Before the baby arrived Oly was a high achiever, with plans to study international relations before heading to New York to work for the UN. After the baby arrives her first response is to adopt it out and get back to the life-plan. Pretty soon, though, she decides to keep the bairn – and the life plan too. Something, surely, must give.
Karvan plays Oly’s mother Angie, head of English at the school. Her dad Dom is played by Angus Sampson; we first meet him passed out drunk on a boat – literally and metaphorically, he’s drifting after being made redundant from his management job. He’s rapidly regressing to roughly the same age, emotionally speaking, as his daughter.
Complicating matters are the fact that (a) the father is not Oly’s boyfriend but another kid at school, Santiago (Carlos Sanson Jr) with whom she’s had a one-night stand; and (b) Santi is the son of Matias Hernandez (Ricardo Scheihing Vasquez), the Chilean-born school PE teacher, with whom Angie might be in love.
You may detect a faint echo of Offspring in all this: the complicated love lives, the interweaving of family and work dynamics, the blurring of moral boundaries. That’s no coincidence: the guiding forces behind Bump include John Edwards, executive producer of Offspring (and many others, including Secret Life of Us, Love My Way, Spirited and Puberty Blues, in all of which Karvan also had a major hand).
And that brings us to the “yes” side of the equation. At its heart, Bump is Romeo and Juliet, with the families at odds over access to the baby, parenting styles, culture, and whatever other contrivances the plot can throw up. Inexorably, though, the star-cross’d lovers are heading not towards mutual poisoning but the realisation that they are meant to be together. The baby, in plot terms, is the motor that drives them towards that destiny.
Call me old-fashioned, but I think that is just a little problematic.
There is, though, a lot to like about Bump (and the story might go in a different direction in the final four episodes). Canberra-raised, NZ-trained Morris is a real find, bringing Oly’s mix of shock, determination, optimism and fragility fully to life. Karvan is good, as always, nailing the competing instincts of a parent horrified by her child’s choices but determined to support them anyway. And the show scores big on diversity – among classmates, the messily extended Hernandez clan, and even the behind-the-camera talent – in a way that never seems forced.
All in all I’d say that a few bumps aside, the show delivers.