Lilley's new series, Angry Boys, appraises the male in the 21st century in the same vein as he appraised an eclectic community of students and teachers in Summer Heights High and documented five "regular" citizens nominated for outstanding achievements, such as one who aspired to roll on her side across Australia, in We Can Be Heroes.
In the new series, Lilley again takes on the role of multiple characters, which include an African-American rapper; an elderly female juvenile detention warden; a manipulative Japanese mother who presses her son into becoming a famous skateboarder; a champion surfer recovering from a gunshot wound to the testicles; and twins Daniel and Nathan Sims, who first appeared in We Can Be Heroes.
The new 12-part series has already premiered in Australia to mixed reviews and will air on HBO in October here in Americaland.
Australians have a pejorative term called "tall poppy syndrome." This is essentially what occurs when an underdog of any sort is supported until he receives a boost and becomes known, at which point support is withdrawn. When Lilley released We Can Be Heroes in 2005 and Summer Heights High in 2007, he was mostly unknown yet received great praise for his comedic writing, acting and directing.
With his third series receiving mixed reviews, Lilley could be experiencing the effects of this syndrome, or is perhaps just the casualty of high audience expectations. Regardless of the amount of effort and creative development a known artist puts into any new piece of work, it will always be compared to earlier works.
Having immensely enjoyed Lilley's work thus far, and not possessing the patience to wait until October, I got my hands on the first two episodes of Angry Boys and found the characters to be humorous, endearing and crafted from the same genius that brought us Jonah Takalua, a 13-year-old troubled Tongan school boy who likes to draw penises and exclaim, "Puck you, miss."