Ah New Zealand! The home of the kiwi, Lord of the Rings, kangaroos (or is that Australia?), cool accents, and the fun webseries “Flat3.” So what is Flat3?
Flat3 follows flatmates (and early 20 year olds) Lee, JJ, and Perlina as they navigate their New Zealand-ish lives. The three ladies are trying to start their careers (Art Curator or Accountant?), find love (Andrew Garfield or Jackie Chan?), and figure out who’s buying dishwasher soap (Perlina).
I really enjoyed the feel of the series. There was a nice balance in story topics, and they never over-focused on one area. The tone is simple and lighthearted, but fresh and fun. The style of humor is kooky but very grounded, especially in those cool accents. It gives the jokes much more natural flavor, instead of a forced, “set up, punch line” combo. Some of my favorite lines include “spontaneous orgasms,” “lower, lower, higher,” and “two girls even started making out!” And those are all just from the pilot. I also like that the series has a sweet, caring side to it. The girls care about each other. They care about their storylines. But they do a good job of not taking themselves too seriously. All in all, the series has great balance in the major elements.
There were a couple areas that could be improved. The characters are all pretty similar and could use more differentiation in personality and archetypes. I felt like a lot of the dialogue could have been given to any of them and it wouldn’t have made a difference, which wasn’t really a good thing. Getting to know each character took longer than I would have liked. The plots and the stories could have used more focus, they seemed a little aimless at times, though this problem may be more due to the slim running time. Some of the scenes just weren’t on point, and seemed just there because they were fun. There was a lack of drama between the central characters, electing for them to bounce off the guests, which resulted in lower stakes and less tight drama and comedy. Only one episode had the girls getting in each other’s ways, and it was the best episode. Flirty Friday also wanted to see more of the relationship side of things. More boy drama! More conniving! More love! And there could also be more of the cool New Zealand accent.
But in the end, the series is very solidly constructed and fun to watch. Importantly, they get the little things right as well. The direction is solid, the acting is natural, and the writing is seamless. I especially liked some of the bonus work they did, including facebook graphics, slow motion, and their use of “Actual Tips From The Internet” in the speed dating episode.
It gets better as it goes on, and the last few episodes are the best ones. My favorite is “Flat Warming,” which does a great job of getting to the meat of some storylines, and testing certain relationship dynamics between the girls. There’s great jokes too, with a running gag on front door entrances, Perlina and Katrina’s dynamic, and JJ trying to flirt with Jackie Chan (not actually Jackie Chan). And man, those accents are awesome.
If you’ll excuse me, I need to work on my New Zealand accent. G’day mate! (Dammit that’s Australian, isn’t it.)
By: Ted Barnes