As well as reviewing the parent series, I decided to review the new web series of Playing For Keeps, Playing For Keeps: Sidelines.
The Ten Play website states that “a woman’s car is her own personal haven. We make phone calls, we sing along (albeit often off key) to the radio, we check in with ourselves, and most importantly, there’s always a secret stash of snacks and an emergency change of clothes hidden somewhere between the boot and the backseat.”
The website also states that Sidelines will “allow viewers to spend time with each of our fabulous fictional ladies during those familiar and intimate car ride moments we all experience on a daily basis.”
The series is sponsored by Volvo Car Australia, their Marketing Director, Julie Hutchinson, stated to Ten Play that Volvo were excited to be involved in the series and that it offered “a great opportunity to extend our integration into the broadcast series and provide fans with bonus content throughout the season. We were able to tap into the characters natural chemistry, showcasing the cars and their key features in bite-sized comedic chunks.”
There are currently six episodes of Sidelines, each episode is about two minutes long, and was made available to viewers every week after an episode of Playing For Keeps was broadcast.
Episode 1—Birthday Surprise:
This episode appropriately kicked off with Paige approaching a car with balloons and getting in, hiding. The car turns out to be Tahlia’s, which is revealed when she and Jessie get in the car, unaware Paige is hiding in the back and are waiting for her to arrive.
Jessie asks Tahlia how living with Paige is going. Tahlia reveals that it is better than living with Connor, although Paige isn’t perfect—leaving wet towels on her bed and takeaway in the fridge. Paige, having had enough, jumps up, startles them both and points out Tahlia’s flaws, which include stockpiling wine glasses and waking her up at 5am to make smoothies. Paige than wishes her a happy birthday.
Overall I found this episode to be a very funny and sweet start to the web series, especially as it tied in with the parent series by talking about Tahlia and Paige living together.
Episode 2—Pram Ram:
This episode revolves around Jessie and Paige in the car park, leaving a café. While they are getting ready to leave, Jessie realises she left Georgie’s toy bunny in the café and goes to get it, leaving Paige to fold up the pram and put it in the boot of her car.
Paige struggles to fold it up and has to deal with someone in their own car honking at her off screen, much to her anger. The episode ends with Jessie coming back, giving Paige the toy bunny to hold while she effortlessly folds up the pram and puts it in the boot in seconds. Jessie gets in the car, and Paige follows, reminding her not to forget the bunny.
Overall this was a simple episode, with only two of the characters appearing, showcasing an all-too-common frustration that mothers and their childless friends would experience on a daily basis.
This episode only features Maddy, starting with her talking to Trav on the phone about how crazy busy she is, and asks him to take care of the kids and that she’ll be home later.
She gets off the phone, playing a mindfulness mediation recording via a phone app and starts eating a pastry. She then tells the Uber driver in the driver’s seat that she won’t be much longer, and starts to relax.
Overall I found this to be a funny episode, which successfully managed to focus on a singular character and even provide an insight into Maddy’s life that hasn’t been looked into before—how she manages to cope with her busy life.
This episode focuses on Tahlia, Jessie and Paige leaving their yoga class. The three of them talk about how relaxed they are now, with Paige and Jessie admitting they fell asleep and Tahlia rolls her eyes at them. Paige then suggests that they go and get coffees and pastries, which they agree to. Paige and Tahlia then argue over who gave who the keys. Everyone thinks Tahlia has the keys, until Paige discovers she did have them all along. Tahlia is already annoyed at this, only to discover that she got a parking ticket while they were at yoga.
Episode 5—Secret Sound:
This is the first and only episode to feature Kath, with her and Maddy in Kath’s car listening to the radio and trying to guess the ‘secret sound’. Maddy’s guess is rain, Kath’s guess is bacon frying in a pan. They light-heartedly argue about it before finding out that Kath was right and she knew due to her years of frying bacon for Brian and the kids.
Episode 6—Pub Footy:
The last episode features Tahlia and Jessie. Tahlia is dropping Jessie off at a ‘kick around’ session with the female footy players and Jessie tries to convince Tahlia to join her, as she told the girls she would show up. Tahlia is reluctant but agrees. The screen fades to black to symbolise the time jump once the girls get out of the car to go to the session. When they get back in the car, Jessie expresses her surprise at Tahlia’s footy talents, which include kicking multiple goals. Despite this, Tahlia doesn’t agree to go to another session.
Overall I enjoyed this web series as it provided funny little extras or moments with the characters. The episodes were well-written, self-contained stories, and even provided an insight into the characters that hasn’t been shown in the parent series. I hope the web series continues if the parent series is renewed.