Archive | January 2016

House Husbands–Season 1, Episode 6

This episode introduced a new and interesting character, Phoebe.

Lewis and Gemma’s wedding is only days away, Abi wants to plan a hens night, so naturally drama needs to come along and possibly mess it all up.

Phoebe shocks Lewis by not only showing up out of the blue, but by revealing that she’s also pregnant at sixteen. Phoebe is the most interesting female character to come along in the series so far. In comparison to Lucy who is grown up, adjusted & loves Gemma and Tilda who is young and innocent, Phoebe is almost a darker character, perhaps to show the more realistic results of a broken marriage and a blended family. Phoebe consistently lies about her circumstances slightly out of immaturity but also as Gemma puts it, because she’s terrified. It was a nice touch to have Lucy clarify the family circumstances of Lewis’ two previous marriages and which daughter belongs to which wife and partner, even if she was in bed with Justin at the time. Phoebe’s animosity towards Gemma played out well and showcased Georgia Flood’s and Julia Morris’ talents.

Phoebe’s pregnancy also shows Lewis’ strength as a man and a father. As a father, he takes Phoebe in, tries to intimidate who he thinks the father of the baby is (only to see that the father is a sweet boy and ends up providing him with advice) and he also takes Phoebe to her ultrasound. As a man, he is able to show his emotional side during the ultrasound, which is big for an old-school man like him. I thought it was very poignant to reveal the baby was a boy, especially since Lewis felt he would have been a better father if he had sons, this is clearly foreshadowing things to come for Lewis as a grandfather.

Gemma and Lewis’ wedding was very beautiful and it was nice to see the two of them ultimately as they really are as a couple–underneath the humour and occasional fights.

On another note, Rachel trying to get Mark to let her son down gently on his crappy marketing idea, was just the right amount of humour needed. It was also nice to see her humanity, as well as see her as a mother. It’ll be interesting to see where they take her after having her hit on Mark. I personally felt it was out of character but funny all the same.

 

 

 

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House Husbands–Season 1, Episode 5

Once again, another school event tying everyone together—the school’s soccer grand final.

This episode took a different approach and decided to be serious and sombre.

The episode started with Lucy and Justin trying to spend time together, ending abruptly with the possibility of Angie swallowing a key ring charm. Rodney grabbing the key ring charm and later showing it to Nicola, trying to convince her to use it as part of the custody case, was the first long-awaited time that Rodney shows his manipulative side to her. Although it was good to see Nicola finally get a first glimpse of who Rodney really is, it wasn’t truly satisfying as it didn’t take us anywhere. On the other side of the spectrum, it was nice to finally have Justin & Lewis address the obvious elephant in the room–Lewis doesn’t want Justin and Lucy dating.

The A story of the discovery of Stella’s tumour in her spine was a ballsy choice—major drama in the fifth episode, of the first season of a show and a child is at the heart of it. With Stella’s diagnosis we are given the backstory of Stella & Tom and what has happened to her mother. Considering the choice to portray Kane as a bit of a drama king, it was refreshing to see him show strength in what would be every parents’ worst nightmare. Of course there was going to be a happy ending, no show, no matter what dramatic risks they choose to take, would make a child character paralysed.

The soccer grand final was a dose of much-needed humour and heart at the end of the sombre episode. The competitiveness of the main men juxtaposed with the reality of the five year olds’ abilities was very entertaining.

Overall a solid episode.

 

House Husbands–Season 1, Episode 4

Once again, another episode starting in media res with a school event being the common thread throughout. I know it’s only the fourth episode in total and only the second episode with the in media res technique being used, but it’s already getting old.

We kick off with Abi coming to see Mark at the police station. Mark has been arrested, which is already making the episode interesting, as it has been established that Mark is a bit of a doormat. We then go back to the day before.

Abi is feeling overwhelmed with work and not being there for Poppy on her birthday and it doesn’t help that she is being made constantly aware of this by: her patient, another mother at the school, Georgia, and even by Mark. Despite the fact that House Husbands is all about the role reversal with stay-at-home dads, it was nice to have the contrast with what mothers have been facing throughout history, in regards to working and having children.

The minor subplot of Stella feeding a stray cat and subsequently acting like a cat in class, was a little too obvious and small, I didn’t really understand the need to include it.

I felt that the back-to-school themed trivia night was well suited for this episode, considering almost all of the adult characters acted like school children. I personally enjoyed the costumes worn by Justin and Lucy. Justin finally asking Lucy out on a date is bound to cause complications and therefore interesting plots down the road.

The twist of Georgia and Pete Rivers being swingers was interesting and humorous, I guess you can’t judge a parent by its over-the-top covers.

Overall the episode was solid but a bit of a hit-and-miss.

House Husbands–Season 1, Episode 3

This episode had so many plots it was hard to keep up–Abi & Kane’s dad visiting and his intentions behind the visit, Gemma being offered a new job and deciding to propose to Lewis, as well as Lewis deciding to propose to Gemma as soon as he finds out about her proposal.

Once again, the episode started revolving around a common thread, this time Morning Music Mayhem at the school, however unlike the previous episodes, the common thread was only brief and the whole episode didn’t revolve around it.

Abi and Kane’s father visiting provided background on both the dynamic between Kane and his father, as well as the sibling rivalry between Abi and Kane. The possibility of their father visiting because he might be dying was an obvious guess, too obvious for it to be the reason, and that was the case with the revelation that he is broke. However that turned out not to be the reason either, rather him trying to help Kane buy a house (and his unusual way of trying to build up a deposit for him).

Gemma deciding to propose to Lewis was a unique plot choice, but then again it is a unique show, however it was disappointing that her proposal wasn’t shown. Lewis’ proposal was a combination of immature, romantic and humorous, which ultimately worked, however going non-traditional would have been nice to see.

Overall the episode was good, but I think they overdid it with the excessive number of plots, to make up for the fact that they spent the first two episodes establishing themselves.

House Husbands–Season 1, Episode 2

Episode 1 as all first episodes are supposed to do established the characters. Episode 2 did its job of going deeper.

Again the episode revolves around one common thread, the first episode revolved around the first day of school, this episode revolved a parents’ show and tell.

There are several revelations throughout the episode with almost all of the characters–Gemma is not Lewis’ wife as she didn’t want to be a wife in a third failed marriage (for Lewis), Lewis has another daughter who lives overseas and Nicola provides an insight into her & Justin’s marriage, which also provides an insight of why she treats him with animosity. Also Abi’s inability to remember what Mark’s job is whereas Mark remembers her whole career progression off the top of his head, is the first glimpse of Abi’s selfishness, as well as a glimpse into the dynamic of their marriage.

This episode was also an episode of motifs and metaphors. Angie’s stuffed bunny falling out of the pram whilst Justin was jogging, foreshadowed the eventual loss of the toy on the tram, and Justin facing the reality of the custody situation. The best way to sum it up is a quote from Justin himself “It’s not about the bunny, it’s about my kids…they reckon I can’t look after my own kids…If I don’t get this bunny back, it’s proof they’re right.” Another metaphor, fittingly after the recovery of the bunny, is Justin returning the bunny to Nicola and suggesting that they hold on to their house they are trying to sell “in case the market improves.”

Overall this episode was a good continuation of the first.

House Husbands–Season 1, Episode 1

The big sell of House Husbands for months before it went to air, was the surprisingly-still big shock of men who choose to be full-time dads and the humour that can come from it.

Episode 1 didn’t disappoint with both the humour and the exploration of stay-at-home dads in Australian society, as well as serving its purpose to establish its characters.

We started in media res with all the main men waiting outside of their childrens’ school principal’s office, looking just as scared as any other child waiting to see the principal. We are then transported back 18 hours earlier, with all the parents trying to ready themselves for all of their childrens’ first day of school. Starting an episode in media res with the A story, is a writing technique that House Husbands will go on to build themselves around.

A thread throughout the main plot of the first day of school is the main men’s inner struggles–Lewis with selling his business and becoming a more involved father, Mark with going back to work, Kane trying to find himself in business and Justin with embracing fatherhood. These threads show the creators fully embracing the role reversal by not only having the main men being stay-at-home dads but also having similar struggles balancing work and life that mothers would face.

The kids taking the school bus for a spin, which in turn leads to the subplot of losing the drugged-up principal is a stretch. In real life this wouldn’t happen, but I will give it a pass as it provides the opportunity for Justin to shine as a character, which is needed due to the writers’ choice of making him the most immature and inexperienced father of the group.

The establishment of character is well done with  the links between each individual established quickly. Abi & Mark are married and Lewis & Gemma are partners, Gemma & Abi work together at the hospital which has most likely lead to Lewis’ & Mark’s friendship, Kane is Abi’s brother and therefore Mark’s brother-in-law, which has lead to the reluctant and possible forced friendship between Kane & Lewis. Justin, the disgraced footballer comes into the picture with his children being at the same school as Kane’s, Lewis’ and Mark’s children, as well as working at the pub with Lucy. Despite the characters living in their own social bubble, the diversity of the families is well done.

The reveal of Lucy being Lewis’ daughter was not that much of a twist, she was bound to be connected in a bigger way at some point, especially with the obvious choice of having Justin and Lucy as potential love interests. The conflict is needed to provide the drama that will keep them from reaching the inevitable.

Overall, Episode 1 is a great start to the series.