The Family Law already a hit with viewers
BENJAMIN Law had a surreal moment on the set of his first TV series The Family Law.
Filming in a Chinese restaurant on the south side of Brisbane, Law's real family and the actors playing them got to share a short but special scene.
"There was always going to be this moment in episode one where the Law family are going to be judged by another Asian family in the restaurant," Law tells APN.
"I thought if my family makes a cameo that's a pretty funny place to make it.
"It was like Alice walking through the looking glass."
The six-part series is loosely based on his memoir of the same name and chronicles one hot Queensland summer through the eyes of 14-year-old Ben, the middle of five children to Chinese-born parents Danny and Jenny.
"There is a significant Chinese and Asian-Australian community on the Sunshine Coast now, but when we lived there I was one of four Asian kids in my year level," he says.
"You grow up being looked at, which is often out of curiosity; nothing nefarious or strange about it.
"Not only were we an Asian-Australian family, my mum was like a mother duck with all these ducklings behind her. Five kids is a relatively big family."
The series has already struck a chord with viewers before it has even gone to air.
SBS made the first episode available for preview over the weekend on Facebook, attracting more than 140,000 online viewers.
Law, a journalist and author who now lives in Brisbane, spent five years developing the script for the show.
"It's taken that long for us to figure out what the show is and for the networks and parents company to be really sold on the idea as well," he says.
"It's an unusual show in a lot of ways. It's not a happy family sitcom even though we want you to barrack for this family.
"There are some really hard truths about marriage and divorce and parenthood and being a good kid.
"Even though it's based on my book I feel like I've written a whole new book... it includes what was but also what could have been in some ways."
Law's mum, played by New York City-based actress Fiona Choi, is an unforgettable character in the fictionalised account of his childhood.
She's loud, often speaks in malapropisms and often reminds her kids what a pain it was giving birth to them.
"Mum thinks the show's a hoot. She's always been very proud of me, almost too proud of me," he laughs. "I'm a 32-year-old adult man and she's still in the front row of every writers' festival with a camcorder.
"You can't write about yourself without writing about the people in your life. My family is a huge part of my life.
"I was really concerned about my family just not quite being OK (with the show), of course I underestimated them... they're still the people who make me laugh the most."
The Family Law debuts tonight at 8.30pm on SBS 1.