Why So Angry?


While Chris Lilley’s Angry Boys, which only aired for one season on HBO, wasn’t as wildly popular as Summer Heights High, his other effort for the network, the mockumentary provides a hilarious and incisive look at how postmodern globalization can impact even the most remote corners of the world—a rural Australian town, in this case. The basic premise of the show is that two twins, Daniel and Nathan (both played by Lilley), are throwing a going-away party for Nathan, who is deaf and needs to leave their small fictional town of Dunt. Their guest list includes a failing American rapper, a washed-up surfing legend, and a skateboarding prodigy whose mother insists he is gay as a marketing ploy. During the expositions of each of these storylines—most of which intertwine at the going-away party—each character (Lilley also plays the skateboarder’s mother, the rapper, the surfer, and the twins’ grandmother) is imbued with the ridiculousness of their plights. From the beginning of the show, the viewer is led to believe that there is no way this assortment of celebrities will actually attend Daniel’s party, but the internet plays a critical role. The connectedness that occurs is a new phenomenon; the characters themselves seem to hardly be able to grasp how widely available things have become (see: Daniel’s porn addiction and S.Mouse’s shock at being dropped by his label after self-releasing a song called “Grandmother F***er”). As The Guardian’s Sam Wollaston wrote of Lilley:

“He’s like an Aussie Sacha Baron Cohen, taking a sub-species of Homo sapiens and turning it into a ridiculous caricature. Except all of his go into one show. No one gets away – idiot hicks, urban idiots, racists, dim police, the prison service, do-gooding liberals, rappers, the music industry, everyone’s worth a pop. It’s beautifully observed, extraordinarily executed; Lilley has an eye for a look and an ear for a line, all timed to perfection.”

The humor Lilley employs is certainly not politically correct, but it is equally offensive amongst all demographics, and not in the normal fragmented mockumentary way. It uses postmodern society as a vehicle through which these separate storylines can weave together, highlighting each of their absurdities even more. In a world of comment sections and video blogs, no one is safe from the inundation of pop culture, celebrity, and all of the idiocy that comes with it—not even two insensitive twins in a rural Australian town.



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3 Responses to Why So Angry?

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I have never seen Angry Boys, so thank you for introducing it! I have seen Summer Heights High and Chris Lilley’s other spinoffs such as Ja’mie and Jonah of Tonga, so perhaps I should watch this one. I think it is interesting how Chris Lilley focuses on taboos with his variety of characters. I like how you pointed out that no one is safe from his offensive humor. The first paragraph of the blog is pretty lengthy but overall, well done. (Emma Cooley)

  2. marymdalton says:

    Break your writing into smaller paragraphs to achieve a journalistic style that is more readable. Move the photo below the first paragraph, and insert a page break after the image. This will make the blog more accessible to readers!

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