Archive | February 2017

House Husbands–Season 5, Episode 4

This is the first episode that I’ve actually enjoyed this season.

While the previous three episodes weren’t bad, I feel that they have fallen flat and been a bit underwhelming.

Inevitably this episode was going to focus on the fallout of the revelation that Bernie wasn’t Mark’s biological father and that Mark would subsequently look for him. I felt that the door knocking was hilarious but a cliche. I also felt that it was a bit of a cliche to have Mark meet his biological father in bizarre and almost slapstick circumstances, that being said I liked that William turned out to be a kind man. Considering the circumstances, he could have gone either way. I felt that the plot overall was unrealistic, especially the ending, however they are times when you watch a TV show where you know certain plots would never happen in reality but it’s so good that you can live with that…this is one of those plots. Considering the heavy promotion of this plot and its dramatic reveal, I’m hoping this isn’t the end of it, otherwise it all would have been a total waste. I did appreciate the subtle reference to last season’s story arc of Justin discovering he’s not Angie’s biological father, as ridiculous as that arc was it’s good to know that the writers aren’t pretending that it doesn’t exist.

I felt that the Rafiq subplot was predictable, it was obvious that he’s wanting to become a professional AFL player for mostly the wrong reasons and that the outcome of him not being selected was inevitable. I felt that Justin constantly putting Rafiq in his place was getting tired due to the repetitive nature of having to do so, however I didn’t see him hitting Angie with his car coming until the last minute, which I appreciated. As soon as I saw it happen, I had flashbacks to Nicola’s death in season 2 and I questioned whether this “flashback” or sense of deja vu was a deliberate choice by the writers, or whether they chose to do this purely because a little girl being hit by a car by her uncle is dramatic. The outcome was obvious as this isn’t the kind of show that would kill off a child the same way that they killed her mother, nevertheless it was the necessary and cliche motivation for Justin to kick Rafiq out of his life, or at least for now, so Rafiq’s character (hopefully) develops further.

While I’m looking forward to seeing how Mark, Rachel, Lewis and Nick work as business partners, I wasn’t sold on kids jamming sessions as a business idea itself, as well as Mark and Rachel working together again. We’ve seen Mark and Rachel work together disastrously before, I feel that the only way that their working relationship won’t grow tired again is if their working relationship actually changes for the better, especially on Rachel’s end. That being said as the writers are developing Rachel more as a softer character, it’s definitely possible. It will certainly be interesting to watch over the next few episodes. On a smaller note, it’s good to see Nick and Lewis getting along and the reveal of why Nick is constantly looking after an unknown woman and her child.

I also enjoyed the smaller subplot of Gemma and Abi working together at the hospital. So far I’ve felt that this subplot has been underused but not necessarily in a bad way. Yes there needs to be more time devoted to it, however I like the writers choice to feed it to us viewers in small pieces. In this episode we are lead to believe that Abi is intimidated by and jealous of Gemma’s abilities and just when we think she is being bitchy, it turns out she couldn’t be further from it. I have mentioned in multiple reviews of the show that I view Abi as a selfish character and I’ve also acknowledged that there have been plenty of times where she has been selfless, but this is the first time I can recall where the writers make it look like she is being selfish where it turns out she’s actually being selfless. I think that this is a great move and further shows the evolution of Gemma and Abi’s relationship as colleagues and as friends, and the tightrope that they are currently walking on.

As I said the previous three episodes have fallen flat and have been a bit underwhelming, I feel that this episode was entirely different as the writing was solid, and all of the subplots interweaved well but also stood strong on their own. I hope that the writers utilise this strategy more often, especially as they managed to write such a strong episode without using their tired “go-to move” of using in media res.

On another note, Delta Goodrem’s character still hasn’t been introduced which is now starting to annoy me. The previous seasons of House Husbands have usually been either 10 or 13 episodes each, the fact that we are nearing the halfway point and a major cast addition still hasn’t be introduced is a little concerning, however I have feeling that she will be introduced for a major story arc for the second half of the season.

I may be wrong but I’m certainly looking forward to finding out.

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House Husbands–Season 5, Episode 3

This episode fell a little flat for me.

While I’m glad that it wasn’t overly melodramatic, despite the subject matter, and the writing was mostly solid, I felt that this episode like last week’s, was a filler to build up major story arcs and later episodes.

I felt that the ashes subplot was a little cliche–losing the ashes, the battle between family members over the ashes, and even a child hiding the ashes because they don’t want their family members to leave–it has all been seen and done before.

Meanwhile, Justin’s brother, Rafiq, is introduced. While I was aware of the existence of Justin’s brother due to the TV Week preview issue, the whole character and story arc feels out of place to me. Mark asked the question that I’m sure a lot of loyal viewers would have had on their minds, “when did Justin get a brother?”

I was surprised that the writers chose a younger brother for Justin, I had the impression that Rafiq would be an older brother. That being said I feel that Rafiq and Justin complement each other very well and shows how far Justin has come as a character–Justin was Rafiq ten years ago. I feel that the blackmail aspect of this subplot was a cliche and the outcome was predictable, however I appreciated how the ending overlapped into Mark’s subplot.

My favourite subplot of the episode by far was the interactions between Nick and Atticus. The new boyfriend of a mother trying to gain the attention and approval of his girlfriend’s child by being the “fun step-parent” is something I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. However I was surprised that as a teacher, Nick didn’t see the inevitable outcome of Atticus using this to his advantage. That being said I did like this subplot’s ending, I felt Nick’s “punishment” was hilarious and fitting, not to mention that Rachel’s understated reaction is another small but perfect development to her character.

I liked the writers choice to have the conversation between Liz and Mark calm after the dramatic reveal of Bernie not being his biological father. Considering how melodramatic the last two seasons of House Husbands have been, I felt that this lead into the next part of this subplot was well done and a step in the right direction.

Despite the episode falling flat for me, I’m looking forward to seeing where Mark’s and Justin’s subplots go in the next episode.

House Husbands–Season 5, Episode 2

This episode was purely about Mark’s parents visiting to build up to the impending reveal that Mark is apparently adopted or not his “father”, Bernie’s, son. Although the reveal didn’t happen in this episode, thanks to the ads, we know it’s coming. I wasn’t really sympathetic towards Liz, although I feel she was the most honest and interesting character in the episode. I’m not supposed to feel sympathetic towards her as that’s how she’s written, but nevertheless it was interesting to see someone point out Abi’s selfish behaviour and flaws, especially by someone who is exactly like that themselves. It was even more interesting for her to point out how much of a pushover Mark is and that of all people, the domineering Lewis was the one to defend Mark and told him to stand up for himself.

I saw Bernie’s death coming, at first glance during the dance scene I thought Liz was going to die but Bernie dying is more dramatic and logical (writing wise), as he is the more sympathetic character. The reveal of Bernie having been a cross dresser was unexpected, I didn’t really understand the purpose of this reveal or to make it a part of Bernie’s character, but maybe it will be addressed when Mark tries to find out who his father is in future episodes.

The mystery and apparent dubiousness of Sheridan’s character, Nick, was only briefly touched upon in this episode but was mainly pushed aside for the A story of Mark’s parents showing up. I did enjoy the contrast between Nick’s unconditional encouragement towards Justin’s career goals and Lewis’ domineering and jealous nature. The truth of Nick’s character, including his arrangement with his “friend” and his gambling are yet to be revealed and I’m looking forward to it all being explained and revealed, I’m just hoping the writers don’t drag it out. I also enjoyed the glimpses of Rachel’s humanity when she was dealing with her inadvertent self-inflicted food poisoning and Nick’s caring behaviour towards her. I hope the writers show more of her softer side, I know the bitchiness is a staple of her character but since they’ve made her a regular but not leading cast member, they need to develop her character more, and slowly but surely showing her softer side is a solid way to do it.

Overall I felt that this episode was a bit clunky–it was overfilled with drama and the transitions and interweaving of the A and B story was off-putting instead of seamless. Having the arrival of new characters with the death of one of them, a birthday party, conflict and dubious characters, was a bit too much drama for one episode. That being said I have the feeling the episode was written like this, as a filler, to provide a foundation for the next few episodes.

Delta Goodrem’s character still hasn’t been introduced, considering the heavy promotion of her addition to the cast, I hope the writers don’t drag out her introduction either.

 

House Husbands–Season 5, Episode 1

So the first episode of Season 5 of House Husbands just aired, this means that the show has been on the air for five years.

So how do I feel about this episode, as well as how House Husbands has evolved over the last five years? To be honest, I feel a little mixed.

I’m a little disappointed that the writing techniques of House Husbands haven’t progressed beyond in media res. I’d let it go if it was made clear that this is their signature technique, but as this hasn’t been made officially clear, it still bugs me that it’s rare for an episode to be structured any differently. Nevertheless starting the episode and the fifth season with the sound of a chainsaw, which introduced Hugh Sheridan as Nick Gazecki, to the show was hilarious. I also liked the use of the boys’ poker night as bookends for the episode.

What I was most curious about was if and how Gyton Grantley’s (Kane) departure was going to be addressed. It seemed like him, Alex and the new baby that Gemma carried last season, are over in Scotland. I’m relieved that they addressed his departure, especially as Tim Campbell’s was barely touched on and Anna McGahan’s was never acknowledged, however I knew that they had to address it as no show would really get away with not explaining the departure of a lead character. I would have liked to have been told what happened with Justine Clarke’s character, Eve, but I can live with the explanation of Kane and Co. moving to Scotland to take care of Alex’s sick mother.

Other than the in media res technique, the writing of House Husbands in regards to transitioning from the end of season 4 until now, has been mostly seamless. Overall there is good continuity with Kane’s departure addressed, the subtle reveal of a year having passed by, the age of Abi and Mark’s children (including their youngest baby), Gemma’s career progression, Lewis’ involvement at the kids’ school, and Angie’s age. One thing I did worry about was what looked like a lack of character progression with Mark’s character and the clear recycling of a plot line. Mark standing up for himself after he was fired and both Abi and Mark being temporarily jobless was a season 2 story arc, however this time around it seems better executed, especially as for once (and finally) Mark didn’t have to grovel to get a job he hated back.

The A story focused on the introduction of Sheridan’s character and overall I like him a lot. He’s a breath of fresh air as he’s clearly not a pushover like Kane and he’s also not a ‘husband’. I also liked how he subtly fit into the B story of Gemma’s medical exam by helping Tillie deal with her feelings of abandonment by her parents, as well as by helping Angie deal with her first-day-of-school angst. I also liked the fact that Lewis’ ‘paranoia’ about Nick turned out to be justified, or at least it seems to be, at the end of the episode, when it’s revealed he was paying a woman who’s the father of his baby. I’m looking forward to finding out what that’s about, however I didn’t particularly like the relationship between him and Rachel, they’re clearly not suited.

The B story of Gemma being accused of cheating on her medical exam was underwhelming for me as the outcome was obvious. Although I was happy that Gemma’s desire and efforts to become a doctor from previous seasons weren’t completely ignored.

On smaller notes, I liked the addition of Ngaire Dawn Fair and Denise Scott to the recurring guest cast. Ngaire Dawn Fair’s, Demi, is clearly a long overdue and unique love interest for Justin, and I think Denise Scott’s, Toni, will be a great arch nemesis for Abi when she returns to work. Speaking of Abi, I’m glad to see that she wasn’t in the spotlight for once.

Overall, despite my mixed feelings, for a premiere for a season that’s been dubbed one of change, it was pretty good and I appreciated that it wasn’t melodramatic. However it looks like the next few episodes will be, I’m hoping the fifth year doesn’t mark another year of House Husbands becoming more of a soap opera.

 

 

 

TV Week Extra 2017 Preview

I was eagerly looking forward to buying TV Week’s Extra magazine as it was a special edition of previews of 2017 TV shows. I was especially eager to read previews on the shows I’ve been reviewing on this site: Doctor Doctor, Here Come the Habibs, House Husbands, Hyde & Seek, Love Child, The Secret Daughter, and The Wrong Girl.

In all honesty, I was quite disappointed overall.

A feature article on Jessica Marais provided “previews” on The Wrong Girl and Love Child. Preview is a term I use loosely as the Love Child preview was basically a four paragraph compilation of a summary of the season three finale, a summary of why Love Child has been successful, and two questions that could be seen as previews/spoilers. The questions were whether we have really seen the last of Joan and Jim and whether it’s the right time for McNaughton to have Joan? In all honesty I thought Jim may have been gone for good and that any hopes of a McNaughton-Joan relationship were dashed, but I take no issue with being proven wrong. The Wrong Girl preview was similar, with one small paragraph telling viewers to expect “plenty more love dilemmas, outrageous work antics and family disasters when the series returns”. One thing I’m interested in seeing is what outrageous work antics Lily will get into as she quit her job in the finale.

The House Husbands preview focused more on the fact that Hugh Sheridan and Delta Goodrem have joined the cast and what their characters will bring to the show. Apparently Sheridan’s character, Nick, is a flawed music teacher who becomes Lewis’ enemy. Whereas Delta’s character, Izzy, is a motorbike riding tomboy who simultaneously excites and frightens everyone in the House Husbands world.

The preview of The Secret Daughter was basically just a summary of what happened in the first season, quotes from an interview with Bonnie Sveen and a question of a possible and obvious plot–“has Billie (Jessica Mauboy) really turned her back on the Nortons and her bestie, Layla (Sveen)–not to mention a promising singing career?”

The preview of Here Come the Habibs was not a preview, it was an interview with three of the cast members on their characters. This was disappointing as it would have been good to at least been given a hint on what’s to come, especially for the second season of a show that managed to be controversial before it even aired.

The preview of Doctor Doctor was basically an interview with lead actor, Rodger Corser, who is looking forward to shooting season two, as well as the question of whether Penny (Hayley McElhinney) will return.

No mention of Hyde & Seek was made, which doesn’t surprise me, I think that story has been told.

TV Week did a good job with it’s previews special magazine, however I was disappointed by the small amount of previews and the fact that the previews weren’t really previews, just summaries of what had already happened and maybe a hint of more to come. I was expecting in-depth previews, nevertheless I’m still looking forward to watching and reviewing all of these shows again, with House Husbands kicking off on Monday night.