||[May. 25th, 2014|10:57 pm]
David Alexander McDonald (Steven E. McDonald)
I got hold of the six episodes of this Australian tv series last year, and never got around to watching them before the fire. I just did, and aside from finding parts hilarious (I don't usually laugh out loud to any great extent, and did here.)
I'd intended to watch an episode and then go do laundry, but instead found myself marathoning all six. I think this is because the protagonist, Denny, resonated with me in many ways -- he's got all kinds of problems; good natured, helpful, and occasionally on point with the right thing to say (often at his own expense), he's a man who's never been sure of his direction, and has always been shy of the danger of decisions, which cost him his marriage. To be fair, when he *does* act decisive, albeit in minor ways, he usually ends up either rebuffed, or tripping over himself. Chris Gibson plays Denny as an affable schlub, wearily accepting either being talked into things, or having tasks dumped on him by people to full of themselves to hear his lack of assent.
The rest of the cast are most a bunch of quirky Australians. As we find out, they're a family with issues, and occasionally the vocal power to express those issues -- usually wrongly. And all of their relationships, familial and romantic, are a mess. Added to that, there's the slightly mysterious Mazzy, a frenemy of the bride to be, who starts to form a bond with Denny. In some ways, Mazzy is the most conventional of the characters, but even she has her quirky aspect -- her mystery, plus the fact that she's several inches taller than Denny (amusingly, Sally The Celebrant, who links to Denny's Dad, is also several inches taller than her counterpart.)
The series was produced for Australian community television, and has a shoestring budget, but they do more with it, storywise, than might be expected. The majority of the story is set on or around the minibus, with a few exceptions (always stay after the credits, by the way), and there's little or no call for visual effects. Hilariously enough the lack of budget means that we meet a small-town Victoria police constable who has no actually police vehicle and so turns up idly ambling in the boonies.
Be warned, though -- it's an Australian series, so there's some points at which the humour gets downright demented and horrible, although the payoff to the blackest bits is relatively benign.
The best part? It's all available on YouTube, put up by the executive producer/director. Have fun.