‘Colin From Accounts’ brings laughs, dysfunctional romance

A glance, a flash and a crash start “Colin From Accounts” off on all the wrong feet. An attractive woman walking and an attractive man in his car catch each other’s attention, and as she crosses in front of him, she cheekily flashes a breast. He’s so distracted he then hits a dog. (Spoiler alert: The dog will be OK.) It might not sound like it from the description, but as these three rather stray individuals intersect, the series metes out comedy and dysfunctional romance with a sure hand.

The two human characters, Ashley and Gordon, are played by the show’s married creators and executive producers, Harriet Dyer and Patrick Brammall. “Colin From Accounts” (what the characters name the dog) is set in Australia, whence they hail; the Australian-U.S. co-production airs here on Paramount+.

The couple moved to Los Angeles several years ago because Brammall was adapting his improvised Australian series “No Activity” for CBS All Access. “To be honest, I don’t think the script would have been written if we never moved, because it was actually born of me sitting here bored, not used to not working,” Dyer says, as she and Brammall sit at a Los Feliz cafe with their dog Walter.

“I’d only been here a month, and Patty was like, ‘You’re going crazy, go and write something,’” she recalls. “I’ve got a bit of a seedy mind. I try to look for the underbelly of life a little.”

Brammall agrees. “She’s sus.”

“I’m suspicious of people,” she elaborates. “It’s not macabre, but I feel like everyone is a sexual deviant. I was interested in what happens if men see women or women see men, there’s attraction and there’s an accident, and then you can’t hide the fact that you were just an animal.”

She wrote the pilot in four days. “Isn’t that annoying?” Brammall says. “I was busy writing something inferior.”

Says Dyer, “I kept thinking it was something magic and if I didn’t get it out and get it right it was going to disappear.”

Brammall: “She’d smack the keys and be all sweaty and feverish.”

Dyer: “I’d be largely overcaffeinated too.”

Harriet Dyer wrote the pilot for “Colin From Accounts” in four days. “Isn’t that annoying?” husband Patrick Brammall says. “I was busy writing something inferior.”

(Lisa Tomasetti/Lisa Tomasetti/Paramount+)

Dyer insists it was purely a writing exercise. “I had so little faith in myself, and in it, that I was not even that married to playing the role. I think that’s why I wrote so many insane things for Ashley to do” — the flash is only the beginning — “because I was like (a) I’ll never do this and (b) nobody will ever do this.” Until their producer got hold of it.

The couple wrote the rest of the scripts but not together. After plotting out the stories of medical student Ashley, brewery owner Gordon, their friends and family, and Colin, they split the episodes and wrote separately, swapping them back and forth. “If we were there to try to do it together, we wouldn’t get anything written,” Brammall says. Adds Dyer, “And we’d drive each other mental. We work differently; Patty’s more contemplative. He just has more confidence, so if I’d been there and we’d literally shared a laptop, we would have killed each other.”

During the production of Season 1 back in Australia, Brammall says, “I remember at the end of every week of shooting we’d be like, ‘Can you believe we got to make it?’ Also we were still dodging COVID at the time,” with their infant daughter in tow.

They credit their production company for giving them the space to make exactly what they envisioned without worrying about what anyone else thought. “My big fear was that people would think it was cute,” Dyer says.

Patrick Brammal and Harriet Dyer snuggle on an outdoor bench for a portrait.

With offers of work now streaming in, the Australian couple want to take it slow. “We just need to navel gaze for a minute and work out what that next thing is,” says Harriet Dyer, with husband Patrick Brammal.

(Yuri Hasegawal / For The Times)

Brammall chimes in. “Yeah, Harri was allergic to the idea of doing like a doggy style show.”

Dyer: “‘Doggy style?’”

Brammall: “Harri’s allergic to doggy style.”

Dyer: “I was allergic to doing a show that felt doggy.”

Brammall: “The style of dog. Print this.”

Dyer says, “Stop saying style in the same sentence as dog. I didn’t want it to be that. I didn’t want it to be wacky.”

Brammall: “It’s a minor miracle anything of quality ever gets made, and after everything you do, and all the incredible people collaborating with us, we didn’t want people to go, ‘Eh, it’s fine.’”

Dyer: “That was my terror. I’d rather someone go ‘I didn’t really like that show’ than be ambivalent. So I was nervous.”

Their instincts paid off; the series has a 100% fresh critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes. They just completed work on Season 2 in Sydney.

“We had a date last night for the first time in six months,” Brammall says. Adds Dyer, “We’ve gotta take care of the union, because our daughter tries to rip it apart.”

Says Brammall, “That’s her job.”

They’re now fielding requests to be showrunners on other projects, “and that’s so amazing, I’m pinching myself,” Dyer says. But they’ll have to feel as strongly about any new project as they do about “Colin” to say yes. Meanwhile, they need a break. “We’re so over the moon that this little accident of a TV show has done well and people want to work with us, but we just need to navel gaze for a minute and work out what that next thing is,” she says. “Also, we want to do a Season 3, because the way we’ve left Season 2, people are gonna be mad.”

Adds Brammall, “Yeah, so hopefully the commissioning network gets on board. But we just need to fill the tanks again. That’s how we protect us.”

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