from his own marriage to wife Bridget (the couple has been together a similar amount of time) although it usually ended quite differently in How To Stay Married.
He said acting as Greg was the first time he had the chance to cultivate a character using a script and finding emotional depth.
“Working with Lisa, I knew she was a better actor than me and I would be completely wiped off the floor so I had to make sure I was on my game,” he said.
“She was such a joy.”
The Frankie Fish series children’s author and The Project host said he was ‘first and foremost’ a writer.
“I was always in my bedroom as a kid writing,” he said.
“The amount of books and pens I still have; writing is when I’m at my happiest. If I’m on a plane without a notebook and a pen, then I can get a bit skittish.
“Stand-up is still writing, as much as it might look like you’re making it up on the spot, which is part of the smoke and mirrors of comedy.”
How To Stay Married starts Thursday, November 8.