Chris Lilley - you know, Mr G off Summer Heights High, J’amie Private School Girl - debuted his Netflix series Lunatics over the weekend. And I am not going to lie, I was majorly disappointed. Because, even though I found (most of) Summer Heights High hilarious, I simply couldn’t watch it all.
I'm not overexaggerating, but Lunatics was that bad the only time I laughed in the three or so episodes I could tolerate (before it all became too much to bear) was when a cat stood in paint and walked over a canvas, which is the kind of thing I would see on my Instagram feed. The series - comprising of 10 episodes - should be put under the definition of trash television.
Anyway, if you are blessed with not seeing the show (and hopefully for you, it stays that way), it’s based on six characters. Six characters that don’t seem to have anything in common - apart from being, well, not very funny and played by Lilley. An obnoxious preteen who runs an Instagram account called ‘cuntlord(insertrandomnumberhere)’ who moves to England to become the earl of Gayhurst (why is Lilley still playing prepubescent boys?); a South African lesbian pet psychic; a male estate agent with an arse more impressive than Kim Kardashian; a hoarder who used to be Australia’s most famous porn star; and a teen girl who is bullied for being 7ft and a bit of an outsider. Oh, and a fashion retailer who has sex with a cash register. Go figure.
The script is incredibly lazy. In 2019, the humour - which often preys on the genuinely marginalised (the hoarder and the 7ft student) - felt so cheap and cruel, it wasn’t funny, but rather genuinely, toe-curlingly uncomfortable to watch.
It’s tweets like, ‘The reason We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High were so good was because he was playing off real Aussie stereotypes. These characters are boring, unfunny and just cheap,’ that have led Lilley himself to saying he is avoiding looking at the social media response to the show. But, maybe, he should take a look at the condemnation - because, then, hopefully, he can avoid making something so distasteful in the future. As The Guardian noted about the show this time round, 'Thankfully, [there was] no blackface,' but it was still 'painfully unfunny.'