Sweet dreams are made of this
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.