Episode 1 Koala Man Season 1 opens in Antarctica, 1821. People uncover an unknown entity encased in ice, and they decide to hide it away in “the most boring, backwards, piece of shit place in the entire world.”
Fast forward to modern day Dapto: Suburban dad Kevin Williams, dressed as his secret identity Koala Man, tries to stop Dapto citizens from loitering. Koala Man is convinced he’s served justice by throwing eucalyptus oil in their eyes, but the news reports poorly on the hero, despite his life’s mission: to help people.
Kevin’s family (his wife Vicky, daughter Alison, and son Liam) want him to take a break from being Koala Man, but Kevin can’t fathom turning in his mask. Kevin’s family knows about it and wants him to take a break. He thinks that people’s poor opinion of him is just “Tall Poppy Syndrome”: a phenomenon where people want to cut others down simply because of their success.
Alison and Liam go to school, where Vicky works the canteen with coworker Janine. While Alison pants over classmate Rosie’s popularity, Vicky bemoans the fact that Kevin never fixes anything at the house. But Janine helps her realize she can just fix things herself. When she gets home, she gets out the power drill and fixes the table.
Kevin, meanwhile, stays up all night writing a Koala Man theme song for himself. The next morning, he can’t remember if he took out the bins for bin day. It looks like he hasn’t. And because everyone looks to him for when to take out their bins, his oversight leads to a chain reaction. No one takes out their bins, and Dapto remains full of garbage.
The town turns against Kevin, and everyone throws their garbage in front of his house. Vicky doesn’t mind, however, once she realizes she can fix everyone’s rubbish and build useful things.
Kevin still can’t believe he forgot to take the bins out. He can’t help but wonder if he has an enemy somewhere out there, working against him. In any case, he’s going to make it his job to clean up Dapto.
Alison sees Rosie and Makayla, the two most popular girls in school, posing for pictures in front of the garbage. She desperately wants to be like them. Makayla tells her that if she takes a photo that receives enough likes, she can potentially hang out with them.
Koala Man and his friend Spider take rubbish to the dump, where they find garbagemen bloodied and dying. One of them tells Koala Man that the tall poppy didn’t get its daily feeding of trash today, so it went on a rampage. Now it’s loose in town looking for all the rubbish.
Koala Man makes his way back home, where Vicky has fixed everything (except her life, she notes). The tall poppy comes after their trash-covered lawn, so Koala Man confronts the flower. Eventually, the hero defeats the tall poppy with his eucalyptus oil.
The tall poppy shrinks down into a small poppy, and Mayor Big Greg tries to lead everyone in killing the beast. Koala Man steps up and tries to stop them, saying that the tall poppy really only wanted to clean up the town. The town is skeptical, until Big Greg repeats Koala Man’s words. Dapto then cheers for the mayor and sends the tall poppy to Hollywood, where he quickly becomes a star.
In all the chaos, Alison took a selfie with the tall poppy, which was unfortunately labeled as “cringe” by her classmates. But she won’t give up on becoming the most powerful girl in school.
Kevin finally decides to take a night off to have a date night with Vicky. But somewhere out there, a supervillain plans his demise. Kevin didn’t forget to take out the bins this morning. It was the Kookaburra who sabotaged him, and he won’t stop until Koala Man meets his end.
The Episode Review
Koala Man takes the idea of the hero of the commonplace and turns it into a real, if mediocre, superhero. This episode is a humorous introduction to the town of Dapto and the nontraditional Williams family. At first glance, this might be a normal, boring town and family–even when you look at Kevin’s “superhero” work, like preventing people from loitering and making sure neighbors’ grass isn’t too long. But a closer look reveals that there’s more to Dapto than there initially seems.
We’re set up nicely for an eventual clash between Koala Man and Kookaburra. But for now, I think I’m going to best enjoy the everyday struggles the show portrays: Kevin feeling overlooked, Vicky’s longing for intimacy, Alison’s desire for popularity. These could lead into strong character arcs.
All in all, Koala Man’s premiere is a strong start that should find viewers among fans of Rick and Morty and Smiling Friends.