No sooner did we dump our latest load of Chris Lilley snark on an unsuspecting internet – seriously folks, GRAN HAZ ALZHEIMER I’M GOING TO CREY – then The Age‘s Green Guide came out with their “50 Things We Like About TV” list and… well, you can probably guess the rest. So now, the rest:
Anger at Angry Boys
THE outrage that has erupted in the media over Chris Lilley’s darkest comedy series, about a group of young men about to crack under adult-imposed pressures, is almost as amusing as the show itself. Offended by dick jokes, unsavoury rooting scenarios and coarse language, Lilley’s critics have slammed the series as gratuitously rude and, what’s worse, unfunny. Perhaps expecting the more obvious humour of some of his previous work, they have missed the beauty of Angry Boys, which is a searingly honest take on some deluded personalities that are frequently funny but ultimately scary, simply because they are everywhere.
See also Wilfred
We’ve said it before countless times, but here we go again: for there to be an outrage, you first have to have someone being outraged. And much like actual comedy, as far as Chris Lilley’s concerned it just ain’t happening.
Before you say that there must be someone outraged out there somewhere – the show’s full of dick jokes for God’s sake – who would know better than us? We’ve been looking for negative reviews and quotes regarding Angry Boys for two solid months now, and apart from a thin smattering of “it’s not very funny, is it” reviews and one riled up spray in The Age itself, which hardly counts – it’s from a columnist, and those poor bastards have to come up with new crap to whinge about every single week – this “outrage” has noticeably failed to “erupt”.
[We won't argue or deny that this outrage "is almost as amusing as the show itself", mind you; comparing one non-existent thing to another is as good a way to sum up the laughs in Angry Boys as any.]
But seriously: if you’re saying that seeing people get riled up in the press about a show is almost as funny as the show itself, then aren’t you basically saying the show itself isn’t all that funny? Especially when NO-ONE IS ACTUALLY GETTING RILED UP? (apart from us, and if you’re counting us in “the media” you’ve got to be kidding)
Next: who the fuck is offended by anything going on in Angry Boys? To use the old interview tactic, if so many people are being offended, “name three”. Bored by the endless dick and ball and shit and piss jokes, yes. Offended? C’mon. This is the third time around for Lilley and his last show Summer Heights High was a massive hit: nobody drawing breath in this country didn’t know exactly what this was going to be like going in. And just in case they didn’t, the media ran plenty of bullshit beat-up stories warning them. If people actually were being offended, the only possible news angle would be “Australians Too Stupid To Realise Offensive Show May Offend”.
Then there’s this line: “Perhaps expecting the more obvious humour of some of his previous work…” So remind us: considering Angry Boys has featured a): an episode where Nathan & Daniel spent the entire time trying to urinate on each other, b): surfer Blake Oldfield, who had his balls shot off and keeps asking whether he should get fake ball replacements, c): S.mouse singing “Grandmotherfucker” and “Big Black Balls”, making a music video where he shits on a police car, and singing a anti-pedophile song titled “Hot Children” to a bunch of primary school children, d): Jen Okazaki peddling a penis-shaped bottle of a fragrance called “Gayness” and saying things like “look at the balls on that guy – go to your room if you want to jerk off, ‘kay?”, and e): kindly old racist Gran telling a prison inmate that she has Alzheimers, at what stage did you decide that Angry Boys was more subtle and restrained than Lilley’s previous work?
As for the “they are everywhere” line… well, that’s Bullshit 101, isn’t it. “Okay, the show isn’t funny, and it’s not really working as a drama, but it’s still must-see television because it’s a warning – these people are everywhere!!!” Really. Everywhere, you say. Okay then, who do you know who is even remotely like S.mouse? Or Gran? Or Jen? “Oh no,” say the supporters, “we didn’t mean they were exactly like them – more that it’s a window into a world of self-obsession and delusion that… ah fuck it, we give up, there are hundreds of more realistic portraits of self-obsession and delusion out there, and they’re usually way funnier too.” Face it: if you’re calling a show where a stage mum has a weight-loss technique called The Fart Method “searingly honest”, maybe you need to rethink your argument just a little.
Let’s be clear here: we don’t want you to agree with us. We don’t really care what you think about Angry Boys at this stage – the jury is well and truly in, the verdict’s been handed over, and the suppression orders have been lifted so say whatever the hell you want to. But would it hurt you to at least sit down and watch an episode of the show before writing the same old tired, based-on-nothing cliches?