Monday, 17 September 2012

The Real House Husbands of...

After the bombardment of ads during the Olympics which were only slightly less annoying than the commentary itself, Channel 9’s post Olympic schedule has barely raised a mention.

From Underbelly: Yet Again, which may or may not have made it to its final episode; to Big Brother which is now just a Gold Coast share house of bored people, as surely the cameras have been turned off by now; and finally to House Husbands, which has already merged into the mashed up memory of mundane Aussie dramas that went nowhere.

House Husbands has been advertised as:
 "A fresh and dynamic look at Australian family life, with a very modern twist" 
A dubious quote, as I don't know how the adjective 'fresh' can be used to describe an Aussie drama about the boredom of suburban living, with the same old plots, seen a thousand times, brought to life by a cast of tired faces we've seen a thousand more times. Once again we have yet another version of a show about ‘Ordinary People, Everyday Problems’.

As for the 'modern twist', whoa, how progressive, men looking after their kids. Way to get out there Channel 9. The House Husbands seem to be a cross between the bumbling men in those ridiculously sexist ads, who display the intelligence of a slug as they try to find the yogurt in the fridge, or somehow successfully cook a frozen meal that is so easy, even DAD can cook it; and the lazy slob Dads of the painful American sitcoms in the 'Fat Man, Hot Wife' genre, where they just want to watch car racing while being belittled by their sassy wives and smart ass kids. Think 'According to Jim', 'Home Improvement', and the big daddy of them all - 'Everybody Loves Raymond'.

As is standard with Aussie TV, the show is full of the familiar faces you don't want to see again. Not daring to stray too far from their comfort zone, Channel Underbelly 9 has cast two of the main characters from the alumni of Underbelly has beens. They've clearly run out of cop shows to put them in. On top of that, we also get to see Gary Sweet As in his latest attempt to keep his Aussie larrikin persona going. The biggest question here is how does this show try to pass him off as one of the kids' fathers? Maybe as the father of one of the other Dads?

House Husbands gives us a gaggle of forgettable-but-déjà-vu story lines, including hapless husbands braving the after-school pick up, and weary wives being over their jobs. How much mileage can they get out of these mundane situations? I cant wait for the episode where Gary Sweet As does the ironing, or when the guy from Underbelly takes the kids to the supermarket to get milk, but sneaks a packet of Twisties without the wife finding out (maybe they could rip off that ad where the Dad is so stupid he can't even pick the right brand of bread for his high maintenance family). Nothing like watching TV about people doing the boring tasks that you are avoiding doing yourself by watching TV.

In this week's episode Mittens
gets the ironing done.
And its all confusingly advertised to the soundtrack from Reservoir Dogs. Are the promotions teams at Channel 9 so conditioned to Underbelly that they automatically think every scene in every show has to copy their favourite gangster film?

Its surprising this show has made it this far. That said, its minimal impact matches 9's other attempt at drama – Tricky Business (is that show still on?) Maybe there's something interesting happening in the Big Brother house that Channel 9's writers could use as inspiration?

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