The series is set amongst New Zealand's fast growing Pacific Islander community, and focuses on a central cast of five young boys. bro'Town is heavy with popular culture references, and is based on the performance of the local four-man group The Naked Samoans.
Vale, Valea, Jeff da Māori, Sione and Mack live in the suburb of Morningside (catchphrase: "Morningside 4 Life!"), and attend the local college, St Sylvester’s, where their principal is a Fa’afafine and the P.E. teacher is the legendary ex-All Black rugby player Michael Jones.
The series was done in traditional ink and paint animation, Each episode took up to six months to make and consists of 16,000 animated cells, making it a huge undertaking for all involved. Despite the carefully planned nature of animation, the Samoans' performance style often gives the dialogue an improvisational, spontaneous feel. When successful this effect is fresh and funny but at times it renders the dialogue indistinct, with characters stepping on each other's lines.
The show satirises the boys’ culture, with vivid dialogue in the local vernacular, expressing what it is like to grow up as a minority culture in Auckland City, Auckland the largest Polynesian city in the world. Although the setting is contemporary and the satire topical, the humour often reflects a nostalgia for the 1980s period of the Naked Samoans' own boyhood. The series is also scattered with references to New Zealand literature, particularly the novels and short stories of Witi Ihimaera.
The series have strong religious references, with most episodes starting with events between God, Jesus Christ and other historical figures, which leads to the theme of the episode and the subsequent events between the boys.
Agnes Tapili (David Fane) - Sione's mother and the Pepelos' neighbour. Deeply religious and physically aggressive, especially to Sione (she refuses to show this side of her in public, though). Despite this, she seems to have intimate relations with the local minister. A caricature of the overbearing Polynesian mother who won't hesitate to humiliate her children.
Sina Tapili - (Teuila Blakely) - Sione's big sister and Mila's friend. Sina does not think kindly of her brother and The Boys, except for one time when Mack was crying. Attends St Cardinal's College for girls, known to the boys of neighbouring St. Sylvester's as 'Car(di)nal Knowledge.'
Motorcycle Boy (Timothy Tapili) - Agnes' eldest son. A delinquent who is a regular in the local delinquent centre (which Agnes euphemistically calls a "boarding school") and jail. His real name and nature were revealed in the episode "Go and ask Agnes", where it is revealed that his criminal record is not very impressive and he behaves more like a pretentious bully than the "hardcore" criminal he claims to be.
Samson - Agnes' youngest son. He is the son of the minister, though Agnes refers to him as "A miracle by Jesus".
Brother Ken (David Fane) - St. Sylvester's Fa’afafine principal. Is a personal friend of many famous New Zealanders, including famous actress Lucy Lawless and Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark. Brother Ken is a caring and reasonable principal, and once helped a then-young Mack (a nickname created by Brother Ken) to become friends with The Boys.
Rex Ruka - Rex is a typical sort of jock or alpha male in St. Sylvester's. He is regularly seen mocking the boys due to their supposed inferiority with Joost by his side. Rex is Sione's rival for Mila's hand.
Joost van der Van Van (Oscar Kightley) - A South African immigrant whose father Hansje manages the local zoo. As is expected, he acts as Rex's partner/toady, providing appreciation for his many putdowns (often saying "Hilarious!"). However, it was revealed in "A Chicken Roll At My Table" that Joost's racism was an act and he only did it because he was discouraged by his grandfather from making friends with coloured people. His name is a nonsense parody of Dutch surnames and means 'of the of.' Although unknown, it has been suggested that his name may have been derived from Springbok player Joost van der Westhuizen.
Mila Jizovich - A Croatain student of St. Cardinal's, best friends with Sina Tapili and the girl of Sione's dreams. She is best known for helping Lucy Lawless with the birth control presentation in "Sionerella". Her name appears to be a combination of tribute to the actress Milla Jovovich and a somewhat unsavoury joke.
Abo (Abercrombie Smith the Third) - An Aboriginal Australian who studies in St. Sylvester's. His nickname is either derived from his ethnicity or his real name, Abercrombie. Abo is known to celebrate every occasion with a (often very long) traditional song or dance. He is often seen riding an emu. Though Abo has made political comments regarding Indigenous native title, the satirical point of this character is unclear as very few Aboriginal Australians live in New Zealand; he is more surreal than satirical.
Ms. Lynn Grey - A teacher who manages The Boys' class at St. Sylvester's. She seems to have an affection for the Māori Man (as is shown in "A Māori at my Table"). A parody of well-meaning liberal Anglo-Saxon ( white ) - she will carefully use Māori vocabulary but immediately follow it with a slightly patronising English explanation. Her name is a reference to the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn.
God (Mario Gaoa) - As himself. As the creator of the universe, God can choose to be anything he wants. Thus he is portrayed as a well-built Pacific Islander in a lavalava. He appears mellow and easy-going, rather than strict and wrathful. God starts each episode in Heaven as if it were a fairytale, usually telling it to Jesus Christ and other famous, deceased notable figures.
Jesus (Shimpal Lelisi) - The Lord's only son. Unlike the past serious and solemn renditions of the Christian divinity, Bro'Town portrays him as young and naive (despite his past mortal life more than 2000 years ago). He generally seems like a somewhat wimpish teenager, who often needs to be gently taught a lesson by his Father.
There are also two female angels Angelina and Angelita.
Occasionally, deceased relatives such as Pepelo's wife (Vale & Valea's mother), or Jeff da Maori's Auntie Queenie are featured, appearing in dreams to communicate with the living.
bro'Town frequently features special guests - notable celebrities from politics, art, culture, music, the media, business and sport. The most regular cameos are John Campbell and Carol Hirschfeld, newsreaders from TV3. Former All Blacks and Manu Samoa player Michael Jones is the only special guest who could be considered a member of the core cast, as he is the P.E. teacher at St Sylvester's. Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has appeared in all seasons except the last and Hip hoprapper, Scribe has been a guest on all five seasons of bro'Town to date. Other guests include, Russell Crowe, Rove McManus, Robyn Malcolm, Flight of the Conchords and H.R.H Charles, Prince of Wales.
|DVD Name||Release Date||Ep #||Additional Content|
|Series 5||December 7, 2010||7|