Have you ever wondered what Australian culture looks like through the eyes of someone completely unfamiliar with the way of life down under? You’d probably skirt away from the stereotypes that we’ve all endured in grimy backpacker bars around the world; of throwing a shrimp on the barbie, Foster’s lager and the ever-present threat of drop bears. Maybe you’d want to look at our culture for its contemporary notions of multiculturalism, our ability to laugh at ourselves and of the mesh of ideas and identities that makes defining Australia in absolutes an impossible task.
Well, new web series How To Talk Australians promises to undo all the hard work of you recreational foreign diplomats out there in the best possible way. The 8-part series presents Australia through the lens of educational videos in an Indian call centre training college, the Delhi School of Linguistics. If the premise sounds familiar, you might be thinking of short lived series Outsourced which ran for one season in 2010 before its exploration of American culture through the eyes of Indian workers was panned for its reliance on caricatures and obvious observations of cultural divides. How To Talk Australians looks to step the absurdity up a level or two from there with call centre trainees cracking tinnies, piling barbecues with meat and flipping steaks with boomerangs. ‘Straya.
“A recent survey reveals that 30 percent of Australians are casual racists,” the tutor says, pointing a roo paw at a pie chart. “Which means 70 percent are full time.”
You’d expect nothing less with Wilfred creator Tony Rogers in the director’s seat and considering the writer is Rob Hibbert, whose foray into the literary world was Images You Should Not Masturbate To (a pictorial novella containing nothing but images you should not masturbate to), the edginess is clearly very intentional. Whether it turns out to be pure offence-bait or a genuine inward facing glance at what holds up the Australian way of life, the series looks to mine the depths of the Australian stereotype – hopefully in pursuit of a gold nugget of poignant truth.
Check out episode one:
Now watch the rest of How to Talk Australians for free.