This is it – the final episode of Angry Boys. There have been a fair few ups and downs over the last twelve weeks, and a lot of people have not stayed along for the ride, but as my previous reviews have stated, the past four episodes have cemented this series as Lilley’s best work.
After weeks of building up to this episode, it’s a lot of pressure for the series, and I’ll be honest, I was fairly nervous going into it. What if it didn’t live up to the expectations the rest of the series had provided?
I’m going to cut to the chase: the outcome is the exact finale I would have hoped for, so let’s all just breathe a collective sigh of relief.
I absolutely loved the opening scenes of this episode. Nathan and Daniel’s usual chaotic family life is slightly subdued and seems remarkably harmonious, which is down to their new addition, Gran. Yes, there are still pranks, but there is a genuine sense of love between them all, and it feels like Gran is the person to balance the family out.
When it comes to Gran’s illness, they all seem to be coping brilliantly with it, and it’s touching to hear her say, “If you are lost, family is where you turn.” It is later revealed that Gran is the mother of the twins’ dad, which makes it an especially lovely move of their mother, Kerry, to ask her to move in with them.Heading back over to America, and S.mouse! is no more. Thank God. It seems that Shwayne Jr is going back to his roots to find his “true self” – not that he knows what that is exactly, but I’m glad the S.mouse! Persona is at least done with.
Of course, if S.mouse! was raking in the money, he wouldn’t be changing, but I’ll let that one go. Last week saw Shwayne head in a new musical direction. This involved less rapping and more singing, and while his song was a promising change of style, this episode sees him desperately trying to get the song out there, with very little luck.
That is, until one radio station happens to play it. The joy on Shwayne and Danthony’s face is excellent, but the cherry on top is his father’s reaction, with all three of them jumping for joy and hugging each other. It’s nice to see the family bond over something they all believe in after a series of misunderstanding each other and arguments.
Things are wrapping up rather nicely for all of Lilley’s characters. Blake is one we haven’t seen for a few weeks, and it seems he’s been busy. Cleared of the shooting charges against him, he’s had the operation to get a new set of testicles, restarted the Fat Boys Surf Camp along with the help of his Mucca Mad Boys, and has even come out of retirement to star in the Billabong tour.It’s also good to see that he is back with his girlfriend Kareena, who has had the baby. He’s pulled his life back together after an entire series of mooching about achieving nothing. Who would have thought prosthetic balls would be the key to that kind of motivation?
In another fantastic turn of events, Tim is now back in Santa Barbara with his new manager, Bruce, and everything seems just peachy for them all. Well, except for Jen, who is forced to live in suburban hell in the new home her son has bought her. Her cycle of psychosis will most likely carry on as she forces her second son to get into golf, and it’s apparent she hasn’t learnt anything. But she leaves us with the final thought that she has always tried to do her best for her kids. Maybe this is just a misunderstood woman who wants her children to be set for life so they can do what they want. Or maybe she’s just a selfish, money hungry bitch. The latter is more believable.
The entire series has been building up to one event – Nathan’s leaving party. Last week, Gran admitted that, due to her condition, she forgot to mail out the invitations to the “Legends”. So the party is pretty pitiful, and even the neighbours haven’t been able to make it out. Surely the series can’t go out like this. Someone has to turn up, don’t they?
Nathan is told to head to the van to get the firelighters to start the bonfire, but as Nathan goes to the van, it’s evident that something’s about to happen, but it’s not clear what. Then the Angry Boys theme kicks in, and a van and car pull up to the farm. As the music swells, Tim and Blake appear, and Nathan looks at them in disbelief. If you didn’t well up at this point, then I have no reservation in saying that you have a heart of stone. Of stone I say!
It’s all done with perfect timing, and doesn’t miss a beat, as the artist formally known as S.mouse! also appears, and it becomes clear that Gran did come through after all. She is the real “Legend” here. It’s all quiet except for the music, and we can see everyone greeting each other, but can’t hear what there are saying. This may be because it’s all from Nathan’s viewpoint who, we have been told, is now completely deaf.
It’s a great perspective to end the show on. No words are needed for this, and the expression on each character’s face speaks volumes.
As the credits roll, photos of the party pop up, Hangover style, which I thought was the best way to do it. We don’t need to witness them all interacting with each other – we got to the point we wanted to, and it leaves the rest to our imagination.The ending was bittersweet, in that it was so full of heart and warmth, yet left me wanting more. It wasn’t enough, and I think it could have benefitted, maybe, from being an hour-long episode, as at times it did seem to be slightly rushed.
This series has been a testament not only to Lilley’s writing, but also to how versatile an actor he is. In that last scene, we see five characters he plays all in one place, each one with their own distinctive qualities that separates them. Yeah, they have the same face, but he has created such a different persona for each one that it’s not even something I thought about as it was happening.
I haven’t really wanted to compare Angry Boys to Summer Heights High, because they are completely different. The only thing I will say is that Lilley has taken the emotion and character development of the Jonah Takalua story and from Summer Heights High, and used it as a basis for this series, but he’s taken it further than I ever expected.
I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again as the series has come to a close: this has not been something I would consider as just a comedy series; it has far too much heart and depth. A lot of people will have been put off by the shallow, rude jokes made by some of the characters, but that was just the surface of the series. There has been so much more to take from it than that.
So much so, that it’s definitely one that can be revisited again. And I’m sure there aren’t many who would object to another series. (Hint, hint.)
So, Chris Lilley, well done to you. This series has been a triumph, and this finale has brought the series to a perfect close. I’m glad I’ve stuck with it.
Read our review of episode 11 here.