"...and if you piss me off, I'll take you up in the chopper, & you fly home..."

It’s as Aussie as the dog on the tuckerbox; as football, meat pies, kangaroos & Holden cars; as the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. Keeping Up With The Joneses will offer you an insight into running a modern day Australian cattle station in the Northern Territory while dosing you up on your laconic irony & outback dryness. It’s 30minutes of dusty heaven (if your idea of heaven is everything covered in two inches of red dust).

Milton & Cristina Jones Own & run Coolibah – a cattle station in the Northern Territory of Australia, 1000 km from Darwin. Milton has 2 kids from a previous marriage, & now he and Cristina have their own – Little Milton. It’s our version of the Osbournes (with a less drug-addled dad, & more valid reasons for swearing). It’s a look at life as very few people know it – isolated, dedicated, hard-working. The station swells with a seasonal workforce when mustering is on (they muster cattle for stations all over the Territory), so it’s no longer done just on horses… they’ve 42 helicopters as well.

Did we say characters? The Jonese themselves are a wonderful mob, but by the time you add in the neighbours, the chef, & the fish-out-of-water Sunshine Coast kid ‘Jackaroo’ Jeff (son of one-time wonder couple Grant & Lisa Kenny), it’s a laugh riot. I mean, how is seeing Trevor the Cook go on a run in the morning heat with a garbabe bag on under his shirt to help him lose weight so he can ride a horse in a race again not hilarious?! Or what about seeing Jeff nearly drop a large chunk of tree on a shed while he cuts it down with a chainsaw while up a cherry picker – side splitting!! If only they were filming this so we could show the people at the Department for Workplace Health & Safety.

This show has the holy trinity of stars, mandatory in a decent reality docu-drama: the incredible scenery that is the Northern Territory; Men doing inexplicably incredible things with helicopters; & Little Milton. This kid, at 4 years old, is televisual gold (if Peter Helliar can get his own show, this kid deserves a telemovie, bare minimum). He’s feisty, he’s a ladies man (check out his invitation about 38sec into the clip), he’s building his own school, the nearest friend his age is a few hundred kilometres away. And next year school starts on the internet for him. Man, the internet has everything these days.

It’s an easy watch, with breathtaking scenery, & an amicable narration from country singer James Blundell – a great move as he brings an outback drawl that adds further authenticity. The show is only 3 episodes into season 1 & the narrative isn’t hard to pick up, so do watch it. Little Milton’s likely to run his own parody of Mad Men in his school house any day now.


Keeping Up With The Joneses, Channel 10, Thursdays 8pm
Image/Video Source: Channel 10