The show was hosted by comedian Harley Breen who explained the concept of the program at the very beginning.
“Essentially what I’ve done is I went on a holiday with these four wonderful people … who all have different disabilities,” Breen said. “And then I have spent the last week writing comedy about them … to perform to them in front of their friends and family and all of you.
“I am so excited and chuffed to be a part of this show. I think it’s such a wonderful idea to give people in society that feel like they’re invisible and don’t have a voice and don’t get seen a vehicle so that they can. And I think it’s really great that they’ve used me because clearly as an able-bodied straight white male, I’m the perfect man for the job.”
The four people with disabilities who were featured on last night’s episode were:
• Dee, a mother of a two-year-old, needs full-time care. At 36, she has Type 3 spinal muscular atrophy. Dee cannot walk and can barely lift her arms.
• Jason, who on the day before his 25th birthday, went to have some fun at the local trampoline park but broke his back and is a complete paraplegic, with no feeling or movement from the waist down.
• Sam is 25. She had two accidents in 45 minutes. The first falling asleep at the wheel and flipping her car on the way home from work. The second, in the ambulance on the way to hospital. Sam now has hemiplegia; the right side of her body is paralysed from the collarbone down.
• Khoa, 35, who six years ago was a passenger in a fatal single car accident and lost both legs. Now on robotic prosthetic legs, he runs a gym, can drive a car and brims with positivity.
The episode featured emotional interviews between Breen and his four new mates about their accidents and what their lives are like living with disabilities. Those confronting scenes were followed by footage from Breen’s hilarious stand-up gig where he performed jokes he’d written about the four.
“Khoa, ladies and gentlemen, what a wonderful guy,” Breen said during his comedy routine. “He was involved in a high-speed car accident, he was the passenger and he was blackout drunk at the time. Listen, I have been drunk in my life but I have never drunk myself legless,” he joked.
“He has two prosthetic legs. One of them is a static leg and the other one bends and he actually has an app for that. He’s got this app where he can press a button and it will move the leg. It’s great because I downloaded the app and if Khoa doesn’t like this I can press a button and make him f**k off.”
Taboo is one of the eight shows that Channel 10 is airing as part of Pilot Week and the network says it will use ratings, social media buzz and audience reaction to determine which of the shows get commissioned for a full series in 2019.
Disgrace!, Skit Happens and Drunk History have all aired so far with Kinne Tonight, Trial By Kyle, Dave and Rove’s Bring Back … Saturday Night all set to air in the next few days.
But given the audience reaction to Taboo, it seems a certainty the show will be picked up by Channel 10 next year.
The reviews from people watching at home were remarkable.
— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott)
— Dylan (@DylanDylan2017)
What an extremely important show #TabooAu is, it is somewhat confronting at times but heartwarming and honest and so needed. Congrats @HarleyBreen and the team behind it. Another goodun’ to come from #pilotweek.— Rando Calrissian (@bamberee)
— Ben Jammin (@bjcrooks)
Having grown up with a disabled mother, I wish she were alive today to see the dignity, respect, honesty, humour and love that @harleybreen on #TabooAU treated its subject matter. This is more important than ratings, @channelten. Please pick this up.— Matthew Revert (@matthew_revert)
— Nini (@4Nini)
#TabooAU is the kind of show that the ABC/SBS are usually left to make because none of the commercial networks will, so it’d be good if @channelten brought it back as a series next year. It’s been great so far and Harley Breen is perfect for it.— Nathan Hall (@nthnhll)
#TabooAU is the real deal. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve cringed, I’ve felt so inspired by these amazing people and their stories. I am in awe of @harleybreen as host too. @channelten it’s a big YES from me pic.twitter.com/FS0oT6R6cV— Cherie n Benni (@CherieNBenni)
How good was #TabooAU tonight. Great TV and fantastically done by all involved. One of the highlights of the year 👌🏽— Nathan Weatherhead (@nathweathers)