Calum Henderson: Why The Wrong Girl is so right

Will Lily end up with the spunky celebrity chef or the sexy down-to-earth barista?

Never mind Zac and the 16 remaining Bachelorettes, this is our big television romance question of the next couple of months.

It is the question at the centre of The Wrong Girl, which premiered after the first Bachelor NZ elimination ceremony on Monday night in what can only be described as an inspired act of programming genius.

The Australian comedy-drama series, based on the popular 2014 novel by Zoe Foster Blake, is basically a millennial rework of Bridget Jones' Diary, or Offspring with fewer gut-wrenching deaths (not yet, at least).

Unpretentious, fun and funny, it manages to be both the perfect complement and ideal antidote to the hour of gruelling reality romance which precedes it.

The series stars Jessica Marais as the likeable everywoman Lily, a producer on an awesome-looking but unfortunately fictional morning television show called The Breakfast Bar.

When her worthy-but-boring pitch for a new segment is rejected in favour of a new cooking bit with a flavour-of-the-month celebrity chef, she goes into a tailspin, quaffs a bottle of wine, accidentally sends an ill-advised email, and sleeps with her best mate, Pete.

The Wrong Girl has been billed as Australia's answer to Bridget Jones.
The Wrong Girl has been billed as Australia's answer to Bridget Jones.

It's all good because Pete is quite hot, in a scruffy, bearded, old T-shirt-and-jeans kind of way. He seems like the perfect bloke for Lily; why haven't they hooked up already?!

But before they get the chance to do it again it all goes pear-shaped and they have a big row on account of Pete also sleeping with the owner of the cafe where he works as a Typical Grumpy Barista.

Friendship ruined!

Back at work Lily has job on her hands smoothing things over with handsome but slightly pompous celebrity chef Jack Winters, recipient of The Bad Email, who says things like "I don't care about being famous, I care about the food" while snobbishly quizzing his new producer about her favourite cuisine. "I was just trying to think what country toasted sandwiches come from," replies the all-too-relatable Lily.

Jack's big morning television cooking debut is a flaming disaster, which gives Lily the chance to redeem herself by calmly relaying facts about tacos into his earpiece.

Later, as a display of his gratitude, Jack finds her at a party, asks her to step outside and, this is truly outrageous, presents her with a cheese toastie he's cooked in the kitchen of this stranger's house.

He's the one. He's definitely the one. Marry him Lily!

Only by this point she's sworn off men forever, and before she can rescind her oath sexy Pete has gone and texted her a cute little list of reasons why they should be friends again. Halle-bloody-lujah it is raining men.

The Wrong Girl's charms are obvious and unavoidable.

It knows its audience and is happy to give them everything they want: a likeable cast, a handful of daggy supporting characters, comedy pratfalls and good old misty-eyed romance.

For everyone too lazy or simply too stunned by the intense rose ceremony to turn off the telly after our appointment with the Bach, it has to be just about the best possible outcome.

- NZ Herald

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