In the second episode of Stan’s original Australian series The Other Guy, Stevie (Harriet Dyer) takes her best friend AJ (Matt Okine) with her to buy the morning-after pill.
She’s so hungover she can’t walk so is travelling around the shopping centre on a buggy.
After making small talk with the pharmacist, she suddenly says, “quick gear change, the morning-after pill”.
What follows is the most accurate (and perhaps only) portrayal of being a young woman buying emergency contraception I’ve ever seen. You’re asked questions you a) don’t know the answer to (e.g. ‘when was the intercourse?’ ‘lol, I can’t remember’), and b) have no intention of answering honestly (‘have you taken this before?’ ‘maybe once… or twice…’).
Listen to Clare Stephens and Monique Bowley interview Harriet Dyer on The Binge. Post continues after audio.
You’re very familiar with what the pharmacist is about to tell you (‘your next period might be heavier, or a bit late’) because you’ve either read about it online or heard it several times before, and you stand there awkwardly not really knowing what to do with your… hands, when a complete stranger is asking about your sex life in public.
When Stevie leaves, she explains to AJ that she always tells the guy she’s slept with that the morning after pill costs $70, and obviously, he has to pay for it (it’s only polite). “I literally just made money,” she explains.
This scene is one of many where Harriet Dyer shines as a young, unapologetic and funny Stevie, who has a non-existent thyroid problem and who fantasises about finding out she’s actually a supermodel, but has a condition where she just can’t see it.
It’s only while watching The Other Guy that you realise how absent such a character has been from Australian television – despite her ubiquity in real life. Audiences at Stan’s 2017 Showcase laughed every time Stevie appeared on screen, either because they knew her, or they were her. But for some reason, a young woman who shares a platonic relationship with a male lead, and isn’t there to be sexy, or a love interest, simply doesn’t feature in mainstream shows.
Speaking to Mamamia, Dyer said she's never seen someone like Stevie represented on Australian screens, probably "because so much of our content is for network television".