2 best friends in a charming Aussie comedy about friendship
NEW YORK (AP) — It’s time to make two new friends: Celia Pacquola and Luke McGregor.
They are real-life best friends and the creator-stars of “Rosehaven,” an adorable comedy set in their native Australia that has now been imported by SundanceTV. It airs Wednesday night at 1 a.m. Eastern.
“Rosehaven” is sweet and ever-so-gently absurd. It will tickle you.
“Every now and then I really wish we were super-edgy and dark,” says Celia with a big grin splashed across her face. “But it’s not our thing. We’re silly. We like putting ourselves down. So we just wanted to do something where we play characters who are silly and nice.”
“And we wanted a show that let us re-create the dumb conversations we have with each other,” adds Luke, whose red hair matches a just-as-bright smile.
Celia: “We pitched a bunch of stuff to the network: We were a married couple, we were psychics. There was even a haunted one. ‘Rosehaven’ was probably our fifth and final pitch.”
Luke: “We prepared for about three hours. Our pitch was over in seven seconds.”
Celia: “It was ‘Best friends in a small country town in Tasmania selling real estate.'”
Luke: “My parents are both real estate agents in Tasmania, and Celia is from a small town. So we just kind of merged the two things.”
So there it is: McGregor plays Daniel, who returns to his rural Tasmanian hometown of Rosehaven to run his ailing mother’s real-estate business. Meanwhile, Emma (played by Pacquola), his best friend from the mainland, lands on his doorstep after her marriage goes bust during her honeymoon. Their staunch friendship, and their stumbling persistence in this quirky burg, fuel the charming humor.
Luke: “We went to live with my parents in Tasmania for about a week to research the show. We got in our suits and pretended to be real estate agents. If we ever got recognized (as TV stars) we just said, ‘Our comedy didn’t work out.'”
Celia: “When we initially pitched it, the network was assuming the two characters would get together romantically. We said, ‘Maybe. We’ll just see.’ But what we saw was, they’re better as friends.”
Luke: “I think the only way they’ll get together is if WE get married in real life. But I’m in a full-time relationship. With another person.”
Celia: “He has a very understanding girlfriend. Luke and I spend more time together than they do. I spend more time with him than I do with all my Tindr dates.”
Luke: “I was scared that since we see each other whenever we’re working, we’d start associating each other with ‘homework.’ So we have friendship dates. We go to the movies or do something else fun without talking about work at all, to reset the friendship.”
Celia: “Remarkably, we’re still friends. And there was no guarantee that was gonna happen.”
They both started in show biz as standup comics, then met on the set of an earlier Australian sitcom, “Utopia,” which mines unlikely comedy from the thwarted ambitions of the fictitious Nation Building Authority. Think “The Office,” if its stated mission instead of selling paper were planning vast new infrastructure projects that never seem to get built. (Retitled “Dreamland,” the first two seasons are happily available for viewing on Netflix.)
Luke: “We’d wait around for the cameras to be set up, talking rubbish to each other.”
Celia: “We enjoy logic-ing things out: Would you rather this, or that?”
Luke: “I remember we were talking just the other day: If you had to have a third arm, where would you put it?”
Celia: “On your back!”
Luke: “So you could pat yourself on the back? But you’d have to tuck it in every time you sat in a chair.”
The day before jetting to the U.S. for “Rosehaven” publicity, the pair had wrapped season 2. They would start brainstorming Season 3 as soon as they return.
Celia: “It’s very exciting, doing another season. We didn’t feel done with the show after Season 2.”
Luke: “We didn’t even introduce the vampires yet.”
Celia: “We’re treating this trip as a holiday, a time for us to have fun.”
On the itinerary planned by Luke, a first-timer to these shores: the American Museum of Natural History and the “Ghostbusters” firehouse.
“Everything I loved growing up — ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ — is from here,” he says. “To be appreciated in the same country that made the shows I love, and to know that same country loves our show . that would be a dream!”