Hoo boy, we’ve got a doozy here to unpack today, folks.
Following confirmation back in 2018 that Chris Lilley will be making a new 10-part series for Netflix, the streaming giant has dropped the first trailer for this show, titled Lunatics.
The show follows the lives of “six extraordinary individuals”, all of whom are played by Lilley, and explores the idea that they’re not what they initially seem in the style of a mockumentary. If you’ve watched any previous show by Lilley, like Jonah from Tonga or Angry Boys, Lunatics is basically just that all over again, right down to being inappropriately offensive.
Let’s look at each of the six characters whom Lilley is portraying in Lunatics. First there’s Jana, who is described as “a lesbian Pet Psychic to the Stars who from her South African home base struggles with an unrequited love for her personal assistant”, and sees Lilley cross-dressing as an African woman complete with an afro.
Quentin, who is an “incompetant real estate agent about to inherit a family business but also dreams of being a world-renowned DJ and street artist.” He also has a huge butt, which is a family trait or something.
Gavin, a “12-year-old” boy and “future Earl of an English country estate dealing with the pressures of his future and trying to be a kid”. He also likes wearing crocs and making dumb videos for his Instagram.
Joyce, an “eccentric elderly ex porn star and hoarder who is now a recluse who obsessively collects things while facing an impending eviction.” There’s nothing really positive to joke about here so let’s just move on.
Keith, a “fashion retail veteran embarking on a new business venture who struggles with objective sexuality issues and his deep love for a cash register.” The name of his new store? My D!ck. Yes, it’s pronounced exactly as you think.
And finally, there’s Becky, an “extraordinarily tall University freshman embarking on life in an American college with her twin sister and dealing with social issues and life with massive legs.”
So to recap, Lilley is unflatteringly riffing on people of colour (again) by cross-dressing as an African woman, teenagers with mental and social issues (again), sex workers, people with sexual dysfunctions and disorders, and people with big butts.
At a time when diversity is more important than ever, it’s difficult to see where exactly Lunatics will fit into the pop-culture landscape because this will start yet another conversation on how Lilley’s brand of mid-2000s comedy is outdated and inappropriate for 2019.
But before we ask ourselves (again) why Chris Lilley is still a thing, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for now and see how Lunatics pans out when it drops on April 19. Who knows, he may surprise us though I wouldn’t hold my breath.