There's a masculinity crisis! But Melody Howlett is here to save us, with her observational comedy on quasi-homophobic affection, male-targetted marketing strategies, the prevalence of sexual assault, and female beauty standards (apparently, women can grow out their pubes now!).

Boys is a tightly-packed show, loaded to the brim with witty takes and clever observations, and Howlett covers off a dizzying number of topics in the sixty-minute timeslot. The jokes themselves are quite strong, even if not all of them get a hearty laugh. Usually, this is because the punchline isn't geared for hilarity, so much as to alert us to how distressing things are.

At times, though, Boys feels a bit like a recap of the last year's worth of Twitter jokes about hypocritical deputy PMs, gendered product lines, and the unfortunate implications of the live-action Beauty and the Beast. Howlett fails to execute a deep dive on the Proud Boys, for example, when there's a mountain of jokes to be found there (breakfast cereals and masturbating 'within 10 yards of a lady', anyone?). Likewise, she makes reference to Elon Musk's eccentricities, but fails to go in for the kill and target any of his specific behaviour. It's a performance that could greatly benefit from some harder-hitting material.

This is undoubtedly an important show, and Howlett is committed to educating audiences about the ways in which girls, women, and non-binary folk are being repeatedly harmed in our society. I just wish the comedy cut as deep as the message.

★★★½