It’s fair to say that we hated Why Are You Like This? when we reviewed the initial Fresh Blood sketches last year. So, we were pleasantly surprised by the recently-aired pilot edition (also available on iView and YouTube).
The Why Are You Like This? pilot features the same characters, Penny played by Naomi Higgins and Mia played by Olivia Junkeer, and the same concept – they’re two uber millennials getting up to stuff in inner city Melbourne – as the original sketches but in the pilot there’s more time to understand who they are and what their lives are like. The original sketches (also on iView) probably would have worked better if there’d been some kind of set-up or backstory, rather than just presenting two people in some situations.
In the pilot, Penny has a job as a coder at a tech company where she’s both the only female employee and the staff member who enthusiastically organises special events for things like RUOK Day and Pride. The rest of her colleagues clearly hate her and, if anything, would rather have a meat-tastic barbecue with lots of beer. One co-worker, Daniel (Lawrence Leung), also makes it clear that he doesn’t want to be involved in her Pride event, leading Penny to assume he’s a homophobe.
Mia, meanwhile, drifts from job to job – she’s fired for bludging, she gets a new job but quits for ethical reasons, she then gets another new job and is fired for incompetence – and sponges off Penny to make ends meet.
Penny and Mia are a sort of Herald Sun reader’s nightmare: self-centred and entitled young people, pushing their politically correct views down other people’s throats, goading and bullying anyone who doesn’t conform to their worldview. During a brief stint as a doctor’s receptionist, Mia delays treatment to Nic, a sworn enemy of their friend Austin, which means Nic almost dies. And when Daniel refuses to take part in Penny’s Pride event, and she accuses him of homophobia, it’s her who turns out to be the baddy, as Daniel’s gay but not really “scene”. As a result, Penny ends up in a sensitivity training class. Oh, and Mia gets fired from the doctor’s. They really are awful people.
Having said that, though, this isn’t a comedy that’s about political correctness gone mad or political correctness being bad, it’s a comedy about bullying. The point seems to be that any ideology can turn people into totalitarian nightmares. And if Why Are You Like This? is anything, it’s Mean Girls meets Broad City rather than some kind of old school attack on modern ways.
Having properly set up the sit- in this -com, Why Are You Like This? could make a good series. It’s funny, it’s timely and who doesn’t enjoy laughing at people who deserve being brought down a peg or two?