You’d be forgiven for assuming that Colin from Accounts, an Australian comedy series, is about a) a man named Colin and b) someone who works in accounts. Which — no offence to anyone named Colin, or anyone working in accounts — doesn’t sound like the most riveting premise for a TV programme.
Thankfully, none of those assumptions are in any way based in reality.
Colin from Accounts is the story of two single strangers brought together by an accident. The show is created and written by husband-and-wife team Patrick Brammall and Harriet Dyer, who both star as the show’s main protagonists, Gordon and Ashley.
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Episode one begins with what can only be described as the worst meet cute in human (and dog) history. Medical student Ashley is lying in bed eating crisps and texting her ex, when she realises she’s late for a training session at work. She chaotically heads out the door on foot, glugging a swig of Tequila for the road. Meanwhile, brewery owner Gordon, wakes up with last night’s porn still open on his laptop, proceeds to workout and then drive to work. At the very same time, a postman leaves a gate ajar, prompting a dog to escape and make a dash for it on the open road.
When Ashley haplessly steps off the kerb, Gordon (who’s nicknamed Flash) swerves and comes to an abrupt halt. As Ashley crosses the road, she beams at Gordon, who smiles back. They’re having a moment. Ashley then pulls down her top on one side, revealing her boob for a split second to a mesmerised Gordon. But then… disaster strikes.
A distracted, flustered Gordon gets beeped at by a car behind and promptly takes his foot off the brake. The next words out of his mouth: “Oh shit shit shit shit…”
Gordon accidentally ran over the poor little runaway dog. Don’t worry: the doggo survives. But, Ashley and Gordon are facing a A$12,000 vet bill. Who’s to blame? And who should pay up?
L-R: Yvette the vet (Annie Maynard), Gordon (Patrick Brammall), Ashley (Harriet Dyer) and an injured Colin from Accounts.
Credit: BBC/Paramount/© 2022 CBS Studios Inc., Easy Tiger Productions Pty Ltd, Foxtel Management Pty Ltd, Create NSW/Lisa Tomasetti
Suddenly, these three souls are brought together in the most unexpected circumstances, bringing a string of highs, lows, and complete an utter chaos.
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With no idea who the four-legged friend belongs to, Gordon and Ashley are thrust into the role of stand-in dog parents — a role neither of them is equipped to take on.
Without saying too much, that momentary flirtation that turned into disaster isn’t brushed under the carpet. It was just the beginning.
Colin from Accounts brings together the essential ingredients needed for a satisfying romantic comedy. First of all, you’ve got the signature acerbic Australian wit. Then you’ve got some serious will-they-won’t-they tension. You’ve got a couple of exes thrown in for good measure, just to add to the suspense. Plus, you’ve got an adorable dog that the characters can’t help but love.
Ashley isn’t exactly having a great time.
Credit: BBC/Paramount/© 2022 CBS Studios Inc., Easy Tiger Productions Pty Ltd, Foxtel Management Pty Ltd, Create NSW/Tony Mott
Ashley is a far cry from the “manic pixie dream girl” and “cool girl” stereotypes that litter a lot of romantic comedies, and not for the better. Ashley feels like an honest representation of someone who’s having a bit of a tough time and coming up against constant hurdles: Her landlord selling all her possessions without her consent; her toxic mother showing up unannounced at the worst possible times; her ex-boyfriend and current colleague being an all-round prick to her as she nurses a bruised heart. Gordon is also having a bit of a shit time, going through nerve-wracking checkups after undergoing treatment for cancer. The writing is funny as hell — even in the darkest of moments.
Ashley and Gordon have glimmering on-screen chemistry, which is just as well because they happen to be husband and wife in real life.
What I loved the most about Colin from Accounts was that it avoids saccharine lovey-dovey cringe dialogue. The show doesn’t rove into corny territory, as many rom-coms tend to. It’s honest and messy and complicated, as love stories so often are.
How to watch: Colin from Accounts is begins streaming on Paramount+ Nov. 9.
UPDATE: Oct. 31, 2023, 10:27 a.m. EDT Colin from Accounts was originally reviewed out of its BBC premiere. The review has been republished to toast its U.S. debut on streaming.