The Letdown is streaming on Netflix.
By Greg Wheeler
The Letdown is a well written comedy exploring the trials and tribulations of the early days of motherhood. From leaking nipples to sleep deprivation, The Letdown certainly doesn’t shy away from some of its more taboo subject matter but the lighthearted, amusing way they’re explored prevents it ever feeling crude or contrived. The seven episodes in this first season are cleverly written, sprinkled with some genuinely funny jokes before finishing on a few episodes that lean closer to drama rather than outright comedy. Boasting empathetic characters and a realistic depiction of parenthood, The Letdown is an incredibly endearing Australian comedy.
The story revolves around culture-shocked Mum Audrey (Alison Bell) who finds herself overwhelmed with looking after her 2 month old child. After discovering a Mum’s group and bonding with fellow parents who aren’t quite as perfect as they first appear, The Letdown explores the ugly side of parenthood with a touch of charm and comedy along the way to keep the series lighthearted. The final few episodes give a sobering finale to the characters too with an overpowering tone of drama although The Letdown manages to round out every character with a satisfying ending.
Although the story is a little cliched, ultimately it’s the characters that make this such a memorable series. Audrey is of the course the main protagonist here and she’s certainly relatable but the other characters are just as endearing in their portrayal. Audrey’s partner Jeremy (Duncan Fellows) tries to juggle work with looking after a newborn, Martha (Leah Vandenberg) has concerns with her sperm donor’s involvement with her child’s upbringing and all the other parents from the baby group have a decent amount of screen time too. It’s a nice touch and each of the seven episodes feature a different side character alongside Audrey including the local neighbourhood drug dealer who easily has the best comedic punchlines in the show.
The Letdown may not be the best comedy released this year nor is it particularly original given the subject matter but ultimately it’s the characters that make this such a memorable and charming Australian show. The comedy is implemented well with a good balance between drama and comedy to keep The Letdown fresh and moving along at a consistent pace. The many amusing observations into the ugly side of parenthood will be familiar for anyone who’s ever had a child and the way The Letdown explores this in a way that prevents falling into crudeness is testament to the excellent work put into the acting and script work. Whether this charming comedy will leave a lasting impression with you is probably dependent on how well you relate to the various characters. Parents are likely to empathise a lot more with the characters and their struggles but despite that there’s enough variety in the comedy to make this an amusing exploration into the world of parenthood.
I give The Letdown a B-.