The Netflix Series Throwing A Hilariously Honest Look At Motherhood

The Netflix Series Throwing A Hilariously Honest Look At Motherhood

Motherhood may be the subject of countless films and TV shows, but if, like the creators of new-to-Netflix series The Letdown, you’re disillusioned with how new parents are presented, this is the binge-watch you need in your life. Here’s what you need to know about the six-parter everyone’s talking about…

What’s the premise?

Written by Sarah Scheller and Alison Bell, this Australian comedy-drama follows new mother Audrey (played by Bell) as she navigates the unfamiliarity of parenthood. The typical tropes are all there – sleeplessness, relationship struggles, losing old friends and the strange world of new-parent support groups – but the stereotypes so often seen on screen are not. Think sex chat that turns to the topic of haemorrhoids, the frustration of dads referring to fatherly duties as “babysitting”, and new mothers’ breasts becoming public property.

Relatable, blunt and genuinely funny, the show captures the first few months of being a new mother in a way others haven’t. Take, for example, the first scene in the first episode, where we see an exhausted Audrey trying to sleep in her car. She ends up having a hilarious exchange with a drug dealer, who objects to her parking in his place of business, offering to buy the cheapest thing he has available for the privilege of not having to turn on the engine and wake up her two-month-old daughter Stevie.

“We wanted to explore the less stereotypical other notions of motherhood, such as not living up to expectations and what that meant for a woman and for her relationship,” co-writer Scheller said of the series. “We already knew that motherhood is an obliterating experience for a woman, but what about when it is for her partner, her mother and closest friends?”

Who else stars?

Duncan Fellows (Secret City, Home and Away) co-stars as Audrey’s struggling husband Jeremy, while Sarah Peirse (Heavenly Creatures, The Hobbit trilogy) nails the role of her good-time mother Verity, who can’t be bothered to babysit.

Much of the show focuses on the mothers at the new-parents group, led by down-to-earth maternal health nurse Ambrose (played brilliantly by Noni Hazlehurst), and including Sophie (Lucy Durack), a parenting advice book-obsessive; curt career woman Ester (Sacha Horler) and her overly-enthusiastic husband Ruben (Leon Ford); third-time mum Barbara (Celeste Barber); sanctimonious hippy Jenna (Taylor Ferguson); and single mother Martha (Leah Vandenberg).

What are critics saying?

The series has been met with rave reviews across the UK, Australia and America – and boasts an impressive 87% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Guardian described it as “utterly endearing” and “an affecting portrait of motherhood with spoonfuls of comedy”; Refinery29 called it “the most realistic depiction of motherhood on TV”, praising the show for “meticulously ticking off every frustration of the new mum”; and the New York Times said it “blends emotional sob sessions with witty one-liners, leaving you pitying and laughing at the new parents.”

Is it based on a true story?

The Letdown’s depiction of motherhood is so real, fans have been wondering if it’s inspired by real life events. While some aspects may be dramatised, Scheller revealed the show is definitely based her and Bell’s own experiences and feelings.

“The inspiration for the pilot came about through our own personal experiences with new motherhood,” she said. “More specifically, it was after my own ill-fated encounter with a local mothers’ group that the idea began to percolate.”

Anything else to know?

Fans across the globe are clamouring for a second series. So, will we get one? Australia’s ABC network, on which the show originally aired in 2016, stopped production after the first season and has yet to resume filming, which doesn’t sound promising. But, since being given a new lease of life on Netflix – it was released in full on the streaming site just last month – and receiving worldwide attention, a renewal now seems highly likely. Watch this space…
Series 1 of The Letdown is available to watch on Netflix now

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily