Bleats

Good Omens Is The Best Show About Male Friendships On Television And We Should Celebrate That

Would the end of the world be enough to make men feel better about each other?

You know, there’s not that many shows about actual male friendships.

Most of the time males in TV are pitted in some sort of pissing contest against one another – over women, over their careers, over whatever horrifying internal flaws power It’s Always Sunny In Philidelphia – but there’s far fewer shows about men who just straight up like and trust each other.

Which is another reasons to love the (ahem) hell out of Good Omens.

If you’ve not watched it yet, you should. It’s very funny, as far as stories about ragtag groups of weirdoes attempting to stop a literal Armageddon go. But the best part is the interplay between the two main characters (played, as it happens, by real-life friends Michael Sheen (the angel Aziraphale) and David Tennant (as the demon Crowley).

There’s a particularly lovely montage in the third episode where we trace these immortal beings over six centuries of meeting, talking shop, gradually opening up to each other about their doubts in the Divine Plan, and developing a genuinely affectionate friendship.

There’s nothing aggressive or even competitive about it either: they just like hanging out with someone who understands exactly what they’re going through. Who doesn’t want that in their lives?

And yes, they share an ulterior motive – both have decided that they rather like the world and humankind and that they’d sooner have cool things like books and cars than an eternity in their respective supernatural domains, which gives a nice level of self-interest to their cozy little relationship (which involves occasionally doing low key good or evil things on each others’ behalf because it’s just more efficient). But that doesn’t mean they don’t feel deeply about each other.

Take, for example, the scene where Crowly is racing to Aziraphale’s bookshop to find it in flames.

The heavy handed use of Queens’ ‘Your My Best Friend’ underscores the scene (thanks to to a running gag in the book, left unexplained in the show, that all cassettes left in Crowley’s demonic car eventually turn into The Best Of Queen).

When Crowley thinks his friend has been annihilated he’s utterly distraught and immediately goes on a bender. Which is archetypically a) human and b) masculine. It’s… it’s just what we dudes do. There’s no leap into narratively exciting revenge or turning into a one man wrecking crew or anything else you typically see in these sorts of action-heavy shows. He’s grieving, like people do.

And sure, there are no shortage of Crowly/Aziraphale shippers but these are two divine beings who, not to put too fine a point on it, don’t bang. They’re just… you know, friends.

Just to be clear, reading them as two besties in no way rules out the queer reading of the show. That works perfectly well – with some lines it’s downright unavoidable (“You just go too fast for me, Crowley” springs to mind).

But that also plays into the idea that men can’t be kind or supportive of one another without it being necessarily romantic – cheers, toxic masculinity, for yet another number done on our collective heads.

I for one salute this unconventionally blokey portrayal of two men enjoying hangs. And also, cheers for saving the world and everything. Much appreciated.

Christians Want Good Omens Cancelled, But They're Petitioning The Wrong Company

Criticise David Tennant at your peril, mortals.

The comedy series Good Omens has become a surprise hit here in Australia and pretty much everywhere else, on the grounds that it’s a hilarious adaptation of the similarly hilarious novel by Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett.

The premise – an angel (played by Michael Sheen) and a devil (played by David Tennant) team up to prevent the end of the world – has upset some excitingly inept protestors in the US.

There was a petition circulating explaining that they don’t like that God is a woman (voiced by Frances McDormand), they don’t like that the Antichrist is a normal 11 year old child, they don’t like “this type of video [which] makes light of Truth, Error, Good and Evil, and destroys the barriers of horror that society still has for the devil” and they have concerns that Tennant’s demon Crowley is far too appealing.

Fair.

And thus they have called upon Netflix to immediately cancel the show. And there are two problems with this.

One, the six episode series has covered the entire book. And since Pratchett is gone and no sequel ever appeared, a second season doesn’t seem like a thing that would happen. So it would appear that they’re calling for the cancellation of an already completed show.

And two, it’s not on Netflix. It’s on Amazon Prime, an entirely different service.

Gaiman was suitably impressed by the petition…

…and Netflix threw some low key shade too.

…before loads of religious viewers chimed in supporting the show and saying how they appreciated how it dealt with some very complex theological issues.

As of this morning the petition appears to have been taken down. So we guess they… won?

Your Online Shopping Days Are About To Get Ten Per Cent More Expensive

Well, for the overseas companies that pass the retail threshold, self-declare to the ATO, and can be bothered collecting it, that is.

Online shopping was one of those things that the retail industry generally – and the Australian retail industry specifically – thought seems like such a niche thing that it was never going to take off and there was no point in competing, right up until the point when they abruptly realised that it had already all but killed them.

This is largely because it turned out that people don’t necessarily love the inconvenience of travelling somewhere to not find what they’re after, as opposed to clicking a mouse and then getting on with their day. All that time and inconvenience was a big of the old retail system, not a feature.

But the retail industry fought back, claiming that these international upstart stores that beat them to the punch weren’t playing by the rules because they, unlike bricks and mortar stores, weren’t charging GST.

The reason is fairly straightforward: if you’re not being taxed as an Australian business, why on earth would you agree to be a de facto tax collector for them? But the government agreed that this was a loophole that needed closing and thus as of July 1 you will be paying a GST-sized surcharge on your overseas online purchases, supposedly.

There is, however, some questions about how exactly this will be implemented.

While it’s not going to be hard to tax large players with a strong local presence – ASOS or Amazon, say – there are some loopholes: one, “the new online tax will only be collected from self-declaring overseas retailers with turnovers of more than $75,000” and – and this bit is fairly important – “the Australian Tax Office has no power to punish those beyond the ATO’s jurisdiction.” And let’s be clear: the ATO’s jurisdiction doesn’t apply in other countries.

So while some companies will presumably want to comply in order to keep the government onside, your independent fashion labels and self-funded artists are probably not going to give too much of a damn about this ruling – and will pass the savings on to you, through sheer indifference!

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