There's no denying Chris Lilley's new comedy Angry Boys is the most anticipated new show of 2011. But does that mean it's actually worth watching?
Short answer: yes. Longer answer: yes, but the first episode wasn't overwhelmingly brilliant. It was... fine. It revived Daniel and his deaf identical twin brother Nathan, the country boys last seen in Lilley's first series We Can Be Heroes, and introduced their grandmother, the aptly named Gran, the warden at a juvenile detention centre for rough and tough boys.
Honestly, Daniel and Nathan were probably the weakest characters in We Can Be Heroes, and the first ep of Angry Boys didn't endear them to me any more — it was pretty much the same Daniel-taunting-Nathan-and-acting-like-a-tool stuff we've already seen. It'll be interesting to see what Lilley has in store for them in future episodes, though he'll have to work hard to make me care about them like I cared about, say, Jonah from Summer Heights High (“Puck you, miss!").
Gran, on the other hand, is an immediately endearing character, even if her laughs relied too heavily on frequent use of the F-word (both of them) and other extremely politically incorrect profanities — those poor folks working the switchboard over at ABC TV must've been absolutely slaughtered during the episode.
But the scene where she handed out specially made cartoon pyjamas to her troubled charges was a gem, topped only by the later scene where she consoled weeping boys as they tried to fall asleep at night. "They may be the worst boys in the state — but they're still boys," Gran told us — a line both touching and subtle, hinting Angry Boys will share the sadness and pathos of Heroes and Summer Heights High.
I'm told Angry Boys gets better in later episodes, and I'm inclined to believe it — especially when Lilley introduces more new characters: rapper S.Mouse (the blackface is sure to be controversial), surfer Blake, and tiger mum Jen, who I'm massively excited about seeing.