It’s possible that too many Chris Lilleys spoil the broth. In Episodes 1 and 2 of Angry Boys I was willing to let the show take its time introducing its characters, but by Episodes 3 (and to a lesser extent 4) I began to feel impatiently ready for some actual plot. This is largely due to my indifference to the new character Blake Oakfield. Oakfield is a surfer who is part of Daniel and Nathan’s Wall of Legends, all of whom the boys are inviting to a farewell party before Nathan goes away to deaf school, despite the discouragement they receive from the authority figures in their house.
Oakfield is a frizzy-haired retired champion surfer who now lives to maintain his local gang called the Mucca Mad Boys, who largely exist to fight with another nearby surf group, the Fennel Hell Men. Blake’s other claim to fame is that he has no balls: he was shot in the balls during a gang fight (the photo of his mutilated testicle was both unnecessary and yet not as gross as I would have imagined), so we got a lot of footage of his mates kicking him in the crotch to prove that he can’t feel anything. In fact, there was a lot of dick humor in tonight’s two episodes, which can be funny when used sparingly but otherwise gets tired fast.
Blake’s wife bemoans his lack of ambition now that he’s given up surfing. “He spends a lot of time hanging out with his gang mates. He’s not 15 anymore,” she says, wishing he would help more with the house since they have two kids and a third on the way (sperm donor.) I understand how Blake’s state of arrested development fits into the theme of Angry Boys, but I didn’t find his story particularly funny or interesting, plus its exposition felt overlong: I could have used less footage of gang fights and definitely less crotch-kicking. Plus, for how much money has gone into the series, I was surprised by the lack of surfing footage. Thus far I don’t see what Blake adds to the Lilley cannon: he seems relatively nondescript compared to the other characters we’ve met thus far.
Over on the other side of the world, S.mouse is on house arrested after the matter of him pooping on a police car. He sorts through fan mail: “‘I love S.mouse.’ Yeah, we know that, motherfucker.” We also meet S.mouse’s girlfriend, the cringe-inducingly-named LaSquisha, who barely tolerates him.
After listening to his new demo track “Gingerbread S.mouse,” the rapper decides once again to break out of the mold his managers have made for him. He releases a track called “Grandmotherfucker” (the actual songs, where you can enjoy S.mouse’s idiocy at leisure, are one of my favorite parts of the S.mouse storyline.) S.mouse’s father is furious at his son for putting his career in jeopardy, stealing the famous “I brought you into this world…” line from Bill Cosby. S.mouse asserts his adulthood and tells his father to eat a dick. “I’ve flown the coop,” he says, even though he’s still on house arrest.
Not surprisingly, S.mouse gets dumped by his label: “They got a lot of complaints from grandmas about my video,” he says, but despite the lack of support from his father and girlfriend, he remains unrepentant. I sense that most Lilley characters get some sort of happy ending, or redemption, or revenge at the ends of his series, but I hope for the opposite for S.mouse, who basically needs a good spanking.
The episode felt like an overlong, not-very-funny exposition of two frustrated, confused young men, neither of whom thus far are on my list of favorite Lilley characters. “Where’s Gran?” I kept wondering.
Episode 4 introduced us to even more characters, but at least in this case, both were interesting or amusing in their own way. Daniel learns that one of the Legends can’t make it to Nathan’s farewell party, so his twin suggests another hero, boy-wonder skateboarder Tim Okazaki, instead. “I’m not that into him because he’s a bit of a fag,” Daniel says. “But you got a white guy, a black guy, and a Chinese guy. Or he’s Japanese. I reckon that’s a good mix.”
So then we jet over to Tokyo for a very impressive flashy, loud indoor skate park scene to meet Tim and his momager Jen, the latter of whom is played by Lilley. Jen Okazaki is cut from the same cloth as Ja’ime King, IE casually and compellingly evil. With no compunction, Jen tells the camera how she forced Tim to become a skater: “He wasn’t all that keen on it, but I made him do it,” partially through emotional abuse: “I told Tim that if he did not succeed at skateboarding then I would kill myself.” In addition, even though the Okazakis are American, Jen decided that her son would have a bigger fanbase in Japan, so she relocated the family to Tokyo and forces Tim to pretend that he’s Japanese. Not only that, she figured that if Tim were gay, he’d have an even bigger fan following, so she compels him to shout “I’m gay!” before and after each trick, which is met by roars of applause. She’s even started a phallic-themed line of Tim Okazaki merchandise called “GayStyle Enterprises.” Strangely enough, all these harebrained schemes worked: Tim is wildly popular and Jen takes all the credit. Jen is soft-spoken and ruthless, the type of woman who feels no shame in discussing how “disappointed” she was in having a third baby as she holds said child in her arms.
The Tim/Jen storyline worked well for a few reasons. First, obviously, it’s composed of more actual humor and weirdness than most of the other characters on Angry Boys, plus last week I confessed my preference for Lilley’s female characters. But moreover, for the first time during this series we meet a compelling non-Lilley character. Summer Heights High featured several well-developed characters to play off Lilley in the form of other teachers and students, but up until this point that hasn’t been the case with Angry Boys. Blake’s wife and the twins’ parents are satellites thus far and S.mouse’s dad is a bit of a cartoon. There’s something otherwordly about Tim, who doesn’t love pretending to be gay/Japanese but is willing to go along with it as long as he can skate. Tim is played guilelessly by baby-faced 18-year-old Jordan Dang, and I’m curious to know how much of his own skateboarding he does for the role. Tim is the eye of the Jen hurricane, and while he’s a sweet and sympathetic character, I also couldn’t help but wonder what exactly is wrong with him that he patiently puts up with his mother’s insanity. How does he fit into the Angry Boys theme? Will he rebel by the end of the season?
The other storylines in the episode didn’t seem to add much to the plot as a whole. Blake is still fighting with his gang, despite his wife’s frustrations. Nathan masturbates a lot, which to me was a pretty weak angle except I liked Steve’s nod of understanding when Daniel explains, “It’ll give his cock a break, at least,” after duct-taping milk jugs to Nathan’s hands.
By now a third of the series has been used to very slowly introduce us to its characters. I want to know if the pace will pick up and if the time spent lingering on the characters (especially those whose lives seem especially stagnant, like the twins’ and Blake’s) will all pay off.
And tonight I still wanted to know: Where’s Gran?
—I love the dancing little boy in the show’s intro.
—There’s something really sweet and pathetic about Steve’s dog, and not just because Nathan allegedly presses his penis against him.
—The discouragement from the twins’ mom and her boyfriend regarding the Legendary Farewell Party felt a little heavyhanded to me, like when Steve gloated when the supermodel said she couldn’t make it.