House Husbands

Aside from its Underbelly brand, Nine hasn’t had much luck with Drama series lately.  Tricky Business, Cops LAC…. you know the drill.

Together with Rescue Special Ops and Sea Patrol, both of which were more successful, Nine has stuck like glue to procedural-based Dramas. Meanwhile other networks have forged success with melodramas: Packed to the Rafters, Winners and Losers and Offspring.

Finally, as if throwing caution to the wind, Nine finally delivers its first fully-fledged melodrama since McLeod’s Daughters.

House Husbands is a light look at inner Melbourne stay-at-home dads, presumably skewing rather neatly to female viewers and maybe a few blokes along the way.

It’s led by a core of four men: Justin (Firass Dirani), a former AFL star player who works as a bouncer and whose wife has left him for his manager; Mark (Rhys Muldoon), juggling a return to part-time work whilst looking after his five-year-old daughter; his brother-in-law Kane (Gyton Grantley) raising the orphaned niece of his same-sex partner Tom (Tim Campbell); and retiree Lewis (Gary Sweet), now in a relationship with nurse Gemma (Julia Morris) and their primary school daughter.

When the four meet at the local school’s drop-off zone, disaster strikes in the form of a runaway bus (rather unbelievably helmed by their own naughty primary school kids). Bad boy Justin springs into action to avert a fatality, but somehow it turns into a negative for him because he was driving whilst unlicensed. Given he is fighting for legal custody of his children, he faces some sizeable challenges.

Several of the characters are neatly intertwined as something of an extended family. Gemma works at the same hospital as Abi (Natalie Saleeba), wife of Mark. Anna McGahan plays barmaid Lucy, working at the same hotel as Justin.

All four leads are well up to the mark as likeable characters, while Julia Morris impressively makes a lot with a little here. She could prove to be the show’s surprise package. In support roles are Marg Downey, Jane Allsop and Leah de Niese.

Gyton Grantley certainly doesn’t camp up his role as a gay dad by any means, and while intimacy is absent perhaps to avoid alienating viewers, the end result is their sexuality isn’t overt. But as Modern Family learned, avoiding intimacy can also backfire. That the series includes a same-sex couple while the country debates the gay marriage issue will give the writers plenty of room for story ideas.

The most drama it gently tackles in the first episode is between Justin, his separated wife and their custody battle and Firass Dirani demonstrates versatility here.

Created by Ellie Beaumont and Drew Proffitt for Playmaker Media, House Husbands keeps the ball in the air with quirky (if rather daft) subplots and various situations of men behaving badly and crying kids.

The show feels a lot like Nine’s own Winners and Losers: light stories led by an ensemble of four -which is arguably what the network is lacking on its schedule right now. If it can deliver those sort of numbers it will be doing its job very nicely, thank you.

House Husbands airs 8:30pm Sundays on Nine.

27 Comments:

  1. OzJay summed it up very well. Another poorly researched, poorly written, lazily executed piece of misandric nonsense from Nine. Does no one there actually care what they broadcast anymore? Don’t they realise how lame the plots actually are? Five year-olds stealing a bus? Come on!!!

  2. @OzJay…great post.

    I think you’re correct about real life offering up a great deal more than writers trying to push out what ‘may’ be feasible. I recall a solo dad telling me once for example that if he was in a checkout line with toddler and looked vague and hopeless, he was given loads of offers of assistance from woman in the queue. But then one day he saw a single mum struggling with the weight of something so he struggled too and the women gravitated to help him. That sort of real life issue and the fuming woman left to her own devices…someone he actually might meet up with later…is the ‘stuff’ that makes a good story Some decent research narratives would have given the right sort of content.

  3. watched the first 20 minutes than switched it off and deleted from pvr .hoping it would be good But it is terrible just another piece of crap aussie drama
    should have switched it off after the kids stole the bus,but continued until the principal went missing and that was that as i said crap-a-rama

  4. If women were treated the way men are in HouseHusbands there would be an almighty public outcry. Seriously, have you ever seen four more pathetic characters? All four quivering nervously outside the principal’s office … one ditches work to participate in a hare-brained hunt for the missing assistant principal … another’s school cred comes from selling pies he’s bought retail… Yes, yes, it’s supposed to be funny. But the “hilarity” that is men looking after children was desperate way back in the 1980s when Hollywood milked laughs from men changing nappies in “Three Men and a Baby”. Now it’s just sad and offensive. There are plenty of men out there – solo fathers, gay fathers, stay-at-home fathers – looking after kids every day, and doing it responsibly and lovingly. It would be perfectly possible to make a show about them that was funny and touching and real. It could even be smart and timely. But instead this show delivers four fathers who are all struggling with the very concept, all of them irresponsible and lame-brained to various degrees. Everyone involved should be utterly ashamed.

  5. Watching the pilot right now, it’s good so far.

    I can’t believe the guy who stopped the bus from crashing is being changed with driving without a license! I hope that’s not the case with just 20 minutes to go.

  6. After several drama disasters in recent years, I no longer trust Nine’s judgement in this genre. And if the promos are anything to go by, this is another show that will be given a wide berth.

  7. @ kissmad I agree Canal road became a viewers nightmare! At least TB aired consecutively! This may appeal, but am sceptical due to 9’s record!

  8. Thanks David, while I’m at it can I ask where Winners & Losers is flimed. I know a lot of it is in the docklands, but was wondering where the Grose family house is ( looks like Yarraville), and when they went shopping wasn’t sure where that was.

  9. So how many episodes will there be?

    I wouldn’t mind watching it but I’ve learned my lesson watching channel Nine/WIN with Tricky Business and Canal Road. I got hooked on the shows but got stuffed around with the schedule.

  10. I applaud the concept and can’t wait to see how it unfolds. Interesting that Nine, once again, has gone with a male-centric show like the majority of the Underbellies, the footy shows and the recent Howzat. Are they scared of women now?

  11. Daft subplots, men behaving badly, crying kids- sounds like you are not convinced this will be any better than some of Nine’s previous offerings, David. Julia Morris is going to be impressive, I’ve always been a fan. Gyton Grantly as a gay dad partnered with Tim Campbell, that’s also worth a look if only to see how it’s handled. I fear House Husbands will lack any kind of sophistication if it feels like Nine’s answer to WInners and Losers. Hey, maybe that’s what people want?

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