Kingswood Country. Acropolis Now. All Together Now. The Bob Morrison Show. Hey Dad. Depending on who you talk to Australia doesn't have the best track record when it comes to sitcoms. With Nine's HERE COME THE HABIBS we're getting a funny (or not) new comedy (or not) - depending on who you talk to.
I think The Habibs has lots of great gags and is far more hit than miss.
Carport Builder & patriach Fou Fou (Michael Denkha) is from the Bankstown area and wins $22 million in the lottery. He convinces his wife Mariam (Camilla Ah Kin) to keep the windfall a secret from his kids Toufic (Sam Alhaje), Layla (Kat Hoyos) & Elias (Tyler De Nawi) - and, mostly, the relatives - so that they don't get caught up in the money but rather see their new position as a reward for working hard.
Fou Fou & Mariam buy a swanky house on Sydney's North Shore and move in, much to the disgust of neighbour Olivia O'Neill (Helen Dallimore) who does her utmost to see them removed from her existence. Her husband Jack (Darren Gilshenan) married into his wife's money and family biscuit empire and can't seem to set a foot right with his new neighbours. Their daughter Madison (Georgia Flood) appears home unexpectedly having cut short her gap year in Europe.
One thing is certainly diabolical about the seres - it's betrayed by the promo...
Of course Fou Fou & Olivia lock horns. Of course Elias & Madison have the hots for each other (eventually). Of course Toufic & Layla are parodies of Australian Lebanese young adults. Of course - because without these tensions there's nothing to develop the jokes through.
Michael Denkha & Darren Gilshenan are both excellent and every moment they're on-screen together has an air of awkward disaster upon it (Denkha is particularly strong and controlled as Fou Fou, and plays him especially well in his comedic beats). Helen Dallimore was downright scary (which is certainly part of the appeal of her Olivia), and I also enjoyed Tyler De Nawi's innocence, particularly in his scenes with Georgia Flood.
Made by the team at Jungle there's lots of their regulars that pop up (Phil Lloyd & Dave Eastgate for starters) and their quality approach to making TV is revealed across the entire series. Like The Moodys it's location instead of studio, quality writing instead of laugh tracks and sharp characterisations instead of easy stereotypes.
The Habibs are a welcome addition to the 2016 schedule and a welcome genre return to commercial television. Comedy is a difficult thing to get right for Aussies, and while it doesn't always fire The Habibs are largely enjoyable and will give you more than a few laughs.