Rasdien is a South African television sitcom created by Joey Rasdien, produced by Imani Media and based loosely on the life experiences of Rasdien, about a successful motivational speaker climbing the status ladder in South Africa and raising his son as a single father.
Ben Rasdien (Joey Rasdien) needs to grow up. He has a son, a successful career, and a fancy house. His manager, Mannie (Mortimer Williams) - who is also his brother - knows that Ben's crazy mind is cash in their pockets.
The problem is, Ben is having such fun being a 30-year-old kid. His son, Zak (Tyron Lamprecht), loves it when his dad plays with him, but sometimes he'd also like him to be a father.
Kim Cloete joins the cast as Alice, Ben's assistant, and helps him to paper over the cracks in his parenting, when they're not at each other's throats, that is.
We follow Ben's daily antics as he walks back and forth on his tightrope between childhood and parenthood. We see how he falls and climbs back up and, when all else fails, he dons a red nose and hopes everyone will keep laughing.
The working title of the show was "Radical Rasdien", which became "The Joey Rasdien Show" before finally settling on simply "Rasdien".
Rasdien was produced by Bobby Heaney, Joey Rasdien and Vicky Kente for Imani Media. Writers on the series include Greig Coetzee, Ilse Oppelt and Hannes Brummer. Directors include Peter Heaney, John Barker and Bobby Heaney.
Ben Rasdien (played by Joey Rasdien)
Ben Rasdien is a successful motivational speaker climbing the status ladder in South Africa.
A rainbow eccentric standing out in the grey, conformism of corporate Johannesburg, he has managed to make a good living out of the suits he talks to because he is seen as a child of the new(ish) South Africa.
Believers see him as a break with the apartheid past who can genuinely help transformation, cynics see him as a good exercise in PR who is the right colour at the right time.
He knows both sides and how to play them. He is a charmer who uses his quirky sense of humour and his off-beat world-view to disarm those around him – especially when he is cornered.
Ben's biggest challenges are on the home front, where he is pulled in a number of directions. He has a mercurial lack of focus. This leads to inconsistence and manic swings especially with regard to his parenting.
Ben blurs the line between father and friend in his relationship with his son. While this is often a lot of fun, it is also a source of insecurity for his son Zak.
Ben often lives in the moment and fails to stick to a path that will achieve required goals.
Zak Rasdien (played by Tyron Lamprecht)
Ben is the single parent to his only child, Zak, having lost his wife during Zak's birth. They are close enough to be best friends despite the fact they are father and son.
But there is a tension between the friend relationship and the father/son relationship. The child in Zak sometimes wants Ben to be a father, not a friend.
Zak is not precociously cute. He is wise beyond his years and often seems more the adult next to his father. However, while he is wise, he is not wise-cracking.
Zak needs a mother and a big emotional hook is whether Zack will find the mother he needs.
Alice (played by Kim Cloete)
Alice is Ben's (sub-conscious) moral compass. The one who wants him to be a better person. Alice would be the perfect mother to Zak and the perfect partner for Ben, but one seldom sees the treasure right under one's nose.
This is the relationship we always wish would happen, but it never does.
Ben and Alice get off to a very bad start – but she ends up staying because of her connection with Zak, who adores her.
She's a neat freak. Clumsy. Not streetwise like Ben, but tries to hide the fact. She constantly corrects Ben's grammar because she can't help herself.
She has a dry sense of humour and doesn't relate to the fall-about antics of Ben and Zak, which often makes her feel left out.
However, Alice can be cuttingly witty especially when her target is something she regards as silly or frivolous or threatening. She's strict with Zak, not the fun guy like Ben.
Can't cook, can't play, but tries to be good at both by using academic approach and 'studying/researching' how to do these things. She is anal, almost to the point of being obsessive compulsive.
But while she is concerned with getting the details right, she doesn't have enough of the big picture to have any real direction in her life.
She has a broad world view in that she is receptive to new academic ideas, but she tends to be prudish and limited in her interactions at an emotional level. A bit like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, being a girlie girl doesn't come naturally.
She has to 'try' to be sexy and doesn't realise she is very attractive as she is.
Mannie (played by Mortimer Williams)
Mannie is Ben's brother. Their sibling rivalry and ex-baby complex was a big factor in his development.
His response to having a cute, cherubic Peter Pan as a younger brother was to be the opposite. He immediately stopped being a child and became a ruthless sensible adult with no connection to other children or his inner child.
Mannie today has a very good shop-window: he is good-looking; conservatively dressed, but stylish; seemingly urbane, sensible, seemingly moral to the point of being 'skynheilig' and an all-round solid citizen.
However, beneath this veneer beats the heart of a ruthless businessman. He would eat his own children if it meant closing a deal, except that he hasn't had children because they're a high-risk investment with poor profit prospects.
He always sees himself as they most intelligent, sensible person in the room.
Mannie knows Ben has a great talent that can make them both a lot of money, but he knows that this talent needs careful management, and that Ben's many distractions have to be kept under control, including Zak.
Magda (played by Amor Tredoux)
She is the one character who probably is genuinely mad – Magda, the head of the body corporate and owner of half the complex.
A single, childless daughter of white Afrikaans royalty, Magda is, like all the truly rich, far more 'open-minded' than she first appears. She knows/knew everyone from Chris Barnard to Miriam Makeba and is constantly raising eyebrows with surprising details of her private life.
Intimidating and intriguing all at once, Magda goes far in small doses. Looks like a tannie, but surprises us all with the things she does or has done.
She's a tannie on acid. A tannie with the volume on full. A bit like Mona on Who's the Boss? – a surprising older woman.
A seeming stereotype with many surprises, Magda always reveals surprises from her crazy past. Lots of connections. Would pose for naked calendar to raise money. Has a poker circle with BEE dudes, she has no idea of the real working world of the common people.
Hasn't seen actual cash for years - pays with plastic. Says things like: "There are people who believe that gold comes out of the ground when we all know it comes from Cartier!"
She has an etiquette, lofty accent and ethereal manner that separates her from the normal, mundane world. This does not mean she is not warm – but it is the warmth of a happy royal who somehow manages to show affection despite all her manners and learned behaviour, because underneath it all is a free-thinking eccentric with a broad-mind.
She has a very funny turn of phrase, but is seldom aware she is being funny. Most of her gags come from her failure to grasp the mundane or her bizarre, disconnected beliefs/solutions/suggestions.
Herbert (played by Rantebeng Makapan)
Herbert is a big BEE type, in his world he's happening. Nouveau riche. Pretentious. He always gets involved in tenders and proposals.
He has all the image and Mannie always tries to do business with him. He is connected with Magda in a New South Africa business/social marriage of convenience.
He talks left and acts right - and armchair socialist. He is a name dropper and a Label freak. Shops in Dubai, cigars, cognac, and stays in the penthouse.
Speaknice (played by Samson Khumalo)
A minor, but important, character is Speaknice, the black janitor of the complex Ben stays in. The unwitting source of Ben's 'African wisdom', Ben hangs on every word the old man says, convinced they are all pearls he can use in his motivational speaking.
Ben has decided the old man is his guru. In return, the old man has decided that Ben is mad.
He's the guy with the keys – in charge of small things that can make everyone's life difficult. He is a Z.C.C. member and the servant that everyone fears.
Could have a big back story that is quite mysterious and unknown. Anti money, high-living, etc. Full of hi-tech surprises (e.g. knows cell phones backwards).
Has surprising insights that spring from an uncluttered wisdom.