Here Come the Habibs–Season 2, Episode 1 (Lockdown)

What a great way to kick off a season.

Here Come the Habibs was subjected to controversy before it even aired last year with accusations that it was a racist show. However the show turned out to be a success and was thankfully renewed. With the questionable television landscape these days, mostly involving reality shows, as far as I’m concerned an Australian-made sitcom is very welcome and necessary.

This season opened up with an unspecified amount of time passing since the season 1 finale. I felt that this was a good choice as shows tend to shoot themselves in the foot when they open a season and specify the timeline, the most recent example being this year’s season of Love Child. Toufic has returned from a mystery trip where he apparently “became a man”, Olivia and Jack are off on a trip to New York, and Elias and Madison are in a secret relationship.

I felt that the secrecy of where Toufic really went and the relationship between Elias and Madison was well written and well played. With Toufic I could immediately tell with the way he interacted with his father that was something was up and I was intrigued for the entire episode. The reveal of him really holidaying in Bali rather than completing compulsory military service in Lebanon was fantastic–I didn’t see it coming and it expanded Toufic as a character. Toufic is usually portrayed as a dim-witted character, but he has always had a good heart, the fact that he was scared of completing compulsory military service shows a human side to him that has rarely been shown.

The tension between Elias and Madison was another part of the episode I was intrigued by. The season finale left their fate as love interests open and I’m glad that this episode addressed it. Yes they are together and no they haven’t told their parents yet. While their reasons for the secrecy are cliche, the fact that it allowed for the dynamic between them to be explored made the secrecy and will-they-or-won’t-they-tell element intriguing. I especially enjoyed the fight between them as they called out the behaviour of each other’s families, most likely saying what some of the viewers would have been thinking. I also love the writers’ choice to leave the secrecy and the argument unresolved.

I felt that the overall story of the O’Neills and the Habibs having to live together under a quarantine was over-the-top in itself, however the setting was the perfect springboard for the smaller plots. The setting also allowed for the development of the dynamic between the two families, a dynamic which seems to have evolved to them being more open and honest with how much they detest each other.

On smaller notes, I did enjoy the scenes between Toufic and Samantha (I hope we see more of her), and Layla’s social media withdrawals resulting in her saying emojis. I also enjoyed the mention of the Anzaclava, which was established in the previous season. However I also found the bubbleman joke to be cliche and it fell flat.

Overall this season premiere was a huge improvement from last year’s. I’m looking forward to watching and reviewing the rest of this season.

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