One of the few rays of sunshine to emerge from a couple of grim years was an Aussie TV show called Bump.
The Stan original series tells the heartwarming story of Oly, a teenager who endures an unplanned pregnancy and quickly has to learn the ropes of motherhood. Add in a messy divorce between her parents, the pressures of getting good grades at high school and the will-they-won’t-they relationship between Oly and her baby daddy Santi, and suddenly Bump’s themes and tone go far beyond that of a typical teen drama.
To find out more about the upcoming second season, Lifehacker Australia visited the set of Bump while it was being filmed during the NSW lockdown in September.
How Bump became a hit with Australians
Launching on New Year’s Day, it didn’t take long for the dramedy to secure a place in the hearts and living rooms of Aussies everywhere and Stan quickly renewed Bump for a second and third season.
For the actors, the overwhelmingly positive reception to Bump was welcome.
“It was a pleasant surprise that Australian audiences liked a story about a dorky group of kids and a very ordinary flawed family,” Nathalie Miller, who plays Oly Davis-Chalmers, told Lifehacker Australia.
“These days we’re so used to seeing a teen show with a bunch of sexy, amazing looking people on a beach or something. It’s nice that people like a high school show about these dorky characters.”
Bump is a TV show that is filled with a diverse cast of well-rounded characters and really uses them to tell interesting stories. This is something that seemed to land with Australian audiences.
Claudia Karvan, who pulls double duty as a producer on the show as well as playing Oly’s mum Angie, said the relatability of Bump’s story was born out of the honesty in the writer’s room.
“A lot of the time the stories are anecdotes from all of our personal lives that get cobbled together and I think audiences recognise the truth of them,” Karvan said.
Carlos Sanson Jr, who plays Santi, echoed her sentiments, saying everyone involved in Bump had a hand in its authenticity.
“Everyone involved in this project has brought a part of themselves to the story. Not just the actors but the writers, the directors – every department has brought a piece of themselves to this project. I think that audiences see that for what it is and resonate with it.”
For Sanson Jr. in particular, Bump did something special through its representation of a Chilean-Australian family on screen.
“It’s very special. I feel it’s a turning point for Australian television, in particular. There’s a lot of Latino representation in the States but in Australia, I was yet to see anything of this specific nature.”
“The Hernandez family drives the story.” Sanson Jr. said.
“We’re pioneering the way.”
Chilean culture is interwoven into the story of Bump in a way that’s not often seen in Australian TV shows. This manifests in things like traditional dinners at the Hernandez household or debates over baby Jacinda’s Christening. It’s imbued in even the smallest of details, like the song Santi sings to his baby girl.
“The lullaby that Santi sings to J in season one plays an integral part in season two. It’s the song my father used to sing to me as a boy,” Sanson Jr explained.
“To have that become such a crucial part of the story means the world to me and it’s something that my whole Latina family are going to watch from overseas and be so proud of.”
The show also benefits from its comedic tone which brought a sense of humour and lightness to an otherwise dark year.
“There’s this lightness and meaningfulness to the tone of the show that, to me, feels very real and very Australian,” Morris said.
“It’s life-affirming,” Karvan agreed with her castmates. “There’s enough bleakness in the world.”
The challenges of filming during COVID
Unfortunately, the bleakness that is COVID-19 did not disappear in a hurry, forcing Bump to film amongst tough restrictions and lockdowns, yet again.
“It was a do or die situation. Do we just push on or do we delay? We were feeling quite brave, and maybe stubborn, so we decided to stick to the plan,” Karvan said.
“There’s a lot of goodwill towards the project and harmony amongst the cast and crew. So we got through.”
Despite the shifting nature of COVID restrictions, the set of Bump was a well-oiled machine. Filming took place at Inaburra school in south Sydney, which eagle-eyed fans will notice is a new location for the series. Luckily, the school was largely vacant due to the lockdown – one of the few advantages of filming during COVID.
“Filming in a city-wide lockdown can feel quite isolating,” Sanson Jr. said.
“Last year we were able to go out for dinner outside of filming, whereas this time you finish work and go straight home.”
Bumping things up for season 2
The cast of Bump explained to Lifehacker Australia that season 2 of the TV show will build on the challenges that were established for each of the characters in season 1.
For Oly, that means continuing to struggle with the responsibilities of being both a parent and a student.
“In season 2, [Oly] settles more into the realities of being a parent,” Morris explained.
“You see the real sacrifices that they have to make in order to juggle being parents and being kids at school.”
Morris also said Oly would be exploring her sexuality more in season 2, primarily through her maturing relationship with Santi.
“Obviously the baby makes her grow up a lot, but I think it’s her relationship with Santi that makes her grow into more of a woman and less of a child,” Morris said. “They start to navigate some adult things like thinking about their future and what their future looks like together… They grow up a lot.”
“There’s quite a beautiful journey that Santi and Olly go on,” Karvan teased. “Just because they have kids that doesn’t stop them from wanting to explore their intimate relationship.”
As for Oly’s other half Santi, Sanson Jr. echoed his castmate’s sentiments about the evolving relationship between the two teenagers. But for Santi, a real development in the second season is his struggle with the emotional wound from his mother’s death.
“We see Santi explore the trauma that comes from the death of his mother and how his relationships with Oly and Jacinda remind him of the rejection and the loss he experienced as a boy. We get to see him juggle that trauma while also being a father.” Sanson Jr said.
“The other thing I’m really excited for audiences to see is the fatherhood element. We get to see Santi really take on the challenges of being a young father and the pressures that that has on a man.”
Karvan’s character Angie is also navigating some difficult relationships as a parent in Bump season 2.
“I think the overarching arc in season 2 is very much interrogating the mother-daughter relationship and how difficult it is to parent a teenage daughter who is a mother herself. Where does the parenting begin and end? Particularly when they’re living under the same roof,” Karvan said.
Not to mention, things are about to get even more hectic in the Chalmers-Davis house thanks to the return of Oly’s brother, Bowie, who was last seen on a Zoom call from South America.
“[Bowie] inserts a whole new energy into that crazy Chalmers-Davis household… He’s a lot of chaotic energy.” Morris said.
Bowie isn’t the only extra cast member this season. Stan announced earlier in the month that TikTok star Millie Ford, famous for her impressions of high school teachers, would be appearing in Bump as a librarian at the school. A case of perfect casting, if you ask us.
It would also be remiss not to acknowledge the other core stars of the show – the babies.
Bump employs a cast of babies to play its star infant Jacinta, who are rotated frequently at the first sign of trouble or tears. Pair that with the addition of a live bird this season – Angie and Dom share a pet cockatiel – and you’ve got all the makings of a comedy, both in front of and behind the camera.
“Some of the shiniest gold on this series are the babies and the birds. You can’t predict what they’re going to do!” Karvan said.
Between juggling babies, birds and COVID-19, Bump certainly has a lot going on in its second season, and the TV show is sure to bring some much-needed laughter to Aussie households after another tough year.