Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

Mortified (2006 - 2006)

Children's series
26 episodes x 30 minutes

Series synopsis:

This comedy drama series charts young Taylor Fry’s (Marny Kennedy) unpredictable and at times eccentric two-year journey towards self-acceptance. At the beginning of the series, Taylor is eleven and in her last year at primary school. It is a story about her complex and turbulent relationships with her crazy parents Don (Andrew Blackman) and Glenda (Rachel Blakely), her pain in the neck older sister Layla (Dajana Cahill), and her pre-teen peer group – her best friend Hector (Nicolas Dunn), the ‘perfect’ Brittany (Maia Mitchell) and handsome Leon (Luke Erceg).

Constantly mortified by her exuberant relatives, it takes Taylor a long time to accept them for who they are, and in doing so, to accept herself as well. Taylor also has a rich inner world which helps her deal with her life and her problems. In her wild fantasies, all sorts of amazing things can happen – animals can talk, Egyptian mummies come to life, her nose grows like Pinocchio’s and she takes career advice from St Francis of Assisi.

From episode 14, Taylor and her friends are at high school, and with the hormones kicking in, things are heating up. She finds being a teenager can be very tricky – the ground shifts constantly and there are lots of humiliations along the way, but by the final episode Taylor has discovered what true friendship and accepting yourself is all about.

Curator’s Notes:

This is a delightful series for older primary school children combining humour and fantasy with the dramatic trials and tribulations of growing up – the title says it all. Series creator Angela Webber says her inspiration came from observing her own daughter, realising that from about the age of 11 onwards, kids begin to find things their parents do very embarrassing. These scripts draw on an almost endless collection of the simple daily situations that can make a self-conscious kid feel very uncomfortable. As Webber notes, this time in a child’s life marks the beginning of a break away from uncritical devotion to one’s parents and the realisation that they’re not perfect.

Mortified is also about young people beginning to learn more about themselves, as separate from their parents and their family. As Taylor grows older, the focus is on her feelings of self-doubt and her lack of understanding and acceptance of herself – reflecting the feelings of many kids at this age.

Played beautifully by young actor Marny Kennedy, Taylor is infuriatingly self obsessed, insensitive, funny and very likeable despite the way she treats her friends and loses sight of the big picture while focusing on her problems. This role was an astonishing workload for the 12-year-old actor as her character Taylor appears in almost every scene. Marny Kennedy also had to live away from home for six months while the series was filmed and keep up with her schoolwork.

Mortified won first prize at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival in November 2006, voted the best live-action television program for the episode The Talk, directed by Pino Amenta and written by Tim Gooding. The series won the AFI Award for Best Children’s Television Drama, (December 2006), with young star Marny Kennedy receiving the coveted AFI Young Actor Award. In February 2007, Mortified won two major awards at the New York Festival’s Television Programming and Promotion Awards – the Gold World Medal for youth programs ages 7 to 12, and the Grand Award for Best Youth Program in 2007.

Titles in this series

Mortified – Taylor’s DNA 2006

This is the first episode of the series. Self conscious eleven-year-old Taylor Fry (Marny Kennedy) finds her crazy parents Don (Andrew Blackman) and Glenda (Rachel Blakely) so embarrassing that she becomes convinced that they can’t possibly be her real mother ...