Cracker cast anchors new TV series
The legal office of Gruber & Gruber doesn't have an architecturally designed staircase or city views.
Nor does it have a glass-walled conference room where the crystal water jug is brought in by an immaculately dressed but unspeaking assistant. Absent are fast-talking legal eagles with perfect posture and a black Amex card.
At Gruber & Gruber, you'd be lucky to hold onto your pen while Helen Tudor-Fisk, the title character in Kitty Flanagan's ABC comedy Fisk, prefers an oddly cut mousy-brown suit that looks like it was picked up in bulk from Fosseys' going-out-of-business sale in 1992.
And that's the point of Fisk - finding the comedy in small, frequently awkward interactions in a drab suburban law office above a coffee shop. And there's plenty of laughs to be found in this amusing series.
Created by Flanagan and Vincent Sheehan and written by Flanagan and her sister Penny Flanagan, the series co-stars Julia Zemiro, Marty Sheargold, Debra Lawrence and Aaron Chen.
Helen Tudor-Fisk has returned home to Melbourne after the bust-up of her marriage and being sacked from a more prestigious city firm.
Bearing her former Supreme Court Justice father's name and being of a relatable age for the firm's widowed clients, she's hired by Sheargold's Ray Gruber without a reference check.
Ray's sister Roz Gruber (Zemiro) has been temporarily suspended from practising law but that doesn't stop her from giving Helen all sorts of career and "mentoring" advice. Roz's pretensions of grandeur aren't quite on the same wavelength as Helen's snarkier (but never mean) demeanour.
Gruber & Gruber specialises in wills and probate and as much as Helen thought dealing with dead people's affairs might suit her desire to minimise contact with people, emotions are high when you're faced with people's loss.
But Fisk is not heavy or burdened with grief. Helen's day is filled with more seemingly petty matters, from the dividing of ashes to will-mandated vasectomies. Not every set-up pays off - it could've done without the genital painting - but it manages to traverse the thorny areas of death without overly trivialising it.
On the personal front, Helen's life is still a bit of a mess, engaged in a passive-aggressive war with her Airbnb landlords while her relationship with her father is at something of an impasse since the recent death of her mother.
But at least her dog Artie is extremely cute.
With its cracker cast, Fisk is a pleasurable half-hour comedy that makes great use of Flanagan's comedic talent - of course, since she and her sister wrote it, you'd expect nothing less.
While the show isn't as acerbic as Flanagan's usual brand of humour, Fisk's more understated vibe makes this an absorbing, entertaining series.
Fisk starts on Wednesday, March 17 at 9pm on ABC and iview
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Originally published as Cracker cast anchors new TV series