Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Angry Boys: this review contains the words 'pathos', 'Neighbours' and 'casserole'

As part of a generation of pale indoor-living Brits whose only exposure to Australian life in those key formative years was the dull suburban exploits of Neighbours, or its beachside Neighbours-on-sea equivalent (aka 'Home & Away'), watching comedy show Angry Boys could almost give you culture shock.

It's like an Aussie Little Britain (made by national broadcaster ABC) so the question of whether it's an accurate insight into Australian life or not is irrelevant - it's no more true to life than those times in Neighbours when Helen Daniels would pop around Madge's with a casserole, or Paul Robinson's interminably endless business deals with the mysterious Mr Ooodygower or whatever his flippin' name was.

But back to Angry Boys. It's written and mostly performed by Chris Lilley, and follows on from his previous hit, the brilliant Summer Heights High - and so has a lot to live up to.

Some reviews have loved it, and there's some occasionally really funny stuff, but despite the rowdy testosterone of many of his characters - the boisterous twins Daniel and Nathan stuck in the rural town of Dunt in South Australia, or the absurdly bad black rapper SMouse from LA -  there's actually something a bit sympathetic and sad about it all: English A Level students might call it pathos; students of Sociology might nod knowingly.

Students of maths might feel strange and then bury their feelings deep inside before comforting themselves with a complicated sum.

But all of them are likely to chuckle.

If you see Angry Boys as a straight documentary, it's fantastic and often amusing. But if you see it as a comedy show - it doesn't always work.

Although the pushy Japanese mum, Jen Okazaki, exploiting her skateboarding gay son as a unique and money-making brand - despite the fact that he's not even gay - is almost genius.

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