Sweet dreams are made of this

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

NINE can sit back and pre­pare it­self for an­other two mil­lion-strong open­ing night au­di­ence. It hasn’t had a show like House Hus­bands in a while. No­body has. It’s be­cause they’re hard to make. They look easy — I felt like I was watch­ing a longer ver­sion of that ad where the wife’s do­ing the dishes and the use­less hus­band knocks off wip­ing up be­cause ‘‘ the game’s about to start’’ and slinks off pa­thet­i­cally and opens up the liv­ing room door and there’s the sta­dium and she, which is the worst part, just stands there smil­ing in­dul­gently — but they’re not. Packed to the Rafters is the most re­cent and the most vis­i­ble, and House Hus­bands is Rafters 2.0. I mean this as a com­pli­ment.

So yes, the house hus­bands are only marginally com­pe­tent, and con­versely the women, though con­fined to sup­port­ing roles — bear in mind I’ve only seen the first episode — are su­per­hu­man in their strength and ca­pa­bil­ity across the home front and work­place.

It is deeply tra­di­tional. But that’s where we’re at. The gay re­la­tion­ship — Gy­ton Grant­ley and Tim Camp­bell — might as well be a man and a woman. I don’t even know why the pro­duc­ers both­ered. To­kenism? Cyn­i­cism? But it is a nice piece of tele­vi­sion with a lot of ap­peal. I liked it much more than Packed to the Rafters be­cause there’s more scope here.

It’s the guys’ show. Rhys Mul­doon, Fi­rass Di­rani, Gy­ton Grant­ley and Gary Sweet. Gary Sweet I’ve loved in un­seen roles — last year’s Small Time Gang­ster, a cracker of a show— and found him un­watch­able when he’s cut loose. I’m think­ing of The Pa­cific and its GDP-size bud­get. He hasn’t been this nor­mal and like­able since I don’t know when, maybe even as far back as Po­lice Res­cue. He is the dead or­di­nary epi­cen­tre of House Hus­bands.

These men love their kids and they love their wives. Even the wives they’ve split from. Even dur­ing a cus­tody fight. No­body wants to see an ugly do­mes­tic dis­pute on a Sun­day night. Nine didn’t sched­ule this on Fa­ther’s Day by ac­ci­dent.

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