I’ll happily admit that when the first promos for Channel Nine’s Here Come The Habibs went live, I was immediately put off. I Did not want to watch it, thought what I had seen seemed crass and happily joined the throngs of those condemning it on social media. So much was my nose point out of join by a 30 second promo that I a) did not really want to watch the first two episodes provided for review and b) had a whole spiel mentally prepared about “who at Channel Nine thought this was a good idea?”
I guess that’s what happens when a bad promo for what turned out to be a funny two episodes, is given out to the public.
Judging it by it’s cover we all are.
Lets get into the nitty gritty of Here Come the Habibs.
FouFou Habib (Michael Denkha) and wife Mariam (Camilla Ah Kin) have found themselves able to “live the Australian dream” and to move into the rich and swanky suburb of Vaucluse after a rather hefty ($22 million) lotto win – but they aren’t telling anyone about their windfall, not even their children Toufic (Sam Alhaje), Elias (Tyler De Nawi) and Layla (Kat Hoyos).
Neighbours Olivia O’Neill (Helen Dallimore) and her castrated husband Jack (Darren Gilshenan) are not too keen on their new Mediterranean neighbours (well mainly Olivia) and a war erupts between the two – Olivia wants them out, FouFou wants to stay.
The script, written by Phil Lloyd is tight and full of zippy one liners and throws casual playful punches at multiculturalism, terrorism, greedy family members and the Cronulla riots. The fish-out-of-water premise is very reminiscent of shows like the Beverly Hillbillies and even the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and right from the outset, the loud and brassy Habibs are not the focus of ‘being made fun of’ instead, it’s the rich white privileged that takes most of the hits and should take most of the bullets from the viewing public.
A scene in episode two where Mariam is attempting to join the local yacht club but is thrown a curve ball by Olivia that leads to public embarrassment, will leave you hoping the snotty cow gets hers in a later episode.
While the pilot took a bit for me to warm up to, by the time a turf war was established between the newly rich Habibs and their snotty neighbours the O’Neill’s, I was full on humble pie.
Here Come The Habibs is Channel Nine’s first foray into locally made scripted comedy in over 15 years and personally, I’m picking that the Habibs was actually a wise choice for the network to work it’s way into bringing back some good Aussie comedy. Granted though, Nine isn’t doing itself any favours with how it is choosing to market the show that has resulted in public outcry from an outrage addicted audience and calls for the show to be pulled due to claims it’s racist. Let’s not forget, this show hasn’t even aired yet!
Shows currently airing like Fox8’s (American import) Fresh Off the Boat and SBS’s The Family Law both offer a humorous look on multicultural families and the Habibs is no real different. Able to poke fun at itself while ensuring we’re laughing with and at them at the same time, plus Habibs is actually a bit more engaging than the two shows mentioned above.
While Australia is still trying to find steady ground when it comes to scripted comedy, Here Come the Habibs will hold it’s own against the haters and those trying to tear it down before they’ve even seen an episode. I was like you, then I watched and saw what the Habibs was actually offering.
Here Come the Habibs begins Tuesday night, Feb 9th @ 8:30pm on Channel Nine.
p.s – keep an eye out for the wretchedly funny Pippa Grandison as Olivia’s best friend, who is more than happy to stir the pot when it comes to poking Olivia’s buttons and her new neighbours.