by KATE HUNTER
How can a horrible phrase like, “Rack off, moll,” have the power to make me smile?
Maybe because it’s been replaced by the less benign, “Fuck off, bitch,” which you’re more likely to hear on a school bus these days. This truly is a story of innocence lost.
There’s so much to talk about in Ten’s incarnation of Puberty Blues; the story of two girls from Sydney’s southern beaches first told by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey in their iconic 1979 novel. Bruce Beresford directed 1981’s movie version. It had the molls, the Orchy bottle bongs, and the panel vans, but Kathy Lette complained the movie was sanitized to a degree – leaving out references to miscarriage and abortion. This already seems truer.
So let’s talk about last night’s episode – which I was GLUED TO, like a bikinied arse on a vinyl bench seat.
Your feelings on Puberty Blues will depend on your age and the decade in which you actually hit puberty. If you were there for the seventies, there’ll be a certain amount of nostalgia – the clothes, the music (how great are the opening credits with Dragon’s ‘Are You Old Enough?’) the houses the cars, the smokes and the wine. Coolibah moselle anyone?
But there’s much more to this drama than a Sandman ride down memory lane.
One of the things I loved about last night’s episode was the way it explored what was going on the parents’ lives as well as the kids’. Also, every character has a story – no one is all good or all bad. Such-A-Spunk Gary isn’t simply a misogynistic surfer. He has a sad mum and a charming, cheating dad, and a soul. Gary also has quite a lot of sex, and no shortage of girls to bring him Chiko Rolls afterwards. He’s not the slave to his mate’s approval that the girls seem to be. Interestingly, they admire him for that.