Bogan Pride

By David Knox on October 2, 2008 / Filed Under Reviews 28

Rebel Wilson is easily recognisable from her work in everything from early parody commercials for Australian Idol, to boisterous performances in Pizza, The Wedge and Monster House. So far her persona has been fairly synonymous with loud, cynical, mostly simple, working class characters. It remains to be seen whether there’s more depth behind her cheesy grin.

Now, thanks to her own self-devised series, Wilson has the time and freedom to prove herself.

On the surface, her character in Bogan Pride is another western suburbs underdog. Jennifer Cragg is an overweight teenager, the target of jokes by venomous, skanky blondes at Boonelg High. She’s gathered a small team of alike losers (newcomers Alice Ansara and Fanny Hanusin) into an island of peer protection.

Beyond the school fence, Jenny’s home life is tragically sad. Her mother (Sally Anne Upton) is so obese that she can’t be moved from her television chair. Her aunt, the fulsome Aunty Cassandra (Lulu McClatchy) clings to the family for validation, dropping stinging barbs after being abandoned by her husband on a gay cruise.

Other colourful characters include members of a guitar-strumming, lesbian-loving, Bible-bashing sect; three disabled workshop youths; and the hunky Nick (Ryan Jones) – the guy Jenny will never get.

The tone of Wilson’s writing is comedy of the offence, sometimes black and full of self-derision. She cuts no corners in proffering her own physicality as a source of humour. Slowly this peels away to reveal an underlying message of a hurt but beautiful duckling. It may take a while to get there – there are way too many weight gags in the pilot. And not unlike Chris Lilley’s Summer Heights High, there are also several controversial gags that will attract criticism and upstage the storytelling.

But there is an abundance of youthful ideas here. Wilson, bless her, has thrown in camp musical numbers (don’t miss the synchronised swimming sequence in the opener) brilliantly directed by Peter Templeman. This show is full of screeching Aussie characters, potential TV neighbours of Kath and Kim. Lulu McClatchy (aka cabaret performer ‘Supergirly’) upstages them all, a powder keg of energy and expression.

From one as young as Wilson, Bogan Pride is a broad canvas of ideas that shows there’s far more to her than meets the eye, and a promise of much more to come in her career.

Bogan Pride premieres 9pm Monday on SBS.

28 Comments »

  1. franz chong June 21, 2009 at 11:45 pm -

    I hope they make another Series.

    It fits in well on the Monday Nights along with Shameless

  2. Draven K November 2, 2008 at 4:17 am -

    I like having a laugh at bogans and all but not even that funny this show

    instead of these tired actors they need fresh talent like real bogans like the fella here http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1952483/aussie_bogan_redneck_plays_guitar_one_of_a_kind_see_for_yourself/

  3. Gemma October 10, 2008 at 6:05 pm -

    I think people should see a few more episodes of this show before making any more judgements. I think this show has incredible promise and shows that rebel has enormous talent. It really shows that Rebel can act and can do a lot more than sketch or improv. The story might not have been that strong in the first episode but you have to set the characters up in a character comedy. I don’t believe The Office had a particularly strong first episode. Just wait people…

  4. Richard H October 10, 2008 at 10:02 am -

    yeah david heard it all before fact is mate if you don’t know the right people you don’t get a chance especially in this country. I’ve had more interest and openess from the US. At least they don’t put you down or are frightened you might steal their job.

  5. David Knox October 7, 2008 at 4:32 pm -

    Art in any form always comes through hard work, persistence and vision. Like all writer performers, Rebel has had to earn her stripes, including appearing in some less than glorious projects to develop. Before television she did a lot of youth theatre including the Australian Theatre for Young People, The Second City comedy group in Chicago, and comedy festival work.

    Nobody is ever just given a series on a silver platter thank goodness…. these things have to be earned. And there is no set path either. You have to carve it out yourself, keep the faith, prove what it is you have to say. Bogan Pride isn’t perfect no. But it shows imagination and risk, two things sorely lacking on our screens. Cue the next factual series…..

  6. Richard H October 7, 2008 at 4:23 pm -

    David I’ve been trying my butt off to get a comedy/drama series on bogans up and running for the past 3 years on television and i have to tell you Rebel has been given a great opportunity especially at her age with Bogan pride, myself it’s not my kind of thing i want to see a real series on the bogan world.

    it must be a hell of a lot of who you know because i have spent four years on scripts for a complete series and yet networks won’t even look at me i have been told by a few industry people that my show is well written and has great characters and great potential but alas networks stick with the same old same old because they play it safe.

    I wish i was given the opportunity Rebel has. As for Bogan Pride i said it before it’s kind of hairspray meets summer heights high. It needs work if there is to be a second series. I feel it falls short. I just don’t connect with any characters.

  7. Koshie October 7, 2008 at 4:20 pm -

    I was looking forward to Bogan Pride, as Rebel Wilson is a hilarious artist and I always enjoy something fresh and new from Australian comedy.

    However, the first episode of Bogan Pride was terrible. There were some funny one liners from certain characters, and Rebel’s character is quite cute. But there were far too many fat jokes and risky borderline controversial situations. Some of the jokes were disgusting, too.

    I’ll keep watching because I like Rebel, and in hope the next episode will be better. Regardless of how bad it was, I’m kinda sucked in.

  8. SwaySlayer October 7, 2008 at 4:10 pm -

    I laughed myself silly watching it last night, and while it does reek of a second year film student with a big budget, there were distinct glimmers of brilliance. True comedy is achingly raw, and you have to give Rebel credit for putting herself out there (in every sense of the phrase) and taking a punt.

    I’ll be tuning in next week. But then again, I do love a good musical number….

  9. John October 7, 2008 at 1:09 pm -

    Lucy has no problem, she is just stating her view, however, her comment about David talking BS was out of line.

    PS
    I agree.
    Bogan stinks!

  10. R Simpson October 7, 2008 at 10:13 am -

    Lucy, what’s your problem? Are you some wannabe comedy performer who can’t get a job? Why are you so bitter and then resort to paying out David?

    Australian TV comedy has been very successful in the past few years and in order for this to continue we need to encourage the new generation. Rebel Wilson is one of our brightest young stars and Bogan Pride shows tremendous potential.

  11. John October 7, 2008 at 8:24 am -

    I have to agree with David. People need a chance to develop. The show wasn’t great by any stretch. It was pretty derivative of Kath & Kim and Chris Lilley’s work, but it had its moments. I got a chuckled out of Jenny’s friends and the church singing group. Kath & Kim and Chris Lilley’s stuff obviously came from sketch comedy over the past ten or so years, it didn’t just appear onscreen fully developed as some people think. I think it’s great that SBS is willing to support something like this, and I don’t know anybody involved in it at all. I’m just not a negative, jealous person, that’s all.

  12. Lucy Douglas October 6, 2008 at 11:13 pm -

    Anyone that young given the opportunity to create their own show, should be given the chance to make it work before it goes to air, before it is even shot – the writing needs to be given more time to develop. As it is, it is a blight on her career.

  13. David Knox October 6, 2008 at 10:27 pm -

    Lucy I know many people in shows I review but I wouldn’t want to get into what could be misconstrued as name-dropping. I gave my views giving it 3.5 stars out of five, a good but not great, rating that I have given to many shows here. As you’ve indicated yourself there is talent on screen in Bogan Pride. I don’t see too many people Rebel’s age having their own self-devised television show on a major network. That’s deserving of “props,” as they say, in itself. I felt the show has some moments of glory, but also needs reining in –all of which was indicated in the review. What I see in Bogan Pride is a bit like early Chris Lilley work –the best is still to come. It will be a learning and empowering experience for Wilson. But we also need to let our artists TRY in order that they can develop. Comedy is also a very personal thing too, this is a show that will especially divide people. Ultimately this site is a personal blog, and like all reviewers, is only one opinion.

  14. Lucy Douglas October 6, 2008 at 9:59 pm -

    Please when writing a review declare your bias and interest. I am told you know Lulu McClatchy ( ala Supergirly) from the theatre world. How you can honestly give this show a positive review is beyond me. Rebel Wilson is a talent and so are the people behind this. The performers are given very little to work with. But the show itself is a stinker. Boring, flat, so weak on narrative in this first episode, I’m surprised the director and Producer and SBS didn’t demand a rewrite. And really, they are hardly Bogans in the true sense of the word. And way too many boring fat jokes. Tiring and unfunny.
    Yours sincerely,
    Lucy.

  15. Nicola October 5, 2008 at 9:29 pm -

    Rebel is really dimensional. I have to disagree with you MJ. Have you ever seen her perform on stage? I saw her in a play at Sydney Theatre Company and she was spectacular. She’s so much more versatile than Magda, she’s smarter too – Magda doesn’t write most of her own stuff does she? Rebel has penned this whole length narrative musical series by herself.

    Bogan Pride I think will be very successful I think. I’ve heard its already been sold to the U.K. and two U.S. networks have made offers for the format. Go Rebel!

  16. MJ October 4, 2008 at 10:25 am -

    have to disagree with Jane – it’s ok to like Rebel Wilson, but Magda Szubanksi is much more dimensional and still one of the funniest women around (no puns intended).

  17. Kieran October 4, 2008 at 4:08 am -

    i don’t like the bogan infatuation.
    if she were good, she’d show versatility outside her comfort zone of bogans and fat jokes (wedge, monster house, fat pizza, now this)..
    have a look at the versatility of the D-Generation and Fast Forward guys as a prime example..

  18. jane October 3, 2008 at 11:56 pm -

    Hilarious pool promo song,Rebel is the new Magda Szubanski,clever and not at all shy.Love her work.I can’t wait till the show starts,i predict it will be a huge hit.

  19. Daria October 3, 2008 at 9:04 pm -

    I saw Rebel Wilson in “Thank God You’re Here”, where she was great. I hope this show will be funny as well – though I’m a bit wary of the “fat” jokes.

    I’m not sure I’d call Alica Ansara a “newcomer” though – she had a major role in “La Spagnola” several years ago, and has also guest starred on “All Saints”.

  20. MIke Beckham October 3, 2008 at 3:42 pm -

    Bogan and Fat jokes? Hilarious.

  21. Jack! October 3, 2008 at 11:32 am -

    PLEASE remind us again on Monday so I don’t miss it … Monday is a long way off!
    Jack!

  22. dbs October 3, 2008 at 11:15 am -

    She was hilarious in her stage show “Westie Monologues” years ago,
    and the exciting thing is she’s just warming up.
    Go Rebel.

  23. Sarah October 3, 2008 at 10:07 am -

    I really like Rebel and think she can probably write and perform very smart comedy. Instead, I fear, she may overdo the fat jokes and waste this opportunity. It takes true comedy guts to skip the obvious jokes and move to deeper, blacker humor.

    Heres hoping she crosses the line and I am still looking forward to it.

  24. Shane October 3, 2008 at 9:52 am -

    You also forgot “criminally unfunny”. Seriously, who keeps employing this woman?

  25. ali October 2, 2008 at 10:58 pm -

    Too bad she has associations with Monster House and The Wedge…She was great on Fat Pizza though. I hope BP does well.

  26. Stephen Bayne October 2, 2008 at 8:10 pm -

    I am looking forward to this cause this isn’t on one of the commercial networks. I’ll probably just watch cause I think Wilson is cute.

  27. Earthquake October 2, 2008 at 6:07 pm -

    There’s a whole lot of comedy on our screens from the US and Britain and it’s good to have some new Australian comedy on our screens.

    Hopefully Bogan Pride will get similar numbers and critical acclaim to Summer Heights High and Kath & Kim.

  28. mike October 2, 2008 at 3:22 pm -

    Just going on previews ive seen of this new show,its looks really funny.Looking foward to watching first show,Ive seen Rebel Wilson in a few shows in the past and ive been very impressed.She very talented woman and l think we will see her on our tv screens for many years too come,a long future in television comedy ahead l believe.

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