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Let’s talk Bump: teen-pregnancy, diversity, and embracing the unexpected

Australian TV shows have a way of sticking with us. Whether your show airs every night, or weekly, it is the Aussie way to settle down with the family and watch together.

We’re introduced to Aussies we can recognise, who look and sound just like us. We become invested in the lives of these fictional families and friends.

Maybe it’s because these shows focus on relevant issues in our lives, or maybe we just like hearing voices that sound like ours in an industry so heavily saturated by US TV and movies.

Regardless, there are heaps of shows that are iconic pieces of Australian pop-culture for many of us, and Australian-based streaming service, Stan, has given us one more series to add to that list.

Bump, the newest creation of longtime collaborators Claudia Karvan (who also plays Oly’s mum, Angie) and John Edwards, is the latest Australian series to hit the screens. The show dropped its first season on New Year’s Day, and its 10-part half-hour episodes make for an easy, all-in-one-night’s binge-fest.

What is Bump about?

We start the series by first meeting Olympia ‘Oly’ Chalmers-Davis (Nathalie Morris), a high-achieving, ambitious year 11 student with her entire life planned out. Oly dreams of moving to New York and joining the UN. Her room is scattered with academic awards, books by Malala and Gloria Steinem, and pictures of New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.

Oly has prepared for everything in life. Except, a baby.

Now, she must figure out how to manage unexpected motherhood, her parents’ rocky marriage, and the new relatives she’s gained through the baby’s father, Santi (Carlos Sanson Jr.), all while balancing school-life and her HSC in Inner West Sydney.

I do have to admit to a fair amount of skepticism when initially going into this. I’ve definitely seen my share of teen-pregnancy storylines throughout my many adventures into teen-drama shows. Because SPOILER: After the first three, characters and plots really start to blend together.

However, Bump takes the done-to-death trope of teen-pregnancy and gives it a hilarious Australian spin.

A huge part of the success of the show, in my opinion, is its delivery through the characters themselves, and the actors who play them.Spoken by Oly in the throes of labor, this will forever be the most iconic response to a surprise pregnancy, or in this case baby, in the history of television.

“No. No Way! F**k that!”

It’s just so Australian. 

With a contemporary perspective, Bump shows what modern-day Sydney looks like through its inclusive and accurate casting. The main characters and supporting ensemble really embody the culturally diverse realism of Australia, through actors from various ethnic backgrounds including Chilean, Samoan, South Korean, Ghanian, and Arabic.

This introduces language and culture to Australian TV effortlessly, with the characters actively learning how to coexist and grow together in modern society, while respecting each other’s differences and traditions.

Bump doesn’t actually seem to have a stance on teen-pregnancy and focuses rather on having a supportive approach to dealing with the situation after the fact. This allows Bump to be a talking point for parents with teenagers, and open communication between both parties to build a supportive network for said young people as they enter maturity and more serious relationships.

I can honestly say that this would have been a huge help to have seen with my mum growing up to open up communication. Thankfully, Bump has a lot of humour to it as well, which won’t make it too awkward for families to watch together.

The show also approaches topics of family separation and questions the standards and expectations children hold their parents to without realising it. Oly’s perspective of her parents is ultimately shattered when she realises that they too, are human, and often make mistakes.

Instead of glossing over the storylines of Oly’s parents, as many other ‘teen-shows’ do, Bump goes into the nitty-gritty of the entire Chalmer-Davis and Hernandez families, adding an extra layer of authenticity.

Life is chaotic, doesn’t always go to plan, and is ultimately crazy. To present anything else to the audience would just be unrealistic, especially in a show where its pivotal moment is a 16-year old girl, giving birth in the back of an ambulance as it races through Sydney.

Overall, I enjoy the series. I like the family dynamics and the characters that fit so well in them. I like the way it approached the difficult topics, of divorce, sexuality, and sex.

Some people watch TV to escape reality, for that, I’d rather read a book. To me, TV shows need to be interesting, they need to be realistic, and they need to mean something.

Bump does.

It speaks to an audience who have grown-up amongst the diversity that is Australia, and who value it. The show itself has a uniquely Australian voice, dealing with every-day difficulties one step at a time. The characters are recognisable to us all, giving us viewers something to connect with.

I would honestly say that 2021 may already have a front runner for the best Australian show of the year and luckily for us, Stan has announced the renewal of Bump for a second season, with filming to commence at the end of the year.

That’s right you enthusiastic binge-watchers, season 2 has officially been confirmed!

Written by Tali Abbasi

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