Thursday, August 18, 2011
Creator/writer/star Chris Lilley is already famous (or infamous) for We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High (screened recently on HBO in the US), and this will make him moreso.
Someone's noticed Lilley's work because Angry Boys has co-financing from HBO and will screen on that premium cabler shortly. It's the perfect US home for the series because it would never survive uncut on a regular American network. Unbelievably, it is screened without language or content cuts on Australia's ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission), the free and commercial-free, government-funded broadcaster.
What Lilley does best is satirize both his own culture (Australia) and its adjoining pop culture.
The series is profane, irreverent, as non-PC as you can possibly get, and extremely well produced and written.
If you want a pin-sharp snapshot of a particular side of Australia, Angry Boys will give it to you. More accurately than anything I can think of, it portrays the angst of being a young Australian male in a culture where machismo is prized and venting your emotions is irritating. For me, watching this was like looking back and watching my teenage self implode.
Structurally, it intercuts between several characters, all played by Lilley, who are trying to make their way in the big, wide, wonderful world. Two twin brothers (Daniel and Nathan Sims), one deaf, one a twisted pervert, engage in hilarious, testosterone-fueled domestic disputes involving girls, parents, school, and visiting relatives. It's a challenge to pick one example from a great bunch to illustrate the comedic brilliance on display, but consider a middle episode in which Daniel is castigated by his mother for continually calling everybody he meets a "fag". As punishment, his mother calls the mother of the local "fag" and arranges for Daniel to spend an afternoon with the boy. What ensues is both hilarious and dark.
Another amazing storyline involves a very young Asian skateboarder (barely a teenager) whose monstrous Japanese mother, Jen Okazaki (played by Lilley in drag), is ferociously marketing him as the face of 'Gaystyle Enterprises', a vertically-integrated clothing and apparel company for young gayboys (i.e. "poofters").
When the unfortunate lad protests that he's not gay and likes girls, Jen shows him cheesecake shots of young men and determines to beat the hetero out of him.
This show is gold! I'm sure John Waters would be a fan.
Perhaps the most controversial character in this series is U.S. rapper S. Mouse. Played in blackface (!) by Lilley, the hideously untalented rapper has become the subject of house arrest after he took a shit on a police car and composed a song about it. Recently, Melbourne's 'The Age' newspaper took the strange step of sending copies of Angry Boys to black rappers to get their take on S. Mouse and his shenanigans.
Predictably, the blackface aspect didn't go down too well with some, while others criticized the rapper's terribly songs. Talk about missing the fucking point! Still, the intelligent ones got the joke.
No doubt about this, this is Lilley's sharpest, funniest, and most vicious satire yet. For me, it's right up there with my other favorite comedy shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm (the latest season is gold!), South Park, and Family Guy.
Do what you can to get your hands on this magic. Just as The Adventures of Barry McKenzie said much about Australia in the 70's, this says equal amounts about the country now.