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House Husbands–Season 5 Finale

So we’ve now reached the end of the fifth season.

Season finales tend to go one way or the other due to their unpredictable nature. If a show isn’t renewed, all loose ends have to be tied up and the ending has to be satisfying (although you can’t please everyone). If the show is renewed, there has to be enough loose ends tied up to properly wrap up the season, as well as open new doors for future plots.

Since I can’t find any news of House Husbands being neither cancelled or renewed for a sixth season, overall I found the finale to be quite underwhelming.

Of course the focus needed to be on the fallout of the revelation that the school is shutting down and Lewis’ knowledge of it. I found his outburst at the school meeting to be quite bizarre and frankly didn’t have any real purpose, other than an attempt at a laugh.

As well as the exploration of the fallout on the adults, the exploration was also needed with the children. I knew Poppy would be injured in some way due to the promos aired and I knew it wouldn’t be by a car as that had already happened with Angie in an earlier episode, however I felt that the writers choice to have her fall out of a tree fit well in the plot. Two kids injured in one season just to add drama I feel is an unnecessary and overwhelming cliche, the writers need to think of better and original ways to amp up the drama of their plots. I could see Poppy’s recovery coming, but I’ll give it a pass.

Knowing it was the finale, I did wonder all week how the school shutting down story arc would be tied up. The Mayor purposely giving the Minister the wrong numbers and the reveal of this being incorporated in the school’s anniversary play, was the best way to have it end. However I feel that this serious and important plot should have been spread out throughout the season rather than squeezed into two episodes. That being said I did enjoy Lewis and Gemma working as a team to get what they needed, and Gemma throwing various items towards but not at the security guards was hilarious.

I didn’t expect Gyton Grantley to return at the tail end of the episode with the boys on the Kokoda Track and I thought it was nice. I’ve never seen a departed character return, let alone meet the character who replaced him and it was a nice moment. There was a part of me that felt it was a bit of waste to leave his appearance for the last few moments with no explanation as to why he decided to return, and whether his return will be permanent. However it was a nice ending for a finale.

In regards to the season a whole, it has been a major improvement on the previous two. Seasons three and four were nothing but melodramatic and I believe the writers were trying to make the show (unsuccessfully) into a soap opera. With this season and its new characters, the writers have brought the melodramatic downs employing more subtlety, and I’ve found their plots have been tighter and more concise. It’s not as a good as season two, but if I had to rank all five seasons from best to worst, this season would come second. For those of you wondering, my order from best to worst is: season two, season five, season one, season three and season four.

I hope House Husbands will be renewed, but if it isn’t, this finale was a good but not great way to go.

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House Husbands–Season 5, Episode 11

So now the focus is on Lewis as a Councillor.

Lewis has won the district bi-election and can now “clean up council” or so he thinks, the reality of Lewis actually ending up on the bottom of the council pecking order was obvious and I like how the writers subtly but surely showed that reality. I found the fact that the Mayor revealed to Lewis that Nepean South would be shutting down, just as he becomes a Councillor to be a huge cliche, however it is a nice plot for the remainder of the season. I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that the school shut down plot completely departs from the rest of the season but it is interesting enough.

Of course Gemma is provided a huge and conflicting job opportunity at the same time with the San Diego internship, which was mentioned in an earlier episode. I hoped that the bullying surgeon wouldn’t be returning and thankfully he didn’t, although it would have been another solid conflict, especially since it wasn’t resolved in that particular episode. The debate that emerged about whose career is more important out of the two of them did fit the plot well and is partially the premise of the show in its entirety, but since this debate has been addressed time and time again, I thought it was a cliche.

I loved the moment when Lewis leaked the news of the school shutting down to a reporter as it was true to his character, the only true moment of the entire episode. The montage of all of the characters reading the newspaper article was a nice touch, however I did see Lewis being the scapegoat coming.

Overall, despite the cliches, I feel that this was one of the best episodes of House Husbands that I have ever seen. This is due to the fact that the writers didn’t follow their usual formula. They abandoned their in media res writing technique and kids/school event go-to, as well as made the choice to tell the story with the focus on two of the main characters, rather than slicing the pie and focusing on the whole group.

 

House Husbands–Season 5, Episodes 9 & 10

Since the network decided to air two episodes at once, I’ve decided to review both episodes in the one post.

After months of promotion and weeks of dragging it out, Delta Goodrem or as she’s known in the House Husbands world, Izzy Dreyfus, finally arrived! A little tip to the producers (if you by chance read this) don’t drag out a major cast addition, you’re just annoying/screwing over the viewer, but I digress.

The last time I saw Delta Goodrem in action as an actress was in Hating Alison Ashley over a decade ago not long after receiving treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and I also saw her skills at work for the first time in her Neighbours role. Goodrem’s definitely come a long way from those days, not to mention her character as a teacher provides a nice full circle to her Neighbours role. Overall I like Izzy, however I would like to know whether the writers had Goodrem in mind for the role, as I can’t help but feel that they were trying too hard to make her a bad girl/hippie. I also felt that the writers were trying too hard when it came to the sexual tension between her and Nick, and I questioned whether they inserted it to draw attention to the fact that Nick is dating an older woman and that Izzy is an attractive, age-appropriate option.

I did appreciate the link between the Nick gambling subplot and Izzy’s introduction and I was thankful that Nick didn’t go back to his old ways. I also enjoyed the interactions between Izzy and Lewis as I was relieved that they didn’t make him the creepy older man ogling over a younger woman, rather a man in need of help who didn’t even know it until someone else pointed it out to him. The dyslexia reveal was predictable due to the promo spoiling it, but it made for interesting character development.

Speaking of Lewis, it was interesting to see both him and Rafiq in denial about their conditions. They typically tried to ignore it until they couldn’t but how their eventual acceptance played out was well done. Lewis trying to cheat on a spelling bee was a cliche and in typical fashion he was simultaneously denying and accepting of his condition by the end of the episode. It’ll be interesting to see whether his dyslexia will be brought up again in later episodes, since it was left unresolved. With Rafiq, the news of his condition ending his football career before it started and trying to ignore it was cliche, however I’m glad that he found another career path in the process. That in itself is also a cliche, nevertheless it was good to see him develop as a character and have a happy ending.

In typical House Husbands fashion, the episodes revolved around school events, in this case the parents’ spelling bee and the science fair. While I’m glad they didn’t drag out, I felt they were a bit of a waste considering that both events were only featured for about two minutes. On smaller notes, I did enjoy the running gag of Rachel hitting on every man due to her hormones, however the running gag of Mark being Lewis’ council campaign manager made me cringe, again there was a “trying too hard” element to it.

Overall both episodes were good but not great, with all of the cliches in both the plots and in some of Izzy’s character traits, they fell a little flat.

House Husbands–Season 5, Episode 8

After the dramas of Nick’s secret coming out over the last few episodes, a light episode with simple A and B stories was necessary.

The A story of Angie winning a family trip to Disneyland was sweet and light-hearted without being corny. I did enjoy the opening scene of Angie calling the radio station, although I question the realism of Justin going along with it and the other characters coincidentally listening to the broadcast at the same time. I found the obstacle of Justin’s expired passport to be predictable and Lewis’ appeal to the Passport Services employee a little unrealistic, but I appreciate that it wasn’t overplayed. I was happy to see that Justin and the kids were able to go on their holiday, the outcome was slightly predictable but did manage to keep me on my toes enough, and besides if any of the families deserve a holiday it’s them.

Despite my questioning of the realism of the other characters listening to the broadcast at the same time, I did appreciate its use to connect the A and B stories. The scenes between Rafiq and his boss were well done, with the right amount of ambiguity in each interaction to keep the viewers engaged. While I found the boss’ actions and Justin’s eventual discovery of the situation to be predictable, I did enjoy the interactions between the boss and Gemma throughout the episode and I felt that the inevitable outcome couldn’t have been done better. In writing, the devil is in the detail and as a writer I appreciate how subtle and seemingly insignificant moments can prove to be the most crucial part of a story.

One standout of the episode was Lewis. Usually Lewis is the centre of attention due to his often controlling, dominating and just plain bad behaviour, so his role as a supporting player to the guys and Rafiq was a welcome change. I especially enjoyed his and Gemma’s parental behaviour towards Rafiq and their decision to take him in, which I’m sure will play out in the remaining episodes of the season, however I couldn’t help but question whether this to make up for Justin’s brief absence and the lack of older children in the Crabb household.

On a smaller note, I found Lewis’ encounter at the massage clinic a little ridiculous, but I found it hilarious and writing-wise I was relieved, that it lead to his decision to run for council as it’s true to his character. I’m looking forward to seeing this subplot played out in the remainder of the season. I’m not sure how I feel about the guys’ decision to walk the Kokoda Track, hopefully it won’t be forgotten about in the upcoming episodes.

Overall this episode was solid but not spectacular as I found the stories for the most part to be predictable and subsequently bland, however there was enough heart and humour in it to offset those flaws a little. I have the feeling that this episode is a filler to the remaining episodes of the season and whatever ‘drama’ Delta Goodrem’s character will bring, who is FINALLY being introduced next week.

 

House Husbands–Season 5, Episode 7

Last week’s episode focused on the fallout of Nick’s secret being revealed to the guys. This episode shifted focus to the fallout with Rachel.

Despite my stated hatred for Rachel in previous reviews, I have also admitted that it’s obvious that the writers have chosen to make her a permanent character. Due to this choice, the writers have focused on her more and more, however this is the first episode that completely revolves around her and I loved this choice. I loved it for the obvious reason that her character is finally being explored and developed in full, but I also loved it for the bigger picture–this is the first episode that isn’t centred around the guys or their wives.

As I was watching the episode, especially the scenes between Rachel, Abi and Gemma, I had an epiphany on why Rachel was made a permanent character. As a couple, Rachel and Nick are filling the void left by Kane and Tom/Alex, however on her own, Rachel is filling the void left by Nicola and Lucy. There have always been the four main guys, however Tom and Alex were never seen being friends with the girls, Rachel is the first female character since Nicola to be friends with the girls and has now made the House Husbands world an evening field on a gender basis. This choice has enabled for further character development, new relationships, friendships and dynamics–a much needed breath of fresh air for a great show which seemed to have lost its way over the last couple of years, but I’m digressing.

I found the A story of a possible problem with Rachel and Nick’s baby to be a cliche as the outcome was predictable. However I liked the fact that the episode didn’t focus on the obvious but not-touched-on fact that Rachel is an older mother. The underlying sex ed scenes with the kids were equal parts cringeworthy and hilarious, with Abi’s selfishness and arrogance showing itself for the first time this season, as well as the unexpected reveal of Atticus discovering Rachel’s pregnancy tests. I also enjoyed Rachel and Atticus’ interactions, they had the right amount of humour and realism, the latter done exceptionally well due to the fact that Allsop and Serafin are “real life” mother and son. My favourite interaction by far was between Rachel and Lewis, especially as personality-wise they are definitely equals and treated each other that way for the first time.

I found the B story of Nick losing his job a little predictable, as I saw the outcome of both the loss and regain of his job coming. Nothing about this story stood out, even his touching speech and the kids’ protests, however there is an exception to the underlying issue of the school’s rabbit. The rabbit subplot disturbed me and it also didn’t really add much to the episode, so it felt like a waste.

Overall the episode was interesting with the choice to make it Rachel-centric, however it wasn’t great as it was clunky. Yet again, Delta Goodrem’s character has still not been introduced and mine (and I’m sure the viewers’) patience is wearing thin on this issue. However I will do something that I’ve been meaning to do for the last few reviews…give writers for credit for the fact that they haven’t used in media res since the beginning of the season.

 

House Husbands–Season 5, Episode 6

So this episode explored the ramifications of Nick’s secret coming out, just as I thought it would, or at least with the guys.

I felt that the guys alternating between resenting and helping Nick was realistic and done well, displaying how much their friendship with him has grown. While Nick certainly had to tell Rachel the truth, I felt that the guys’ constant reminders was a bit overbearing. However the best thing I took from the guys’ behaviour is that, without realising it, they’re really standing up for Rachel.

Speaking of Nick and Rachel, I felt that their relationship progression was quite rushed and that it was only done to progress the Nick-gambling plot. Going from possibly moving in together at the beginning of the episode, to Rachel revealing her pregnancy in the middle, to the relationship imploding at the end, was a bit much for one episode. I felt that the secret coming out by Atticus wanting to learn how to play poker was brilliant and the best way for Rachel to find out. I also enjoyed seeing Rachel trying to find emotional support in Mark, however I do feel her hot-and-cold personality is getting a little old, on the plus side though she wasn’t nasty to him which is a definite improvement.

I felt that the B story focusing on Gemma and the orthopaedic surgeon was a little predictable. I could see the sexual harassment coming from a mile away and the San Diego internship was a bit of a stretch. I have to admit I thought that the surgeon would play favourites with Gemma in the surgery after she “cleared the air” and that there was real potential for a friendship, so it was good that the bullying surprised me and in hindsight was a more realistic outcome. I was surprised by the revelation of another student being bullied by him, which made for interesting character development–the orthopaedic surgeon clearly is a bully rather than someone who bullies women who reject his advances. I have a feeling that this plot hasn’t been completely resolved but I’m glad that Gemma stood up for herself and Lewis was a supportive and loving witness.

On smaller notes, I love that Toni is becoming the comic relief of the show and yet again Delta Goodrem’s character still hasn’t been introduced. Maybe now that Rachel and Nick’s relationship has ended she’ll appear. I’m just hoping that the writers won’t screw the viewers over and wait until the last episode to introduce her.

 

 

House Husbands–Season 5, Episode 5

So we’re nearing the halfway point of the season which means that a story arc usually reaches it peak. In this episode, I’d say that the major story arc–Nick’s secret gambling–is starting to reach its peak.

Throughout the episode there’s a build up of Nick’s desperation to pay back a gambling debt, which I felt was rushed a little since I didn’t feel this much build up in the previous episode, however it was done well. The fact that Nick keeps digging further down the hole by offering to give Rachel the money adds a necessary complication to keep the episode moving, however it is an inconsistent move for his character and his arc. A smart man (at least as smart as you could be in that kind of situation) would have just paid the debt, however the writers had to somehow remind the viewers that he is a good guy at heart. I was glad that the writers didn’t go with another cliche of Nick possibly stealing the school’s fundraising money.

I felt that the revelation of Nick’s gambling to the guys at their business’ premises was a good fit, however I didn’t like the fact that it wasn’t completely resolved. I did appreciate that Nick stood up for himself at the end of the episode to the guys, further marking his distinction from Kane who was a constant doormat.

In the background was the preparation for the school’s talent quest for parents, which ultimately saw the girls and guys split up into two teams. It was interesting to see the parents on show rather than the kids for a change and they certainly showed great potential and humour, but I found it all a little cheesy. I think the highlight of the plot for me was Toni’s desire to be a part of the band and ultimately inserting herself in it. This outcome wasn’t a surprise unfortunately as the whole format of the ‘outsider wanting to be included, being pushed away and ultimately being the most talented and well received’ was a cliche.

I am liking the idea of Toni and Rachel being part of the girls’ ‘gang’ more and more as the season progresses. I’m liking this as Toni and Rachel have progressed past being two dimensional characters. Toni was just a nurse at a country hospital last season, now she’s the feisty head nurse who secretly likes Gemma and Abi. Rachel on the other hand has become less bitchy and more human, which I wasn’t a fan of at first, but I’m starting to come around as it’s clear she is now going to be a permanent fixture.

I personally felt that both the guys and the girls did well, however the boys winning wasn’t all that plausible. On another note, I wasn’t a fan of Lewis accusing Gemma of cheating on him, especially after what he did to her and I appreciated that the writers didn’t forget this fact and that Gemma reminded him of his own indiscretion. I also appreciate these subtle notes to the ridiculous plots of last season as it shows great continuity.

Overall this episode was good, however some out the outcomes were cliche and the tension and reveal of Nick’s secret was a little rushed. On another note, Delta Goodrem’s character still hasn’t been introduced and we’re approaching the halfway point. Maybe now that Nick’s secret is out and the ramifications will clearly be explored in the next episode, she’ll magically appear.