Why Are you Like this

Why Are You Like This is the new Netflix show that follows three twenty-somethings as they fumble through life in Melbourne and is loosely based on Naomi, Humyara and Mark’s friendship. Millennials, Gen Z, cancel culture, identity politics, sex, drag queens, teenage angst, gender and sexuality are among the things you expect to find in this refreshing series.

The show is an Australian television comedy series first screened on the ABC and it follows the adventures of best friends Penny and Mia and their housemate Austin, socially conscious twenty-somethings who navigate the uncertainties of emerging adulthood. The show was co-created and co-written by Naomi Higgins (Get Krackin’), Humyara Mahbub and Mark Samual Bonanno. The six episode comedy follows friends Mia (Oilvia Junkeer), Penny (Naomi Higgins) and Austin (Wil King) through the divisive socio-political hellscape of 2021, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

You can watch the trailer here:

YASS Magazine met Naomi, Wil and Liv and this is what they had to say!

Tell us some things about you.

(Wil): My name is Wil with one L (don’t ask), I am gender fluid and I live on unceded land in Naarm/Melbourne. I love music, drag, theatre, film and creaEng in each of those mediums!

(Olivia): Well firstly, my name is Olivia, I’m 22 and I was born in Melbourne. I’ve always lived here, but I’m really looking forward to eventually traveling! I think I belong at the beach, always and all I do is spend time with my friends. Hmm, see I hate this question, because I always just start spewing random, boring facts about myself. My favourite colour is Purple! 

(Naomi): I have a double degree in Science and Engineering and a yoga mat but I don’t use any of them.

What is the most special about your character and how would you describe it?

(Wil): I think Austin’s pure, unfiltered gender expression is very special. Austin has always lived very bravely and authentically as his true self and that’s a Ln achievement. Nom hates it when we’re earnest but that’s no small feat for a baby queer!

(Olivia): Well firstly, my name is Olivia, I’m 22 and I was born in Melbourne. I’ve always lived here, but I’m really looking forward to eventually traveling! I think I belong at the beach, always and all I do is spend time with my friends. Hmm, see I hate this question, because I always just start spewing random, boring facts about myself. My favourite colour is Purple! 

(Naomi): Penny is the epitome of a straight white ally. She is righteous and anxious and feels too many things to be able to help most of the time.

How is it to fumble through life in Melbourne as a twenty-something year old youngster?

(Wil): Fun! Melbourne’s great! I don’t drive and it doesn’t maPer cos you can get public transport everywhere – what’s not to love! Adam and Jessie (our directors) say I won’t be able to catch the train soon cos we’ re gonna be too famous but they’re problematic, so.

(Olivia): It’s fun! It’s chaotic! At this age, everyone seems to be going with the flow and trying to find a full-time job ect. All the boring stuff basically but with no responsibilities. In Melbourne specifically, I’d say there’s just a few more bars. 

(Naomi): A lot of alcohol and a lot of emotions.

What do you have in common with the role you are playing in the series?

(Wil): We both love drag… we’ve both felt a lot of pressure to ‘make something’ of ourselves at some point which can take a toll… we both enjoy being a bit much sometimes! We both have very close friendships with the femmes in our lives, who have really become a chosen family of sorts for both of us.

(Olivia): We are both blunt and dry. I think if you don’t know us we could rub you the wrong way, but deep down there’s a lot of love. 

(Naomi): Well I wrote the character based on myself. So I would say all of it. Unless you’ve watched the show and hate Penny, in which case I’m completely different.

What shall we expect to see in “Why are you like this”?

(Wil): Why Are You Like This is dumb! In the best way! It’s the sort of show I’d wanna throw on with my girls over a wine and a laugh. Or when you come home from a fun night and you don’t wanna lose that buzzy feeling just yet. Or to pump you up before a night out! It also looks a million Ln bucks. The wardrobe is really impressive across the board thanks to our genius costume designer Edie Kurzer and Marni’s sets, Lizzie’s makeup and Shelley’s cinematography all stunningly come together to make quite the visual feast. Comedy can be hot too! This was a big part Jessie and Adam’s mission I think. It’s so cool to see friendships that look like my own on screen too (queer, intersectional, and dumb) so also that!

(Olivia): Chaos! Some language that might piss off your grandmother and a good laugh. 

(Naomi): A lot of laughs and a lot of taboo topics explored by the people they affect – not old comedians yelling about pronouns!

Creator: Ben King Title: Shantaram Copyright Notice: ©Apple. All rights reserved. Copyright Status: Copyrighted

What are the main issues this series is dealing with?

(Wil): The show is poking fun at our generaEon but is firmly from the perspective of our generaEon (and by “our generaEon” I mean young and hot people). It looks at cancel culture, outrage and woke-ness with a playful and loving eye. And conservative newspapers in Australia hate us so we must be doing it really right!

(Olivia): To be honest, the main issue you see is how awful people are. The main characters are terrible in the best way. You see how many issues Mia, Penny and Austin face in the world, such as identity politics, equality in the workplace and religion, just to name a few! And this results in the mindset that life sucks. But so do they. 

(Naomi): Gender, race, sexuality, bubble tea.

What is the relationship between yourself, Humyara and Mark?

(Naomi): Mark is my long term romantic partner and Hum is my heterosexual wife (Penny and Mia are based on myself and Hum). We all love each other an unhealthy amount.

How do the three characters get on well with each other?

(Wil): They don’t! They can’t stand each other just like Liv, Nom and I in real life! Liv is so ugly and annoying!

(Olivia): They are all dramatic first of all. And second of all; Austin loves to complain about the world. Mia loves to critique the world. And Penny wants to save the world. So it works! They also have each other’s back.

(Naomi): They love each other fiercely – one of the only positive qualities they have in common. 

Is there enough LGBTQ+ representation in TV nowadays?

(Wil): No! And even less authentic representation. At the 2019 Oscars, 7 actors were nominated for playing queer roles… and not one of them was a queer person. If you aren’t out and loud in real life – hands off our roles. You aren’t doing shit for the community at this point by taking up that space. I think queer roles of substance and variety are on the up… let us play them! And not just the lil white twinks! I think it’s really important to have authentic representation behind the camera too.

(Olivia): Definitely not. We are growing and progressing which is something to be proud of, but no. I think TV still has a long way to go in reflecting the people and stories of the world we live in today. 

(Naomi): Of course not! It’s obvious by how excited LGBTQ+ people have been about our show, and how the characters are queer but not tortured/dying as a result. I will not stop until LGBTQ+ people see themselves represented so much that they become violently bored by it.

What are the main concerns of the characters?

(Wil): Being a lil white twink! Honestly, I think Austin is mostly concerned about being a star. The main character. Austin wants to look good, be talented and be adored. Lol. There’s some backstory stuff that hasn’t it made it into season 1 of the show, but from that I kinda distilled that Austin really wants to make his Mum proud.

(Olivia): They have a different issue every day that generally has no solution which makes for some funny tv. But as a whole- Mia, Penny and Austin spend their whole time thinking their moral compass is better than everyone else’s. So their main concern is that everyone is abiding by that…

(Naomi): Penny wants to be a good person. Austin wants to be adored. Mia wants whatever she feels like at the time!

What was the idea behind the series and what was the message you wanted to spread?

(Wil): I didn’t write on the show but Hum will tell you it’s that people from all communities can be
awful, lol. We contain multitudes!

(Olivia): The idea behind the series is to really show what its like to be 20 something in Melbourne. It sounds obvious, but almost all the stories we tell are true and distressingly relatable. Being 22 myself, I could barely keep a straight face on set because I had either said that before or experienced the same embarrassing thing a week ago. 

(Naomi): The show is based on mine and Hum’s friendship. We tried not to really send a message with the show (we are not interested in preaching) but we wanted to explore nuances – how people can have the right idea but the wrong execution, and vice versa. The world is not black and white and I think that sometimes we can lose sight of that, especially when you spend as much time online as I do.

How easy is to be the creator and star at the same time on the series?

(Naomi): It was very easy but also hard! If I wanted to change one of my lines, I didn’t have to check with anyone. It also meant other actors could run stuff past me and I could say yes or no on the spot which means you can get better work done quicker. On the flip side, when you see a scene one way in your head and it pans out differently at the hands of other people, you have to learn to let your vision go unless something is really wrong because 9 times out of 10 what they’ve done is better!

Are the characters based on real people?

(Wil): In part, yes! Penny and Mia are based on Naomi and Hum and their friendship… and Austin is based on a mish-mash of their gay friends.

(Olivia): Yes they are! Mia and Penny are loosely based on Naomi Higgins, and Hum Mahbub the two writers of the show and Austin is based on one of their friends. 

(Naomi): Of course not. Who would admit to that?

Tell us what to expect to see as viewers!

(Wil): Bad people looking good and doing dumb things!

(Olivia): Some big laughs and some killer outfits! To say the least. 

(Naomi): Three people who may be awful but then again, so are you probably! Allow these characters to let you bring out the worst parts of yourself because sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

Why Are You Like This is available to watch on Netflix now!

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