Angry Boys episode 1 review: series premiere

Chris Lilley returns to our screens with Angry Boys. And Charlotte has been checking out the first episode...

It’s been three years since Chris Lilley’s last mockumentary style TV show, Summer Heights High, but he’s back with a whole new set of crazy Aussies for us to follow in his latest series, Angry Boys. And going by the first episode, it’s been well worth the wait.

So, this episode focuses on three central characters the series will continue to follow. First up are a set of misbehaving twins, Daniel and Nathan Sims, who live with their mother and her new boyfriend, Steve. These two characters were featured in Lilley’s first series, We Can Be Heroes, and they hold most of the laughs for the first part of the episode. They live on a farm their dad tried to make a success before he died. Since then, the boys decided to work on it naming it “Danthan Industries”. (There’s a lot of explanation of where the name came from. I’m sure you get it.right?)

Nathan is partially deaf, but is on the way to being profoundly deaf, so his brother Daniel takes every opportunity to make fun of him and tease him behind his back. One particular highlight of the twins is Daniel’s explanation of “mainies”, which is driving up and down the main street. But before they got the car, it was “BMX mainies” and sometimes it’s just “walking mainies”. It works, because these people really do exist!

However amusing the twins are, the episode is stolen by Gran, the incredibly un-PC juvenile detention centre guard who splits the boys into groups of “lights” and “darks” to play basketball, and when one doesn’t make a pass, quips, “Did your mum’s heroin addiction affect your co-ordination?” She ‘s brash, butch and takes no crap from the kids she works with, but also has a soft side to her.

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We see her supply the kids with fun activities to keep them entertained, she has a collection of about twenty guinea pigs, and she’s on hand with tissues for any tears the boys have. One not so funny trick she plays is her “gotcha” trick.

In this episode, she tells a young boy he’s being released early, helps pack his bag and even says, “Your mum should be here waiting,” before then saying, “Oh yeah, gotcha!” Bad taste, but great TV.

Pretty much everything Gran says is amazing. She may well become my new “Mr G”, in quotabililty terms. But it’s not just what she says. It’s all the mannerisms Lilley adds to the character, even the way she stands on one hip with her hands clasped while being interviewed. It works so well.

Midway through the episode, Nathan talks about his “Legends Wall”, where he hangs posters of people he loves, which include the rapper S-Mouse, pro-surfer Blake Oakfield (both characters we’ll meet later in the series) and also a photo of the boy’s gran, Ruth. This is where we realise the two are related, and it leads to a lovely conversation the boys have over Skype with their gran at the end of the episode, tying it up nicely.

I like how this episode focuses just on these three characters. It’s great, because the two complement each other, and unlike Summer Heights High, we’re not flitting between different characters too much and we get far more screen time with these guys. Because of this, though, I think the episode wasn’t overly hysterical, like some people may be expecting. But it really shows a new direction and it has promise to be the funniest thing on TV right now.

More than anything, Lilley is keen to get across a good story with these characters and you can already tell at this early stage the characters will grow and the stories will interlink to make it really come alive.

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Yeah, there’s a lot of ridiculous stuff going on onscreen, but there’s a definite heart to all of it, keeping it together. And right now, it’s really exciting to see where it’s going to go and what the new characters will bring to the series. If this first episode is anything to go by, Angry Boys could be Lilley’s best work yet.

Angry Boys airs again on Tuesday, June 14th, with episodes 3 and 4 starting at 10:30pm on BBC3.

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