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".
"Stevie is a character so many young women relate to," she said, "but the people who relate to her aren't the type of people who are going to spend $40,000 on the new Hilux."
"So in network television they're trying to cater to all the people they're catering their ads to. The cool thing about streaming networks is people have paid the money and they're already there. They can't really complain about how rough around the edges the characters are."
Dyer, who is originally from Townsville and moved to Sydney at 18 to pursue acting, told Mamamia "playing Stevie was the closest thing to myself I've ever played. I've never been able to speak in a voice that is so close to mine."
She said the inspiration for Stevie's character came from the writers (Matt Okine, Becky Lucas, Greg Waters) and some ad libbing on her part, and laughed as she admitted "there's a bit of my sister in there".
"That scene where she (Stevie) talks about her thyroid - that is my sister. She's like, 'it's definitely my thyroid. I've got a shit thyroid, I'm not just an asshole.'"
I'd be surprised if anyone didn't see themselves, their sister/s and their friends in Stevie, who unequivocally steals the scenes in which she features in The Other Guy.
As Dyer puts it, "she's kinda the grossest parts of yourself that you love".
Stevie reminds us that women don't always have to be sexy, or mysterious, or the 'cool girl', or the 'manic pixie dream girl'. Sometimes they move into your house uninvited because, "let's be honest, you need me right now". Sometimes they bring their own goon bag to the bowlo. Sometimes they get so hungover that all they need is chips and if you don't take me to get them right now I'll be seriously angry.
And sometimes they need to buy the morning after pill and end up straight-up lying to the pharmacist.
Because they're human.
The Other Guy is available on Stan from Thursday, 17 August.
Listen to the full episode of The Binge below.
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Stan.
The brand-new Stan Original Series The Other Guy premieres only on Stan this Thursday. Created by and starring leading Australian comedian and former Triple J radio host Matt Okine, The Other Guy is a funny, raw and poignant look at break-ups in the modern age and at the harsh reality of recovering from heartbreak.
This 6-part comedy drama series follows a successful radio host, AJ Amon, who finds himself unexpectedly back in the dating pool for the first time in a decade, after discovering his long-term girlfriend has been having an affair with his best friend.