4 October 2012

Rake (2x05) - Quality Aussie drama

Each Thursday night I tune in to the ABC from 8:30pm onward. It really is the only place to be for someone who enjoys Aussie drama.

Richard Roxburgh is clearly the standout of the series as defense barrister, Cleaver Greene, but the show also boosts a stellar line-up of well known Australian actors as well as quality guest stars on a regular basis.

Cleaver is basically the guy you love to love, despite his flaws and misdemeanors. Richard brings the character across as funny to the point of forgetting that Cleaver isn't the most ethical or moral human being - even for someone who works in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

I am constantly in fits of laughter. Season 2 has just continued to deliver and how could it not after where it left off in season 1?

Among the other key cast members are Matt Day, Russell Dykstra, Danielle Cormack, Kate Box, Caroline Brazier, Keegan Joyce and Adrienne Pickering.

Matt is excellent as Harry "sorry" David Potter, as he is known to Cleaver. He'll do anything to give Cleaver a taste of his own medicine but generally fails dismally.

Russell, as Cleaver's best friend and also his instructing soliciter, Barney, is also great in the show. Tonight he was seen trying to rid a mosquito from buzzing relentlessly around him while he slept, with the mosquito following him all the way into the bathroom while he went to get Aerogard and then causing him to slip into the bath tub where he broke his arm on the side of the tub. What's more satisfying than laughing at the misfortune of others right? Schadenfreude is the German term for it. We just can't help it, it's funny seeing others suffer - especially if they're fictional characters, right?!

Then there's Danielle Cormack who plays Barney's wife, Scarlet (or to Cleaver, 'Red'), whose marriage with Barney has been strained ever since she slept with Cleaver and got her license to practice law suspended and is now working for a dodgy slime ball of a politician. The only reason she's working with him is because she was able to bargain with the fact that she doesn't like Cleaver and it turns out neither does he. She might be regretting it now though. Tonight, she was tricked into covering for the guy, before finding out that he'd been accused of sexually assaulting a woman - all after she'd unknowingly given him an alibi!

And at this point, here's me just yelling at my TV screen - "open your mouth and tell the truth!" But of course, TV characters never listen to my demands or pleas or any such suggestions. They just do whatever they please... Even if they end up being crushed by a falling tree or something to that effect. I try, but what can I say, even I'm not that good!

I hope the truth eventually comes out. That guy really is a piece of work!

Then there's Kate Box, who plays Nicole who is virtually Cleaver's slave and cops his orders left right and centre, especially in tonight's ep. Little does Cleaver know that Nicole and Barney had a one night stand (even though Nicole is engaged to her long time love) and it's pretty funny when she breaks down into tears and he has no idea what's going on. Especially when Barney storms out after a quip Cleaver makes about her having "wedding jitters".

That's the thing about Cleaver. He is hilarious simply because he is a funny kind of character generally - the way he speaks, the way he acts - crafted brilliantly by Richard Roxburgh.

Caroline Brazier was probably my favourite main character in tonight's ep. Always terrific as Cleaver's ex-wife, Wendy (with whom he shares a teenage son, Fuzz played by Keegan Joyce), tonight she was seen trying to win back Cleaver's affections like a love-struck school girl. Cleaver's reaction to her obvious advances (stumbling along while walking away from him and coming to watch a court proceeding for the first time in fifteen years) were strangely entertaining, even to him.

Their teenage son, however, seemed to be right about one thing - his parents operate better the further they are apart. By the end of the episode when Cleaver turns up to dinner drunk, eventually pulling his pants down leaving only his tiny underwear for all in the restaurant to view, Wendy admits then and there for onlookers to hear that they are better off away from each other.

Finally, there's Adrienne Pickering who plays former prostitute and law student Missy. I have always liked these two romantically and, still, think that they would make a great couple. With Cleaver having tonight defended her after she was wrongfully accused of murdering her husband and getting her off, the two were closer but I can't see them getting together any time just yet. By Cleaver's standards, I'm surprised it didn't happen in tonight's episode! He does like his women, no denying that.

And like father like son, it seems. A couple of episodes ago, his son had been sleeping with the woman across the road who his father had thought about sleeping with but had been beaten to it, awkward...

My favourite line from tonight's ep came from guest star, Martin Sacks (who played the husband of the woman across the road):

"I always thought it was Cleaver. Cleaver was a bit flirty with her" to which Wendy replied "That's just his default setting".

I'm so glad it's been renewed for a third series, even if Richard Roxburgh has admitted he plans for it to be the last.

The more Cleaver Greene, the better, I say.

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