The Family Law: When Sunnybank Comes To SBS

Hilarious ‘Gaysian’ author Benjamin Law brings a slice of Queensland to the TV screens of SBS from tonight with ‘The Family Law’. Based upon his critically acclaimed memoir, the series already promises to be a ratings success. But then, Ben is not exactly lacking in the wits department.

Having grown up on the Sunshine Coast, moving to Brisbane and now based in Sydney, Benjamin brings his witty recollections to the screens of SBS. The book was first released in 2010 as a collection of essays covering the lives of the Law Family from the 1970s through to the 2000s. The Bildungsroman comedy series reveals the dysfunctional loopy antics of the Law family.

Across one hot Sunshine Coast summer, we watch the breakdown of the Law’s marriage through the eyes of a fourteen-year-old Ben, played by Trystan Go. Laying bare any mysticism of Chinese-Australia, the refreshing series will also follow the familiar journey of a family surviving separation and divorce. Well known for his essays, books, journalism and columns, this will merely be a start with Benjamin sure to have more TV projects lined up in the future. Produced by Matchbox Pictures, ‘The Family Law’ saw Ben work alongside Marieke Hardy for the script with the series filmed from Sunnybank last year.

While tourists are familiar with Chinatown in most capital cities, the ‘real’ Chinatowns of each city from Sydney’s Hurstville to Melbourne’s Balwyn and Brisbane’s Sunnybank will resonate across our TV screens into every home. In spite of Australia’s large multicultural population, there is a current lack of diversity on our screens, allowing for ‘The Family Law’ to be one of the first television programmes focusing on a non-Caucasian Australian family while swamping the screen with Asian faces. In saying that, the series does not focus on any great divides in multiculturalism either. It’s simply all about the day-to-day malfunctions of the Laws. With gems like Josh Thomas’ ‘Please Like Me’ series exploring mental health issues, mixed and malfunctioning families and gay relationships on ABC2, we’re clearly at the dawning of a wonderful shift in Australian television.

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