Puberty Blues is an Australian classic which chronicles a special moment of our history. In the early 1970s, the middle baby boomers were coming into their adolescence and early adulthood. The sexual revolution was in full flow. In America "teenagerdom" had come into its own in the sixties. It happened here in the seventies, with the arrival of drugs and the anti-Vietnam fed youth rebellion. And the wild mood finds its apotheosis in surf culture. Puberty Blues is a picture of Australian suburban life in revolution as the wild kids get their rocks off, exploring the worlds of the parents in a context where money and loans are much cheaper, divorce is much easier, full employment and prosperity abound, conventional morality is shifting and everything is endlessly possible. Based on the novel by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey.
I came across this on the free streaming service Tubi. It concerns two girls growing up in the late 1970s in Australia and their families. From an American point of view it is quite jarring. First, as an American I sometimes have trouble understanding what they are saying (lots of Australian slang) -- in terms of a guy breaking up with you they call it "being dropped." It is also filled with sex and nudity. Something even pay tv doesn't really do these days. Sue and Debbie are "good" girls determined to get in with the cool group. To do so basically the rules are, that Sue and Debbie seem fine with, you just give up sex at the drop of a hat to any boy in the group. At first I wanted to give up on the show but both learn important lessons and the results are more "are you there god it is me Margret" than "Euphoria". One good break from the girls is the parents. Unlike most teen dramas each of the girls parents have their own storylines that make sense for people with teenage kids in the 70s. Sue's parents are dealing with a struggling business and trying to keep the magic alive for people that love each other. Debbie's parents are in marriage counseling and Dad is contemplating an affair. All of these stories are somewhat boring by todays standards but effectively told and engrossing. One reason I can't give it a full 10 stars is that it is a little depressing so far. At one point Debbie's little brother after watching all the dysfunction around him says he doesn't want to grow up if this world is what is waiting for him. Right there with you man.
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