Writing about Big Boys, which Filmin releases on Tuesday, can lead to confusion. It fits perfectly into the label of traumadia, a very prolific television subgenre in the United Kingdom and Australia that is characterized by addressing traumatic experiences through humor. I Could Destroy You by Michaela Coel, Fleabag by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Please Like Me by Josh Thomas or the recent Such Brave Girls by Kat Sadler are clear examples.

But, where some of these authorial series deviate to offer scenes of extreme drama that at times erase the comic essence of the work, creator Jack Rooke remains firm: he wants to give the public a tender reflection on loss and depression without lose sight of the jokes and the freshness of youth.

In Big Boys, which competed in the official section of the 2022 Serializados Fest, Rooke draws inspiration from his own life when writing Jack (Dylan Llewellyn), a gay teenager who is still in the closet. He is the first member of his family to get into college but, after the death of his father, he feels unable to go to campus on the first day of school.

Day after day, he stays locked in his room, with his mother as his main link to the outside world. And, when he finally settles into college a year late, he feels disconnected from the rest of the kids as his already weak social skills have become rusty.

There, luckily, there is a boy in a similar situation: Danny (Jon Pointing), who is starting university at 25 years old and eager to take advantage of lost time. As they are older than what corresponds to their grade, they are sent to live together in rooms separate from the main residence.

Danny forces him to leave his comfort zone and becomes his ally, understanding that he has a fragile companion at his side. And, although he hides it from his colleagues, Danny also carries a backpack of sadness for which he takes antidepressants, which prevent him from performing in bed as he would like.

Rooke, who usually dedicates the opening scene of the episodes to remembering the rough patch his fictional version of himself has gone through, has a nose for social x-rays. He uses his gay perspective to dissect a young man’s awakening sexuality and joke about the conventions (some of them toxic) of the collective, while making his relationship with a straight man the mainstay of the work. . His friendship story is, in short, a beauty.

He also has a nose for a joke: you have to be very inspired to convey how destroyed a person is with a hilarious eschatological scene. Along the way, he knows how to exploit British culture, whether through the soundtrack or the use of the show X-Factor for one of the emotional climaxes of the season.

And, after watching the series, another recommendation for the viewer: you should find out more about the relationship between the creator and his friend at university. It forces Big Boys to be reinterpreted from a new therapeutic perspective.