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.