It’s pretty well documented that we’re not massive fans of Channel Nine’s coverage of the Australian cricketing summer. Last year we tried watching every single minute of their bilge, basically causing our brains to melt, until we were luckily told to stop by our doctors in case we snapped and started killing people. This year, we sensibly avoided as much as we could, just popping in to enjoy the day/night Test shenanigans and briefly laugh at the West Indies. Of course, this didn’t go down too well with Editor Steve, who said we had a ‘moral responsibility’ to sit through repeated plugs for overpriced tat and those annoying ‘inscreen’ adverts.
While every single bloody advert inevitably made us want to run into the sea until the water covered our heads, one of them did actually catch our eye, Nine repeatedly plugging something called Here Come The Habibs. The reason that it got our attention was that it looks absolutely bloody execrably awful, exactly the sort of utter shit that gets slated in the press and pulled after one episode. And yet somehow, the crazy idea was born to actually watch it, thus getting Editor Steve off our case and giving us the chance to work out our rage issues while finding out exactly what Aftab Habib is up to these days.
And so, despite being a cricket site (albeit one that could easily be confused for a Jenna Coleman tribute site), we actually sat down and watched the first episode of Here Come The Habibs, basically as punishment for not watching enough cricket. Just writing those words truly emphasises just how short of inspiration we are for articles these days. But enough of that; what did we actually think of it?
Let’s start with the positives. It seems that timekeeping is up there with not relentlessly spouting crap in the ‘things that Channel Nine just can’t do’ section. Hence HCTH (as all the cool kids are calling it) started about fifteen minutes late, causing our Foxtel recording to stop right at a crucial moment in the middle of an advert break, just after someone accidentally set fire to a small boat. As you do. As a result we might have missed a truly dramatic final third, in which the complications of modern Australian society were addressed in a mature, sensible way, but that seems pretty unlikely, given that everything that came before it was complete bollocks.
Onto the less positive things then: Aftab Habib wasn’t in it as much as we hoped, meaning that we’ll have to try and dig up something vaguely interesting about him on Wikipedia when our Unlikely Lads series scrapes that particular barrel. Oh yes, and Here Come The Habibs wasn’t quite as dismal as we actually expected, scuppering our original plan to fill this article with phrases like ‘televisual faeces’ and ‘hunting down CEO Hugh Marks with a rusty beer can’. Now we have to use phrases like ‘a poor man’s Packed To The Rafters’, ‘a confusing mess that was neither drama nor sitcom’ and ‘the daughter was quite fit’.
We particularly enjoyed the overwhelming subtlety of the whole thing. The titular Lebanese family wore what we can generously describe as ‘normal attire’, whereas all the posh white people wore holier-than-thou pure white outfits (with the odd hint of beige) and were generally ignorant, casually racist and idiotic. So exactly like the average Channel Nine cricket commentator, basically.
The end result of this is that – in case you haven’t already grasped this – you should never, ever listen to anything Channel Nine say ever. If they tell you something is good, it must be crap. If they say that something is a bargain at just $595 (plus postage and packaging), it almost certainly isn’t a bargain and if you buy it you deserve to be sectioned. And if they tell you that you absolutely have to watch a programme, then you should never do so under any circumstances, even if your erstwhile editor threatens you with some snooker balls in a sock.
Of all the things that the world is crying out for, a modern day remake of Love Thy Neighbour isn’t particularly high up the list. At least when the KLF burned a million quid back in 1994 it was quick and painless. Here there’s another five weeks of solid torture left to go. Which, now you think about it, makes it a lot more like the Cricket World Cup than we ever imagined possible.