Bump is back for its fourth (and sweetest) season

The comedy and challenges of parenting and relationships are in the spotlight again with the new season of Bumpstreaming on Stan. Love, as ever, is a battlefield in this beloved Australian show, writes Stephen A Russell.

Oly (Nathalie Morris) is living the dream as the fourth season of Claudia Karvan and Kelsey Munro’s beloved Australian show Bump kicks off.

Quite literally, as she touches down at sweltering Sydney airport after a business trip with her new boss, the city’s youngest (and most demanding) mayor, Shauna, played with big boss energy by stand-up comedian and Total Control star Steph Tisdell. Oly just wants to get home to her fam, but Shauna’s stacking up the tasks despite it being the weekend (look out for tennis legend Dylan Alcott as her no-nonsense political fixer, Marcus). So Oly’s left to have a too-hot-to-handle daydream about Santi (Carlos Sanson Jr) stripping off the tradie gear instead. (Trust us, this is a shit tonne hotter than the weird poo-related anxiety dream Santi has later in the season).

Only the real deal is fast asleep back at their pad, kindly donated to them by mum Angie (Karvan), who’s camping out in a hippy dip enclave protecting trees that Shauna wants chopped for social housing. While Santi was meant to pick Oly up, (temporary) single parenting has fried him in this heatwave and young Jacinda—aka ‘J’—has learned how to silence her mum’s repeated calls.

Figuring out that work/life balance, and if the relationship is even working, is a big thrust of this new run, and it’s not just Oly, covering up she has a kid at work, and artistically frustrated Santi who are locked in heated battle over who’s the best mum.

Sharing their cushy joint with former schoolmates, midwife Vince (ever-charismatic Ioane Sa’ula) and his lawyer partner Reema (Safia Arain), their sparring appears to be spilling over into the other couple’s relationship. Vince, understandably, is spending most of his precious little free time with his young son Malik. Malik’s two mums, Talia (Henrietta Amevor) and Ariel (Matilda Ridgway), are sweet but demanding. Reema isn’t even sure if she wants her own kids, making Talia’s request for a sibling for Malik pretty fraught business.

This friction’s exacerbated by the sudden resurfacing of Reema’s London-based and pretty religious dad (The Clearing’s Hazem Shammas), whose not-so-subtle invitation of hunky copper and practising Muslim Rakim (Rūrangi star Arlo Green) to an awkward “meet Vince” lunch, throws another cat amongst Bump’s many pigeons. That everyone can tell she’s kinda into the new guy is mighty awks.

Will both central couples make it through the season in one piece? And what does Saturn’s return have in store for Oly’s big bro Bowie (Christian Byers)? He certainly cops an earful from Angie when sneering at Oly’s feminist credentials. “Oh boo, Bowie, get a girlfriend,” might be our favourite line so far.

But it’s not just the kids having a tricky time, emotionally, this season. Angie’s struggling, too. Her transformational romance with Edith (Anita Hegh)—her ex-husband Dom’s (Angus Sampson) sister… it’s complicated—was sideswiped when the siblings had to rush to their dying mum in Canada. Angie’s thrown her all into saving the planet instead, much to the annoyance of Santi’s mum Rosa (the fabulous Paula Garcia) and the perma-sassy Bernardita (fan fave Claudia De Giusti), who’ve had it up to here with lectures on food miles hectoring their burgeoning business.

Dom might fancy his chances with Shauna, but his platonic romance with accidental best mate and fellow Radiohead worshipper Tim is easily our fave love-in of the show. And while Rosa and Hector (Black Snow’s Oscar Leal) are on a high, her ex Matias (Ricardo Scheihing Vasquez) has a new, heavily pregnant partner—exes never seem to stray too far from one another or trouble in this show, so we’re intrigued to see where this goes.

Let’s just say that a mid-season hullabaloo we weren’t sure would ever happen brings everyone together in one glorious hoo-ha that no suspiciously loaded g-string nor errant jello shots can dampen. Because that’s the beauty of Bump. Family, either logical or biological, can spend 90% of the time driving us up the wall while pushing all the wrong buttons repeatedly, yet more often than not, the ties that bind us have a way of shoring up peace, or at least a temporary truce.

Because true love never runs smoothly in Bump, with the writers adept at keeping us guessing where this is all going while nimbly folding in new charters to complicate matters in a gloriously gimme more way that’s made for binge-ing, then regretting you’ve smashed it all in a day and have another year to wait for more…