THIS ARTICLE WAS FEATURED IN ISSUE 3 WHICH YOU CAN READ HERE
Have you ever noticed recently that there has been an influx of autistic/Asperger’s characters appearing on television? Of course you are familiar about Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory but there are others such as Abed Nadir in Community, Max Braverman in Parenthood, Will Graham in Hannibal and Sonya Cross in The Bridge. When these characters are put on the spotlight in these TV shows, they are portrayed as people who are very different from those around them – people with brains wired differently which make for complex interactions that open viewers’ minds to a very real issue. It may seem, then, that creating a TV show in the genre of comedy that focuses on the adventures and misadventures of an autistic person would unjustly trivialise the problem and turn it into a farce. Nevertheless, a bold step in that direction has been taken in the form of an Australian online mini-series called Goober and surprisingly, the resulting product is one sensational comedy with a loveable and relatable main character.
Goober follows the story of Harry, who is an Uber driver with autism, as he tries to go about his job, maintain a positive familial interaction with his supportive father and “woo the unsuspecting girl of his dreams.” Most of the action takes place in Harry’s Uber car as he transits a variety of people across Adelaide – the people he meets range from a bridal party to a Middle-Eastern couple to a pair of hip-hop artists – and most of the comedy in the series is derived from his awkward and chaotic interactions with these people. The remarkable star of the show is Brendan Williams, a former Adelaide Hills postman who is on Goober looking to diversify his acting career, having already starred in several independent short films beforehand. And accompanying him on this wild journey is veteran actor Shane Jacobson of Oddballand Kenny fame playing Harry’s father who communicates to Harry on the phone – the recording of these voice scenes being one of William’s proudest moments during the making of the series.
Headlining the comedy series in the creative department is Kirsty Stark, owner of the Adelaide-based production company Epic Films and the artistic mind behind the online series Wastelander (which has been shown in such venues as SXSW and the Webfests in Los Angeles and Marseilles), it’s sequel Wastelander Panda: Exile (which premiered at Fantastic Fest) and the 2016 Australian feature film A Month of Sundays which was directed by Matthew Saville. Helping her out in the project are directors Brendon Skinner and Simon Williams, two young professionals well-versed in the art of film-making thanks to their intensive mentorship with AMPCO Films in 2010, their winning credentials from the Beijing MPA CICE International Pitching Competition in 2011, the production company Gravity Films that they founded and their participation in the 2016 MIFF Acceleration Program; together, this dynamic duo have created internationally-recognised short films such as See-Saw Sweethearts, Monkeybar Mafia and Toot Toot, corporate web-series such as Age Matters and Is It Dementia and the Australian feature film Survival Instinct with their continual drive to create inspirational and entertaining content for a world-wide audience to enjoy. Completing the team is AWGIE-nominated writer (and actor) Ben Crisp from SBS’s Danger 5 and Heaps Good Hostel, Foxtel’s Changed Forever, ABC’s Anzac Girls and Fringe Festival’s Don’s Party, The Odd Couple and Battlers and Dreamers as well as the comedy radio series Spittoon: With Ben and Tom; his PhD-backed writing aptitudes have won him recognition from such national institutions as Screen Australia, the Australian Film Institute, the South Australian Screen Awards and WA Premier’s Book Awards.
Goober (as of the writing of this article) has been out for a few weeks now since Boxing Day 2016 and it already has gained some positive feedback as evidenced on the series’ official Facebook page. Currently all six episodes (all of them 6 minutes long) are available for binge-watch viewing on ABC’s iView.
THOMAS MITCHELL FRIEND IS A FREELANCE WRITER FOR POPCORN MAGAZINE
Header Photo – Supplied