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Angry Boys: Series Premiere

By Meredith Alloway · January 3, 2012

Chris Lilley finally makes his way to the US…and thank the comedy gods, because he’s brilliant. It’s about time we stop watching the Kardashians and the Real Housewives and start mocking them. Just as his previous mockumentary show Summer Heights High delivered us hilarious, eerily realistic portraits of some hot-mess Aussies, Angry Boys goes so far as to not only increase the absurdity, but also include three more characters.

In the first two episodes that launch the premiere, we meet Gran, Daniel, Nathan and whew, S.Mouse.

Gran is the head honcho down at the Sydney Garingal Juvenile Justice Centre for teenage boys and has been employed there for 25 years. She’s of course ridiculously comical, but also extremely complex. We’ve all had a teacher or mentor that we’re both terrified of and at the same time completely dependant upon.  One of Gran’s superiors informs us, “We turn a blind eye to the way she operates at times, because bottom line she gives results.” She must, because after witnessing her screaming racial slurs at the boys playing soccer, it’s hard to believe she gets away with it. “Hurry up cocopuff! Go Negro! Go Faggot! Team light skin! Team Dark!” It’s the guiltiest laugh of the episode, deliciously inappropriate. On her free time, Gran tends to her twenty-five Guinea pigs, sews the boys super-hero pajamas, and plays evil practical jokes on them. She’s such a bitch, but a bitch that somehow has a heart.

Daniel and Nathan are two brothers living on a farm. Never before have skinny jeans and neon v-necks seemed so out of place. They’re both too cool for school (as all of Chris’s characters are) and sport their blonde-Bieber do with narcissistic, adolescent flair. But the brilliance comes from Chris’ ability to weave unexpected vulnerability into all his characters’ psyche. Nathan is loosing his hearing, nearing total deafness. His brother Daniel teases him about it any chance he gets. He tells him, “Nathan’s the best brother ever” then places a magazine over his face and mouths to the camera, ”No you’re not, you’re a fuckin’ nob.” Oh, brotherly love. But when Nathan’s parents debate sending him to a deaf educations school, Daniel starts to show how much he really cares about his brother, and says the schooling would be stupid.

Perhaps the most outrageous personality in Chris’ collection is S.Mouse. Although he seems exaggerated on screen, he’s someone we’re seeing more and more today in pop culture. Complete with bling, shades and a shitty single, Chris goes blackface for hip hop star S.Mouse. And people…he’s big. His single “Slap yo elbow” was a phenomenon (as his manager assures us).   “When I first came up with my name, I wanted something powerful, S dot Mouse. It’s a revolutionary name cause it got punctuation in the middle of it. And you think of mouse, which isn’t a big animal, but you know what? People mutha fuckin’ scared of mice.” This introduction pretty much sums up how ludacris this guys is….pun intended.

Chris’ ability to portray such different, intricate personalities is beyond impressive and his comical prowess is one-of-a-kind. Caricatures in comedy acts have come and gone, but what gives Lilley success is the depth his characters possess. Angry Boys isn’t politically incorrect and outrageously offensive for no reason. Each of his characters demonstrates the pressures society puts on young boys. Why do they need to use the f-word every other sentence? Why have they committed manslaughter? Why do they feel the need to wear their sunglasses inside? It’s something definitely worth exploring, and why not through comedy.

Luckily, the show is on HBO. It’s not meant for all audiences (as you could probably tell from the R-rated vocabulary above). A younger crowd might not understand the satire, and that could be dangerous. As adults you can laugh at these silly, self-absorbed, utterly confused people. Here’s to crossing your fingers that no one takes it all too seriously.