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.