Puberty Blues. Those words are enough to make most Aussies cringe, with memories of the dated, daggy film. Somehow a movie about the teenage sexuality wormed its way into our hearts, enough to call for its makeover in a new mini-series, released now on DVD.
The miniseries, which aired this year on Channel 10, is a surprisingly moving portrayal of teenage angst and the pressures of change in a growing nation. Set in the heart of Cronulla, the story centres in on Debbie and Sue, following their arc from innocence to experience as they face the pains of growing up.
Debbie and Sue’s effervescent chemistry brings many smiles, even as they cradle heartbreak and pressures of their friends and world.
Interwoven with Debbie and Sue are the stories of their families – unfaithful partners, marriages in crisis, families at war. They form a rich cast, showing every aspect of true Australian life.
Like the movie, which I recall from cringeworthy sex-ed classes in high school, the series begins on an awkward note. The horror of the girls’ attitudes towards sex was almost enough to have me reaching for the remote, but as the series progressed I began to realise how brutally honest it truly was. By the time I reached the last episode, I realised that I would be sad to see it end.
As the audience you watch Debbie and Sue nurse heartbreaks, torment themselves with questions of their sexuality and feel the giddy turns of first love. You watch them grapple between what’s expected of them and what they really want. It’s particularly empowering to watch Sue’s arc as she finds her feet (and her spine), eventually coming to stand up for who she is.
Despite being set in the 70s, the series still feels incredibly relevant. While for people who didn’t grow up in the time may find some parts vaguely horrifying, the messages still ring true. Teaching girls about their sexuality was important then, and it could not be more important today.
Equal parts racy, scandalous and devastating, you can’t help but feel something for this series. The frank and honest portrayal of Australian life was suck you in and you won’t be able to help but get swept up in their world.
Available now MA15+; DVD RRP$39.95 and Blu-Ray RRP$44.95.
Category: Film & TV