TV

Harriet Dyer and Gracie Otto reveal what's in store for The Other Guy Season Two

''There's like a dual protagonist thing rather than Stevie being the sidekick!''

By Tina Burke
The highly anticipated second season of The Other Guy hits Stan today, and we could not be more excited to be reunited with AJ (Matt Okine) and Stevie (Harriet Dyer).
The dynamic duo, who won over a legion of fans for their enviable friendship, will mend their relationship and continue their raucous ways in six new episodes.
After an unexpected death brings the friends back together, the season kicks off with AJ eyeing off a career in television with the help of producer Miranda (Claudia Karvan) and Stevie inheriting a mouldy caravan from her late father.
Of course, AJ is also still dealing with his pregnant ex-girlfriend Liv (Valene Kane) and meets a new love interest, Charlie (Lily Sullivan).
Matt Okine and Harriet Dyer return for a second season of The Other Guy. Image: Stan
We caught up with Harriet Dyer and Season Two director Gracie Otto to find out what's in store for the new season and if they'd return again.
Season One was obviously a bit of a smash hit! Were you expecting that?
Harriet: I mean, you just hope everything goes well. The good thing about Stan is that they put it so out there and they get so many eyes on it, which is half the battle. And I'm just really glad about how much people loved it.
I had a feeling that Stevie would speak to young women in the way we need to be spoken to, and I was overwhelmed by the personal response that people had to my character. As for the show, I think I knew it would do well because it had all the right ingredients.
Stevie quickly became a fan-favourite. Image: Stan
Obviously Stevie and AJ are set to reunite and patch up their friendship in the new season. Do you think their friendship has changed now?
Harriet: I think it's the same, they're just back together. It always deepens every year, like a real friendship. You know, they've been friends since they were 15 and because of that there are patches of time where you can't stand them, but coming back together you'd hope they have a deeper appreciation for each other, but I have a feeling they don't [laughs].
How would you describe the new season for the fans? What's changed and what's continuing on?
Gracie: I feel like Stevie and AJ get their own story arcs in this one. We get to see Stevie at work, and out and about, and we get to see a bit more in to her world.
Harriet: Yeah there's like a dual protagonist thing rather than her being the sidekick.
Gracie: I think it's that thing also where you feel like you might be getting to the stage to sort your life out and then you fall two more steps backwards. I feel like AJ's always excelling at something and then he's back down in the pits and trying again. But you root for him because he's very human.
Director Gracie Otto calls AJ "very human" Image: Stan
There are some new additions to the cast with Claudia Karvan and Lily Sullivan, what was it like to have all the newcomers on set?
Harriet: Lily is so fun and we just loved each other. It was a bit of a showmance between us!
Gracie: When we did the table read and had all the actors there it was so great, and there were also so many great actors in the guest roles. There were exciting scenes every day, like you'd have the main cast and then it would be like 'oh, Matt Day and Susan Prior are coming in tomorrow' which was amazing – actually my dad [Barry Otto] got to be in an episode! He got to be with Harriet for the day, which was really rewarding.
Harriet: It was beautiful! I mean I've been growing up watching Barry's movies and suddenly I'm sitting next to him in a car. Australian screen legend Barry Otto and me.
Gracie: We filmed in his car! So he'd be nice and comfy.
Harriet: And there's no power steering so we were just fanging around the streets of Petersham.
Lily Sullivan (right) joins the cast in Season Two. Image: Stan
On the topic of Petersham, one of the things I quite selfishly liked about the first season was that it was filmed around Sydney. It was so refreshing to have a young, relatable comedy series set in my neighbourhood. Is that something you think was missing from Australian TV?
Harriet: Yeah, for sure. And that's something Stan does, they provide a platform for you to make something that a specific group of people love, rather than something everyone just likes a little bit.
They know who they're making their shows for, and I think it's really clever to go, you don't have to please the grandparents, you don't have to please the kids, just completely nail the experience of being late 20s, early 30s, in Sydney. People are like 'that's me, I feel so seen!'
Gracie: And not far to travel for work every day [laughs].
The second season is part of a slate of new Aussie originals coming to Stan this month. Are you proud to be a part of such a big moment?
Gracie: Yeah totally! Stan's great and there's such a cool bunch of people who work there, and they're making content for Australians and it's really rare to have that kind of support.
Harriet: They're changing the game in a big way, and it's because of the platform that they can. They can take risks and they're putting a great injection in to our industry here. Because for a minute there things were really slowing down, with network television struggling it was like what's going to happen? Where is the Australian work going to be made?
Obviously there are great shows being made on the networks, but these guys can push the boundaries more. These people are there watching because they want to be, they're not just turning the TV on at 7:30 on a Wednesday and getting offended by a dildo – they know what they signed up for.
Stevie and AJ in the infamous dildo scene. Image: Stan
Speaking of the dildo scene – did you have a favourite episode or moment on set?
Gracie: One of my favourite moments was in episode one, the dildo scene. Only because everyone cracked for so long! And I really loved the scene with Harriet and Susan Prior where they're just smoking cigarettes and the ad-lib just went one. When we first watched it in the edit we were like, it should just be that whole take.
Harriet: It was pretty cool. We play aged care professionals and we're smoking cigarettes in this amazing blue bathroom and we're talking about foot fetishists. She's so wacky and so present and so engaging, she's one of our national treasures, and I'm just sitting there on the toilet going 'this is a great day.' But any day where I have trouble not laughing is a good day, and that's most days really.
And just the day where he's shaking that broken dildo in my face I just couldn't get it together. I actually had fear that I was going to get fired, but I still couldn't stop laughing. It was dire.
There are a lot of funny people on set, how often did you go off-book and improvise lines?
Harriet: Yeah, improv became a really big part of it. Obviously it's scripted to within an inch of its life. You know, notes and months of revisions, but because Matt's there and he's the head of the show if you say "Matt I want to chuck a bit in about a sausage roll" he'll be like "do it."
I try not to take too many liberties, and sometimes I'd throw things in there just to make him laugh, but there's actually… they kept a real laugh in episode six where he actually just made me laugh and, instead of taking it out, they've left it in and it's just me laughing!
Gracie: Yeah we got to that in the edit actually and we were like, it's so natural even though... and it's just at the end of the whole season, it kind of breaks the wall because it's just her laughing.
Harriet had a "great day" filming this scene. Image: Stan
Part of premiering on Stan is that the entire season drops at once and people binge straight through it. Are you prepared for people to start hitting you up one day later asking about new episodes?
Gracie: I've never done anything like this before, I don't know!
Harriet: Yeah it happened on season one; they were pretty hungry straight away. They were like "more please!" And you're just like, woah, it takes time.
Gracie: It's kind of funny with the binge thing because that's so normal now, whereas you used to wait until, like, next Thursday night to see the next episode. It must be hard just to be like, "oh better get season three up and running!"
Well that's going to be the ultimate question, right! Would you be keen to return for a third season?
Gracie: Yeah, for sure!
Harriet: I've been doing plays, TV and movies for a while now and I mean Stevie is just my favourite character. I'd do Stevie again in a heartbeat! There's just so much more to explore. It's just the tip of the ice berg, really, there's so many stories between two characters who are just best buddies trying to make the best of this life that they've got.
I don't know if it's our generation, but everyone's got this existential crisis, everyone's got anxiety, our brains haven't evolved fast enough for these mobiles that we've got in our hands and we're taking in too much and freaking out all the time... and it's good just to put that on TV so people go "it's not just me."
The Other Guy Season Two is now streaming on Stan.