Distributor: ABC 1
Release Date: Now Screening
Ever since the end of Summer Heights High fans of comedian Chris Lilley have been waiting for his next foray into ‘reality’ television. Angry Boys has finally arrived but viewers may find it far too real for their tastes.
Lilley plays six characters in the series, including the return of twin boys from his Australia Day Awards spoof We Could Be Heroes. Nathan and Daniel Sims are teenagers growing up in the back-blocks town of Dunt. Their daydreams of establishing a farm are scuttled by Nathan’s violent misdemeanors and subsequent dispatch to a home for the hearing impaired. Lilley also introduces us to their grandmother, Ruth, a prison officer at the Sydney Garingal Juvenile Justice Centre for teenage boys. ‘Gran’ as she’s known is hard as nails but conceals a soft heart for her wayward charges. The series is filled out by S.Mouse (a black rapper being ‘bad’ within his record label’s restrictions), Blake Oakfield (a 38-year-old champion surfer who refuses to grow up), and Jen Okazaki (a Japanese wife mother marketing her son as homosexual to improve his acting career).
Angry Boys has been slow to start but is now building towards a complex and fascinating drama. Lilley is an expert at bringing to the fore aspects of our society that would be hilarious if they weren’t so uncomfortably accurate. One of the realisms that may make it impossible for many to watch, though, is the constant bad language. Boys struggling to define themselves will often resort to deliberately communicating in a way that makes them offensive to the rest of the world. The irony is that the same foul phrases, often repeated hardly make them individual.
Still Angry Boys is an essay in the making on the things that frustrate the development of healthy men in Australian society. Uncaring or damaging parenting, a lack of resources in the face of intellectual and physical struggles, mindless pop culture and a tendency to throw away the hardest cases all get their turn. And their frustration sends them looking for meaning in the most unlikely places. If there ever was an argument for the need to consider the spiritual needs of young men, Angry Boys is it.