• Memories live on as ‘The Family Law’ comes to an end. (SBS)Source: SBS
Now that the groundbreaking comedy has wrapped up, we reminisce with the people who created it.
By
Jim Mitchell

29 Jan 2019 - 2:54 PM  UPDATED 1 Jul 2020 - 8:52 AM

After three seasons, The Family Law has drawn to a close. Heartwarming and hilarious, the sitcom will not soon be forgotten, least of all by the people who helped make it so unique.

To celebrate this end of an era, we asked cast members Trystan Go (Benjamin Law), Fiona Choi (Jenny Law) and Anthony Brandon Wong (Danny Law), as well as creator Benjamin Law, about the moments - onscreen and off - that defined The Family Law

 

Jenny throws Danny out of the house: Season 1

In the very first episode, Jenny (Fiona Choi) and Danny (Anthony Brandon Wong) fight over their parental responsibilities, and Jenny kicks him out of the house calling him a “deadbeat.” Unbeknownst to Jenny, her five children look on.

Fiona: It was one of the scenes where, even when I read it on the page when I was auditioning for the role, it made me cry immediately because I could feel all those emotions and what was going on, and then the shame of seeing her children [see her] throw their dad out.

 

A disastrous Christmas lunch: Season 1

Benjamin (Trystan Go) organises Christmas lunch to bring the family together but a fight erupts when eldest child Candy (Shuang Hu) announces she’s engaged to her secret boyfriend Wayne (Sam Cotton). And then, there’s the food poisoning.

Anthony: I think that’s a hilarious scene. And in the end of it, Michelle (Vivian Wei) vomits into the gravy! Just an average day in the life of the onscreen Law family, and probably not far removed from the real life family too!

 

Danny’s anniversary surprise backfires: Season 1

In the final episode of season 1, Danny surprises Jenny with a 20th anniversary present – a plot of land where they can live and run an Asian grocery store together. But reality sets in with the poignant realisation that they want to divorce.

Anthony: That’s one of the things I love about this show. As an actor, you get to do all these deliciously funny moments, but then you also get to work at your drama part of your ability as well, and there’s lots of that in the show. 

 

All the Jenny-isms: Seasons 1–3

Candy and Wayne show Jenny the “save the wedding date” video they’ve put online.

Benjamin: It’s another good Jenny malapropism – ‘Tom, Dick and Harry’ becomes ‘Hairy, Dick and Fanny.’ I forget who came up with that joke amongst the writers but I’m like, ‘That’s good writing.’

 

Jenny decides it’s time to live her own life and spread her wings.

Fiona: I really loved in season 2 how she talks about ‘spreading her flaps’. 

 

Benjamin asks his mum where all her sayings come from.

Fiona: Benjamin Law’s got a wicked mind. The character of Benjamin says to Jenny, ‘How did you come up with all these fabulous sayings?’ and she says, ‘I just closed my eyes and let them all come on me’!

 

Meeting the parents: Season 2

The Laws lay the Australiana on thick as they host Wayne’s white parents Lorraine (Genevieve Morris) and Gary (Paul Gleeson) for a meal, but they’re deeply bewildered by them. 

Fiona: They decorate their whole house with Australian flags thinking they have to be all ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!’ It was just such a perfect flip of telling the culture clash from another perspective. ‘Who are these strange Aussies?’

We had so much fun because Genevieve and Paul, who play the parents, are such wonderful comedians that really, the best stuff really happened after cut, because after the scene was finished they would just continue the riff.

 

The amazing costumes: Seasons 1–3

When Melissa (Bethany Whitmore) and Benjamin arrive at what they think is a fancy dress party, he has no idea he’s dressed in fetish wear, and thinks it’s a motorcyclist costume.

Benjamin: I’ve really loved how increasingly deranged the costumes have been getting. In season one, episode one, Ben is literally dressed as a watermelon playing a clarinet. You don’t think that you can get any more deranged than that, but [then there were] season two’s Medea costumes.

We hadn’t really beat that, in terms of how insane that is, except maybe in season three with Benjamin inadvertently, and unknowingly, dressed in PVC adult fetish gear. We were wondering whether SBS would allow us to do that, and they totally did!

 

Girls’ night out: Season 3

In a joyful scene, Jenny dances with friend Diane (Erika Heynatz) on the bar at the surf club on a much-needed girls’ night out.

Fiona: Erika’s a very tall lady, and the roof was quite low so what we didn’t realise was that when we stood on top of the bar to dance, she was banging her head on the roof the whole time. So we had to find a way to do all this daggy dancing with our knees bending down and then act like we were drunk and having a great time. We basically just spent the whole day cracking each other up.

 

Jenny gets a hunky white boyfriend: Season 3

Destiny strikes and love blooms when Jenny backs into the car of single dad Pete (Jeremy Lindsay Taylor) on the school run.

Fiona: I don’t think, when I was growing up, there ever would have been a case for me to see an ethnic lady get the big hunky Aussie man. That really moved me because that really shows what a change [it is] to the television landscape, what we’re bringing to it.

 

Danny gives Benjamin advice on bullying: Season 3

When Danny discovers that Benjamin, not yet out as gay, is being bullied, his tough-love advice is amusingly mangled.

Anthony: I love where Danny tries to tell Ben to toughen up when he’s been bullied and he says incorrectly, ‘Get thick skin and suck it off!’

 

Benjamin meets Scott: Season 3

Benjamin stumbles upon Year 9 student Scott Spark (Fraser Crane) playing the piano, and is so in awe that he stumbles into a drum kit. Later, the pair shares a sweet moment, suggesting love may be on the cards. The real Benjamin and Scott, a recording artist, are partners.

Trystan: The piece that was played in the show was actually composed by the real Scott Spark, and it was composed about Ben and his family. Little things like that, that snuck their way into the show, make it really meaningful.

 

Benjamin comes out to Danny: Season 3

After coming out to his mum Jenny, Benjamin visits dad Danny at his Asian Alley grocery store to give him the news in a sombre but affirming conversation.

Trystan: It was really interesting to sort of channel my energy and live in Ben’s shoes like that. I really enjoyed all the quiet scenes with Jenny and Danny. It was a challenge for me with my acting but also, I really felt the connection to Ben and hopefully that comes across on screen as well.

 

Motherly love: Season 3

After Benjamin and Melissa perform at the school talent show, Jenny energetically applauds her son, brimming with pride.

Fiona: I think the camera really ended up catching me being moved by Trystan and just thinking ‘I’m so proud of him.’ I remember the tough Brisbane crewmen, a few of them came up to me and they said, ‘Fiona, I was just watching you as Jenny applauding the Ben character, and just that motherly love and that pride was really moving. It made me cry.’ It was because it wasn’t really acting at all, it was me being moved by Trystan himself. 

 

Relive these and so many more gorgeous moments from The Family Law at SBS On Demand where all three seasons are available (also available with Simplified Chinese subtitles):

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