Hapless dads are off to a shaky start

Last updated 05:00 11/02/2013
House Husbands

GOOD TV? House Husbands was well-received in Australia but this writer will have to try harder to be underwhelmed.

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Another comedy drama set in Melbourne rather than Sydney. Will it be as good as Offspring? And does this mean someone might start making television series set in Wellington?

Last night's House Husbands (TV One, 9.30pm) was well-received when it began screening in Australia last September which means I'm going to have to try harder to be a little less underwhelmed by it.

Being a house husband isn't exactly a new idea - Tom Scott wrote a Listener column called just that about 30 years ago. More to the point, it's unusual to have either parent at home these days. The four fathers at the centre of this new series are the usual carefully disparate group which seem to have been put together by a team round a table.

There's the gay dad who's helping bring up his partner's orphaned niece, the retired builder whose wife is now having her turn at a career, the PR man whose wife is a doctor, and - so far the most dominant character - the pro footballer who's just been dropped from his team and whose wife has moved in with his former manager.

Every character gives the opportunity for strong storylines so it was slightly irritating last night that the opening episode should have an essentially silly one at its core. It's the first day of the new school year, the fathers are dropping off the 5-year-olds, and look away just long enough for the 5-year-olds to steal the school bus. (Well, it happens all the time in Melbourne; New Zealand kids are so immature, so gutless.)

This means ex-footballer Justin has to make a heroic sprint, leap in through the door, and stop the bus. So now he's in trouble for driving with a suspended licence.

Oh please . . . and then the slightly ditzy principal went missing, which meant we got the four hapless dads having to face the deputy principal - nickname, The Terminator.

But even Offspring was guilty of silliness at times. And I did learn to love that one. I'll keep watching.

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- The Dominion Post

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