Angus Brings Fresh Blood to ABC Comedy
Review: The Angus Project
Starring: Angus Thompson, Nina Oyama, Rob Sitch, Sammy J, Sam Campbell, Veronica Milsom, Craig Anderson , Adam Bowes
The Fresh Blood initiative is a collaboration between the ABC and Screen Australia, several talents had their chance to put together a web series. Only a few of these have made it to the next stage, where they have the chance to have a pilot episode aired. The Angus Project is one of these, and its pilot has now been uploaded to ABC iView, after its official air-date on 9 December 2018.
The pilot follows on from the web series that introduced the main characters, following a day in the life of Angus and his lazy carer, Nina.
Angus is given the chance to feature one of his stories on The Bathurst Gazette, but must first set up an interview with his idol, a Paralympian sports hero Wayne ‘Wizza’ Miller. Wizza tells him that he is willing to do the interview, but Angus must first bring him his drug of choice: horse adrenaline.
The Angus Project has an amazing cast. Watching it is a game of identifying Australian comedians. Rob Sitch is hilarious as Angus’ editor at the fictional Bathurst Gazette as is Veronica Milsom as Kath, Nina’s boss at the charity for people with disability, We Care.
Another really worthy aspect to the show is the way that it steps aside from a lot of traditional taboos and is willing to explore jokes that might otherwise be considered offensive, in a way that never comes across as sneering or trying to be deliberately ‘edgy’. Needless to say, if jokes about drug taking and sometimes offensive humour does not appeal to you, The Angus Project is one to give a wide berth.
For all of The Angus Project’s drugtaking hysteria and deliberate offense, the show sincerely aims to represent people with disabilities in ways that are neither typical nor tokenistic. The way that Angus is patronised by people around him, more concerned with appearing to be nice to the guy in the wheelchair is shown up as being no nicer than ‘Wizza’s’ sneering lack of empathy.
While life in rural Australia is pilloried, the show also takes time to show many sites from Bathurst, with jokes that will appeal to locals.
Hopefully, the show is renewed so as to be able to continue telling these crazy stories.
According to Nina Oyama, the creators have “hundreds of stories to tell” if this takes place.
“Part of our writing development process was creating multiple stories with different characters, and making sure that we wouldn’t run out of plot lines,” she said.
If the pilot is anything to go by, The Angus Project would make for a great full-time series.
The Angus Project is now streaming on ABC iView
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor