TV Review – Winners & Losers

24 March 2011

Written by: Jessica Buccolieri

What do you get when the Rafter clan moves out of their Tuesday night time slot? You get a group of formerly unpopular 20-somethings who spent their high school days avoiding the wrath of a bully.

From the producers of Packed to the Rafters, Seven’s bold new drama Winners & Losers is a step away from Australia’s favourite family.

The hour-long episodes feature Sophie Wong, played by Melanie Vallejo, as one of the main characters, a personal trainer with a diet of men and cocaine — an unlikely outcome for the once-overweight teen and dux of her high school.

Among the group of former classmates is Frances James (Virginia Gay), a strong-willed businesswoman tormented in high school for her rumoured lesbianism.

Bec Gilbert (Zoe Tuckwell-Smith) seems the most grounded, engaged to fiancé Matt (Blair McDonough) and still residing in her hometown. She was an outcast in school because of her gawky appearance.

Add to the foursome Bec’s still-living-at-home and insecure best friend Jenny Gross (Melissa Bergland) and you have ‘the losers’ — as dubbed by high school bully and queen bee Tiffany Turner (Michala Banas).

Winners & Losers begins 10 years on when the girls receive an oh-so-modern Facebook invitation to their high school reunion.

After making the difficult decision to click ‘attend’, each girl turns up to the prom-themed event, only to find themselves hiding in the toilets, away from Tiffany’s judging eyes. Nothing’s changed.

The four find themselves reconnecting in familiar territory, and after a shocking exit they enjoy a night on the town, complete with ‘splitsies’ on a lottery ticket.

You can guess where the latter half of the show’s title comes from.

This new commercial show was promoted endlessly at Channel Seven headquarters in the lead up to its premiere, and it has payed off. The show was a ratings winner on Tuesday night.

Viewers didn’t lose either, unless perhaps you’re a bloke. The first instalment of the show can be likened to the wit of Packed to the Rafters along with the girly touch of Sex and the City.

The storyline is set up well for future episodes, however, with the now millionaire characters, it will be interesting to see how many seasons the creators can churn out.

Winners & Losers airs 8.30pm Tuesdays on Channel Seven.

Jessica Buccolieri is a Journalism Honours student at La Trobe University and a member of the upstart editorial team.  She is currently writing a thesis about the effects of social media on modern journalism. You can follow her on Twitter: @bjessa.