“Episode 11”/“Episode 12” S1 / E11-12
- B+ Community Grade
The final two episodes of Angry Boys moved at a notably more rapidly clip than its predecessors. Perhaps Chris Lilley was running out of time and simply needed to shorten his scenes in order to fit everything in, but I think I would have preferred had he kept most of the series’ scenes as tight as tonight’s. As I said many times before, the best parts of the show were drowned out by generous amounts of time spent on the least-essential characters. Perhaps I wouldn’t have resented S.mouse and Jen Okazaki so much had my time with them come in smaller chunks.
Episode 11 begins with Daniel preparing for Nathan’s farewell party: he’s got S.mouse’s stage set up, a skateboarding platform for Tim and the “surfing stadium” (the muddy pond) ready for Blake with Nathan and Black Daniel prepared to make tiny waves by pushing kickboards against the water. The only downside is that by now, Nathan’s hearing is 100% vanished.
In Hollywood, S.mouse performs at a sparsely-attended launch for The Real Me, wearing a calculator on a chain and introducing himself by saying, ”You thought I was for your kids. Well, fuck your kids.” Perhaps it was out of character for S.mouse to put forth so much effort despite hardly anyone being in attendance, but I was fine with the newly-matured S.mouse. “Maybe my new shit just isn’t that good and I just don’t know it,” he later admits. “Maybe The Real Me isn’t the real real me.”
Back in Sydney, Gran puts on a brave face as she’s let go by the juvenile center. “Twenty-five years...not bad for an old bitch like me,” she says before going on to comfort Penny, who’s crying. I can’t say enough about how much I fell in love with this character: Lilley just played and wrote her exactly right--never too much treacle but with so much heart and gruff tenderness. She has one last chat with Talib, who’s made her a keychain in the shape of “G.” After telling him about her grandson Nathan who can’t hear or talk anymore, she asks him to promise to talk more. “Piss off, bitch,” he says (per her request.) “I’m going to miss you, you little dickhead,” she replies.
On the other side of the world, S.mouse is resisting his dad’s attempts to kick him out of the house and expresses frustration at feeling “squashed by the haters.” He has Danthony pull up Daniel’s message about the squashed Aboriginal kid and starts writing a tune called “Squashed Nigga” (which sounds like part of the Angry Boys theme song as if it were sung by Mr. G. from Summer Heights High.) Finally, he’s written a song that no only is he proud of but his ever-critical father, Shwayne Sr., likes as well.
The only storyline that failed to really stick was Jen and Tim’s, just because their story has been such a short journey from A to B. Jen’s panicking about Tim losing the Uushi Cola contract and about the tanking Gay Style sales, so she retaliates by spitting at Tim’s girlfriend from afar. She threatens to kill herself and the adorable little dog but Tim is unfazed; he’s cutting her off and taking his skating to the States with Bruce as his manager. “You’re gonna burn, fuckface,” Jen tells her son. I was happy though that once again we got to see Jen tenderly interact with her little daughter: “Get off me! Get it off me! Take.”
The episode ends on a bittersweet note for Gran. The boys at the center have thrown her a going-away party and even got her a new guinea pig. I got goosebumps from how lovely the scene was: it was wonderful to see the boys return the love to Gran that she had for them. She instructs them never give up hope and not to be “fuckwits” once they are released. Unfortunately, however, she also tells Daniel, over Skype, that she never invited any of the Legends to Nathan’s going-away party; the Alzheimer made her say that she had.
The finale, like the episode before it, skipped showing a scene prior to the introduction (at least on my screener), adding to the slight feeling of urgency leading into the finale. Now three Chris Lilley characters are living under one roof, as Gran has come to live with the Simses. Daniel’s showing more maturity than ever, trying to make peace with Gran forgetting to mail the invitations. “Daniel's trying not to make me feel guilty, but I do feel quite responsible,” Gran says. Once again, I was struck by how totally Lilley inhabits that character, just sitting on the porch talking to the camera. Gran may not be Lilley’s most hilarious or quotable character but I don’t know if he’s ever done a better job creating one.
Blake Oakfield got a happy ending: he was acquitted of any wrongdoing in Packo’s case, got himself a new set of balls (I could have done without the photo), restarted Fat Boys surfing with the help of the Mucca Mad Boys, plans to come out of retirement and, best of all, has Kareena back, now with new baby Tyrone. Blake was such a light character that I never missed him in the episodes where he didn’t appear, but after last week’s installment, I was glad that he ended up with Kareena, who’s clearly the adult influence in his life.
Tim is happily skating competitively in Santa Barbara, where he's also bought a four-bedroom house for Jen, who does not find it suitable, despite decorating it with hot pink phalluses left over from Gay Style. “Being a household mom is shit,” she complains, but things may look up for her: she’s training her younger son, Luke, to play golf the way she had prepared Tim to skateboard.
Also in California, S.mouse is struggling, albeit in a more less-desperate manner than before, with figuring out how to live his life as Shwayne Jr. instead of a rap star. At one point he pulls his Escalade outside some projects and tentatively plays “Slap My Elbow” until some guys flash their guns at him, and he peels off. I don’t think it would have been so bad if S.mouse, the way his father had advised him, had to find a real job, but just as he and Danthony are dicking around in the Escalade, they hear “Squashed Nigga” getting airplay on the radio. So I guess S.mouse just had to be on house arrest, release a shitty album and then wait for inspiration to strike to write one good song and things worked out fine for him. That’s nice for him.
Before the party, Nathan and Daniel head to town to give their final farewells and do their last mainies. They also stop at the tree where their father died (I presume in a car accident). Daniel explains to his dad that they’re not going to get the farm off the ground like he hoped but maybe they would in a few years: “We’re not really men yet, we’re still a bit like kids,” he says, in what’s probably the seminal quote from the finale. Nathan pins a picture of himself giving the middle finger to the tree and pees on it.
Back at the house, Daniel smashes up the DANTHAN INDUSTRIES sign and ruminates over how he probably won’t bother getting up to see Nathan leave in the morning. Nathan gets sent to the front of the house to find a fire lighter. We hear notes of the Angry Boys theme/”Squashed Nigger” and Nathan, I inferred, hears something as well (despite being totally deaf now). He turns his head and sees cars pulling up to the house: somehow, despite Gran’s failure to send the invitations, Blake shows up, along with Tim and his girlfriend and Bruce and S.mouse and even Danthony. Our last shot is of Nathan freaking out over seeing S.mouse actually coming to his house.
So how’d you feel about that ending? On the one hand, I have plenty of problems with it thanks to the questions left unanswered: how did everyone get there, obviously? Was S.mouse going to be mad once he found out that the squashed kid never wrote him a letter? Not to mention the fact that (even though I knew this was coming) it annoyed me that of everyone who came to the party, Daniel and Nathan seemed to revere S.mouse, the most worthless of all the Legends, the most.
But, you know, I’m not a robot. I wanted to like this series, even when it tried my patience, and so would rather think “That was a sweet finale” instead of “What! That was easy and trite and didn't make a ton of sense!” I even enjoyed the party photos, despite the fact that that feels like a credit-rolling cliche these days, just because it was fun to see the combinations of Tim and Gran, Gran and S.mouse, S.mouse and Fuckus and Blake having a beer with Gran.
This series definitely wasn’t everything I hoped it would be, but I’m still convinced of Chris Lilley’s talent and admire his ambition. I hope on his next project though he narrows his focus again, and, even though Angry Boys was perhaps lighter on the laughs than Summer Heights High, will keep in mind that less is more when it comes to characters who offer cheap, easy laughs. I’d rather have more Grans than more S.mouses.
--I liked how Gran defends Nathan peeing on Daniel as “just having fun.”