I have an admission to make: I had full intentions of going home and watching the first episode of Hounds on Friday night, but my efforts were thwarted by very delicious bottle of champagne. So I made up for it by doing the ole online option, subsequently popping my TV3 online cherry.
Hounds is a comedy by the creators of 7 days that focuses on a family reunited following the death of a father, and the oddball world of Greyhound racing that they are involved in.
David, an avid greyhound racer and proud owner of LundyDixonWatson (a racing greyhound lovingly named after a trifecta of NZ murderers), dies quite suddenly of heart complications at a local race meet and leaves all of his worldly possessions to three people- his somewhat estranged son Will, daughter Lily, and dedicated, alcoholic trainer Marty.
Will is a self centered defense lawyer who looks as though he's somewhat distantly related to Hugh Grant. Poor old Will is less than impressed to be named the new guardian of half-sister Lily and joint owner of LundyDixonWatson, but moves into the family home until things get sorted out.
Marty is the sweet yet rough trainer who keeps a mini fridge in the toilet and a ‘subterranian sauna’. Will meets Marty for the first time as he is taking photos of LundyDixonWatson in front of a sheet hanging from the washing line for a Spanish themed race meet.
Lily (Susanna Tang) is the anchor of the three main characters, the most level headed- described as 12 going on 20, yet is stone cold towards Will. She refers to him as a "big selfish penis", and upon learning that Will is a defense lawyer, she asks "did a rape case pay for those (shoes)?”
The thing that this comedy does well is its characters that grind against each other in just the right way, making for a realistic comedic portrayal without the need for cues of canned laughter.
I loved the funeral - the fact that most of the attendees were there just for the sausage rolls and beer, how Marty nearly dropped the coffin because he stopped to blow his nose, and that David's memorial song was 90's hit 'Tubthumping' by Chumbawumba.
It’s fun how the story is based on a subculture that exists within our ranks that I know absolutely nothing about. The greyhound race meet itself is well played out, featuring an unfortunate Spanish guitar and tambourine combo, a greyhound racing veteran wearing a bolero constructed from his first place ribbons, and of course how Will drinks himself into oblivion to feel comfortable. LundyDixonWatson even gets a 'special rubdown' to get him excited for the race.
An awkward humour that is executed so well by our local comedians was evident right from the beginning. The subtleties of the show are what give it the je ne sais quoi. It's refreshing to see a New Zealand comedy that is showing off some new talent, and doesn't feature the same ex-shorty street cast as every other NZ show on at the moment.
I only have two critiques:
1. Will's young girlfriend annoys the hell out of me. She is somewhat unnecessary, and the only funny thing she is involved in is lending Lily a T shirt that says 'sugar tits'. And we don't even see that hand off played out. Her character seems a little bit overacted and strained.
2. Why the hell is this show on at 10pm on a Friday? Even though I have no problem with watching 7 days before Hounds, I'm pretty sure that there are prime time TV spots during the week playing reruns of The Big Bang Theory that we don't care to watch?
You can watch the first Episode here.