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Channel Nine is not renowned for making the best television drama in Australia. That title goes to ABC and SBS, the two non-commercial stations (battling to stay commercial against pressure from the current Federal government that wants to see the stations commercialised, so that EVERYTHING will be the same). However, House Husbands brings together a terrific cast who together explore a range of contemporary family structures and the challenges they face, both universal and specific.
One of my reasons for writing this review is to counter the review by IMDb user "fitnessspm" who accuses House Husbands of "destroying families".
If only we could accuse the media of being that powerful! This one thing television can certainly be accused of is stealing people's time and keeping them from doing far more creative and fulfilling things with it. In any case. this reviewer has not taken into account that House Husbands has not been rating well despite its quality. Nevertheless it does not stop him from spouting the "magic bullet" theory from the 1930s that asserts that screen images enter the mind of the viewer unfiltered. Apparently images just go in and that's that. And yet this guy disproves the theory himself by demonstrating that he has watched the series with his own set of interpretive biases firmly in place.
Obviously fitnessspm is a male reviewer, for if you look at his other reviews (and I encourage you to) there is a consistently aggressive misogynistic message that blames women for all that is wrong with Western culture - suggesting this guy has either gone through a bad breakup or doesn't cope around strong women, or both.
So this guy blames television dramas that don't portray traditional family values for high divorce rates and wants to see a return to "normal" and "traditional" family structures - something he says has existed for 1000s of years, despite the nuclear family being a modern invention that superseded extended families during the latter half of the 1800s among bourgeois families and spread to working class families in the first part of the twentieth century. As for his claims about the influence of television and the need to portray a narrow set of traditional values ... were he to look at the sociological impact of a show like The Brady Bunch on a generation, in which a large nuclear family exists in harmony with only slight ripples occurring that are ironed out by attentive bounded parents and submissive children, things might start to look a little different. He might see that the very popular family sitcom precipitated a wave of unhappiness in many a home because that's just not how families in reality work. I am certainly part of that generation that wished I was a member of the Brady family and occasionally resented that my own home life paled in comparison, as did many of my friends.
Why do I write this? Firstly this guy's comments have just plain gotten up my nose. Secondly his use of IMDb as a platform for spreading misogynistic hate is just so inappropriate - thus I counter with my own perspective in an effort to balance things out. Thirdly I think that IMDb user comments should really stay on topic.
Thus, in the spirit of staying on topic, I'd like to say that House Husbands is a good idea executed really well. At it's heart this is a soap opera in which a group of married family men must address their own feelings of inadequacy and find meaning and fulfilment in work that is not financially rewarded yet profoundly satisfying. Despite the lack of credibility in the show's premise, it makes the situation work, drawing from headlines that have reported on the rise of husbands becoming primary caregivers and nurturers in families. The great thing about Channel 9's approach is that, despite all the melodrama, there are some really terrific underlying issues that surface and are handled with complex realism - then of course simplified for the sake of good storytelling. In any case, this is a series worth checking out that adds to the discourse on gender and roles in some intelligent ways - a nice change of pace for Channel 9.
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