After his award-winning performances in Australian of the Year and Summer Heights High, Chris Lilley was already a well-established figure on the comedy scene before Angry Boys. For those that haven’t seen any of the funnyman’s work (after all it is unbelievably still confined to the depths of BBC Three), imagine a Little Britain-style comedy series, often controversial but with less slapstick and more warmth than Lucas and Walliams’ offerings.
Lilley plays all the lead character in his shows, both male and female, with the comedian not scared to focus on topics often controversial in nature. In previous episodes, we’ve seen Ja’mie King, a privately educated brat who’s often racist, Mr G a selfish drama school teacher with a severe dislike of those with special needs and Pat Mullins, the rolling champion with one leg shorter than the other.
In Angry Boys, Lilley focuses his comedy writing skills on six characters, five of which were completely new to fans. This new mockumentary is by far the longest offering so far from the Australian, with viewers treated to 12 half hour episodes, double that of his previous two shows. Yet fans will be pleased to know that this stretching of each character’s story hasn’t watered down the hilarity of the comedian’s latest antics and in my opinion Angry Boys is up there with any comedy series that’s been on TV in the last ten years, despite starting off rather slowly.
Whilst I’m sure viewers will have their favourite characters, for me Jen Okazaki is Lilley’s stand out creation here. With her obsession in portraying her famous skateboarding son Tim as gay, Jen does anything and everything to fuel the profits of her company ‘Gaystyle Industries’, selling penis-shaped lipstick amongst other items to feed her luxurious lifestyle. Also forcing the American born Tim to speak with a Japanese accent, Jen’s fall from grace comes after she reluctantly forces a heterosexual Tim to do topless adverts covered in oil whilst appealing to ‘the gay in all of us’. Gran, otherwise known as Ruth Sims, is also a fantastic character, with Lilley portraying a loving prison warden struggling to come to terms with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s moving stuff at times and it’s this ability to juggle complex emotions and storylines that really sets Lilley’s comedy writing ahead of the field.
Tonight is the final episode of Angry Boys, and my advice is have the tissues ready if you are one of those people that cries at happy endings. Not that I’m giving anything away in the plot, but tonight really is a fitting ending to a comedy series that should soon be on the end of several awards. With season two of Summer Heights High rumoured to be just round the corner, I wonder how long before the BBC move Lilley’s creations onto BBC Two. After all, isn’t that supposedly the home of black humour?