When it comes to television, you can't get much lower than "entertainment". People find explosions entertaining; people find smug gits talking about books entertaining; hell, people even find sport entertaining. So why is it that so much Australian television can't even claim to be "entertainment" with a straight face? Is it the mindless repetition? The inane, boring hosts? Or simply the fact that producers seem to think that televising conversations viewers would walk out on in real life is all they need to do to earn a six figure salary?
DICKIE KNEE POPS UP INTO SHOT.DICKIE
Mr Somers, Mr Somers, can I read out one of the awards? I promise I'll do a good job.
Hey Hey it's Saturday - The Reunion was never going to be entertaining. What it was going to be was that most dreaded of all television experiences: A Walk Down Memory Lane. Which is why its appeal was basically a demographic donut, as people under 30 and those over 50 rushed to re-embrace what they saw as a magical part of our television history. Unfortunately for those in the sweet spot inbetween - or just for anyone of any age with an actual functioning memory - that meant the return of a show that had ceased to be funny, let alone "entertaining", somewhere back in the late 1980s. But no matter: people too young at the time to realise it was shit and people who stopped watching before the rot set in were united in reliving the magic of an aimless, formless comedy show based entirely around humiliation and hosted by a man so notoriously self-obsessed that even Ray Martin took a swipe at him in his recent book. So this televisual turd rated like gangbusters, which is why it'll be back very soon, only without the nostalgia - almost none of the original cast are returning - but even more of Daryl Somers. Thanks guys. We owe you one.
WHIP-CRACK SOUND EFFECT, ONLY THE TAPE IS SO OLD IT COMES OUT STRETCHED AND DISTORTEDBest leave the comedy to the professionals, hey?
AUDIENCE DOESN'T RESPOND.And here Good News Week was again, doing the exact same thing for yet another year. The recent release on DVD of The Doug Anthony All-Star's efforts on The Big Gig may have gone some way towards explaining why Paul McDermott has a career, but there he was part of a three-cornered team where his smarm and sleaze could play off the others to get laughs. On Good News Week he's just got a funny fat man who's not fat and not funny, and the NQR version of Corrine Grant. No wonder there hasn't been an original joke on the show since 1998.
Early on in its run, Hungry Beast ran an interview with a serviceman who'd returned from Afghanistan. The solider didn't want to be identified so they had an actor in uniform read out his quotes. But wait: why get one actor to read out his lines when they could get five? That way they'd do an even better job of hiding the soldier's identity, right? Uh, no. Inadvertently they turned a serious news story into a comedy sketch as, every time the actor changed, the audience wondered 'Will it be a woman next? How about a pantomime horse? Why not Mark Mitchell as Con the Fruiterer?' Because instead of appearing on a serious current affairs show, this interview was on a show where Dan Ilic did a wacky opening sketch each week and various cast members did stories on why lesbians were so freakin' hot. The moral of the story: a sloppy, ill-considered mess is a sloppy, ill-considered mess no matter how often you cut to flashy graphics.