Down Under: “Queersland”


Ruth Callander is a New Zealander living and writing in Melbourne.  She hopes to cover stories from both sides of the ditch.  Tweet her tips about the things you want to hear about to @RuthCallander.

Aha! Take that Bob Katter! Start walking yourself backwards to Bourke immediately, because all of a sudden Queensland is looking like a fabulous place for the ‘mos.  At the end of last month the state government passed a Civil Partnerships Bill legally recognising same-sex civil unions, and now, Brisvegas locals Leah Pellinkhof and Rhys Emmett Rathbone are getting ready to launch Queersland, the best thing to happen to queer Australian viewing since Lana and Sky pashed, no — wait — since Donna and Sunny! OK, maybe ever.

Queersland is launching on the web in January 2012, and features “dyknastic fagtastic comic duo” Pellinkhof and Rathbone in a sketch comedy based on six sets of queer characters. Created by actor, writer and theatre director Leah Pellinkhof, the show describes itself as a “light-hearted, laugh out loud, tongue-in-cheek mocumentary web series, showing the hilarious side as well as the delicate hearts of the unique and diverse people that make up all the colours of the rainbow flag.”  Check out a promo here:


The characters include a variety of queer stereotypes, from closeted actors to country dykes, bisexual emo teenagers and my personal favourites, the hippie lesbians “Breeze and Rainbow.”

As Pellinkhof describes it, the series “…is a piss-take, but it has a heart, too.  For us it wasn’t enough to use these characters — who are extreme stereotypes — as the punch line for a joke; we also wanted to tell their stories. Sometimes those stories are sad, but in Queersland, it’s only sad for a second.”

While she admits that the characters are partially based on ex-girlfriends and other real people she knows, she also connects with the characters on another level. “I went through my teen emo phase and my hippy stage, so there are little bits of myself in every character.” Like Chris Lilley’s Angry Boys (which Queersland lists as a reference point, along with Little Britain) that empathy towards the otherwise thoroughly satirised characters provides the series with a sense of genuine warmth, along with the snark.  Take “Chook and Maureen,” for example.

“Maureen is a newly out, sweet, butch, mulleted gay woman who’s never been kissed.  Her brother Chook is a bogan who dribbles out homophobic comments and jokes with every breath, but underneath it all he has a heart of gold and wants nothing more than to help his “stupid dyke sister find some lezzo love.”

The series will launch on January 13 and will run for at least eight episodes, hopefully with more in the works. Check out the official Queersland channel, follow the show on Twitter @Queersland or on Facebook and keep an eye out for the episodes playing on as well as some exclusive sneak peeks into the show.


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