Wellmania, a crazy journey to health

Celeste Barber in Wellmania

Wellmania, an Australian comedy series, was written by, directed by, and stars women. Liv (Celeste Barber) lives in the US where she’s a well known food writer. She heads home to Sydney for a weekend to celebrate her best friend’s birthday. Getting back to NYC and her blossoming career is harder than you’d expect.

Wellmania starts when Liv loses her green card, which she needs to leave Australia. When she applies for a new one she can’t pass the health tests. Chad (Guy Edmonds), the bureaucrat who issues the green cards, and Dr. Singh (Leah Vandenberg) are both determined to keep Liv around until she’s healthy.

Liv embarks on a crazy wellness journey so she can get back to NYC and be the star on a new TV show about food.

Liv is not a particularly likable character. She’s an overgrown teenager nearing 40. Her wardrobe consists of food related tee shirts long past their prime. She parties too much and messes up almost everything she touches. She runs from her problems and avoids her family. But when it comes to writing about food, she’s brilliant.

The style of this series is a bit like Amy Schumer’s Life and Beth or Phoebe Waller Bridge’s Fleabag. We start off with a comically messed up, damaged character and slowly dig into the serious issues that got her to her current state of all f*ed up. Wellmania isn’t as good as Fleabag, but then, hardly anything is.

Meet the characters

Celeste Barber and Lachlan Buchanan in Wellmania

Liv’s brother Gaz (Lachlan Buchanan) is about to get married and he really wants Liv to stay around for the wedding. He’s also a fitness trainer and helps Liv with her wellness routines.

Remy Hii in Wellmania

Gaz is marrying Dalbert (Remy Hii), an overly controlling perfectionist.

Genevieve Mooy in Wellmania

Liv’s mom, Lorraine (Genevieve Mooy), is seriously concerned about her daughter’s physical health, mental health, and career choices. She has good reasons to be worried, but Liv doesn’t appreciate the concern.

JJ Fong in Wellmania

The most important person in Australia for Liv is Amy (JJ Fong). Amy has been Liv’s best friend since middle school, or to be more precise, since the exact day Liv’s father died.

Alexander Hodge in Wellmania

Liv meets Isaac (Alexander Hodge) at the gym. What she would normally do when she meets an attractive guy is get drunk, have sex, and move on. But Isaac is in NA and has sworn off booze and sex. So they actually get acquainted. They spend time together.

That’s a lot of characters for an 8 episode comedy series, but there are still other secondary characters who have an impact on Liv’s journey to wellness. Philomena (Yael Stone) is a death doula. She’s giving Liv a ride when she’s called to be present at the death of a father. She takes Liv with her.

Camille (Miranda Otto) is a wellness guru who talks about baring your soul. She bares a lot of things and encourages Liv to do the same.

This women-centric series was directed by Helena Brooks and Erin White. It was written and created by Brigid Delaney based on her novel. You can find it on Netflix.

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