Well, everything, naturally. For starters, George Turner (Erik Thomson) has upset his dead wife's family for taking their grandchildren so far away, and the kids are none too happy about it, either. Beautiful Shay (Melinda Vidler) definitely doesn't want to be the new girl at the local high school and even easy-going Arlo (Benson Jack Anthony) is hard-pressed to find a silver lining when they see the state of the house George bought. It doesn't matter that George used to vacation here when he was a boy; Weld isn't what the kids had in mind as a home.
Things go downhill from here, including a car accident with a local piece of art and a mishap with their furniture. The house is a nightmare, with its problems artfully hidden in the internet pictures. At least Woody (Rick Donald) the local fix-it guy, is very friendly and also loves to surf, which will be helpful to George since surfing is high on his to-do list.
The single women of Weld are keen to meet the new handsome eligible bachelor, as the pickin's are pretty slim in town. There's free-spirited Katie (Anna Jullienne), a local artist whose son Billy (Reon Bell) immediately hits it off with Arlo; Fiona (Michelle Langstone), the local paramedic, city council member, and co-owner of the town's eatery, The Boathouse; Hannah (Cian Elyse White), a hot surfer chick who runs the surf shop in town and works as a waitress at The Boathouse; and finally Tracey (Emma Leonard), the lovely high school teacher who also frequents the local nude beach. Needless to say, George's interactions with these ladies will be frequent, and quite possibly, rather confusing for the widower just trying to make his way in this wild, new world.
But navigating a single man's life will be the least of his problems, because Weld is a small town rife with local issues, led by the main family in town, the MacNamara's, who run just about everything. The patriarch, "Big Mac" (Peter Elliott) has plans to turn the local campground into a retirement resort and some of the locals aren't too keen on his plan, specifically Ike (Alex Tarrant), Katie's handsome stepson who has immediate chemistry with Shay and could be a reason she might want to stay in Weld. Of course, a few misplaced words in George's 800 Words column could also make Weld a place impossible to live. These Sydney transplants will have to learn the Kiwi ways if they plan to make a go of it.
Episodes range from George angering the locals with one of his columns and suffering the consequences, to Shay and Arlo having to deal with the local mean girl, Lindsay MacNamara (Manon Blackman), to George getting involved in a local unsolved mystery better left alone, to him battling it out with a local surfing champion, one who used to bully him as a child. Of course, Shay and Arlo will have their ups and downs with the local kids, all the while Woody works to make the house nicer. George will continue to do his column amidst changes at the publication and his beautiful editor Jan (Bridie Carter) will make a startling appearance in Weld, sending the local women into a tizzy wondering where she fits into it all.
800 Words: Season 1 is a delightful dramedy about a father trying to figure it all out in a new setting and pretty much doing everything wrong. All of the characters are endearing, lovely and a joy to watch. This is one of those shows that you can just sit back and enjoy. Sure, there's an ongoing story, but it's not too terribly heavy and the characters are just adorable. I am thrilled to see that it has been renewed for a second season and based on the way things were left in the season finale, it will be interesting to see how George manages to get things back together. Highly recommended.