Anger is an Energy

There’s a clip from Chris Lilley’s upcoming series Angry Boys currently doing the rounds (for example, here), and surprise surprise, it contains no surprises whatsoever. Well, maybe it does if you were expecting Lilley to do anything new or different now that he’s playing with the big boys (Angry Boys is co-funded by the BBC and HBO), because judging from this clip* we can look forward to six hours** of more of the same three characters*** Lilley’s been serving up (with minor variations) for the last decade****.

*yes, it’s a one-minute clip. Maybe the rest of the show is going to be wildly different. But c’mon: the Japanese mother is a mix of Ja’ime and Ricky Wong, and the twins are from We Can Be Heroes. It’s hardly a sign of an artist looking to stretch himself.

**you didn’t know? Initially announced as a 10 part series, Angry Boys seems to have grown to 12. It’s up to viewers to decide whether this is because Lilley’s work is so hysterical he couldn’t cut it any further, or so meandering and self-obsessed that once again we’ll have a series with a couple of plot-heavy eps at the start, a couple at the end, and a big stretch in the middle where Lilley seems to just be amusing himself.

***did anyone else think that with a title like “Angry Boys”, Lilley was actually going to head down the path blazed by Jonah in Summer Heights High and create some characters with at least a trace of depth? Prior to Jonah, Lilley’s “drama” consisted largely of smashing stereotypes together (Mr G versus “the system”, Ricky Wong versus his dad): if he’d taken a step forward with Jonah’s personal issues, this looks like a big step back.

****at the end of this series, Lilley will have made 26-half hour episodes of basically the same program. Considering that program is pretty much a one-man show focused entirely on him, is this some kind of record? And, considering how young Lilley still is, is there any chance of him doing anything seriously different in his career? Or in twenty years time will he still be frocking up and making fun of Asians?

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