Restoring the Balance returned to Triple J last night after almost three years, with the original cast of Tony Moclair as young Liberal Stirling Addison and Julian Schiller as young National Tom Thomlinson. If you enjoyed Radio National’s The Lonely Hearts Club you’ll probably enjoy this, but if you think Restoring the Balance is serious then you’ll probably post something idiotic on Twitter. At least one tweep used the #RTB hashtag to express their outrage that Triple J would broadcast a show like this – perhaps the ridiculous level of satirical right wingery on display wasn’t ridiculous enough?
Addison and Thomlinson’s strident love of free markets, Western imperialism and Protestant Christianity is expressed through sneering talk breaks about liberals, leftists and Greens, a series of fake ads and “re-education” messages, and several deeply biased interviews with possibly unwitting guests (MP Wyatt Roy seemed to take the pair seriously, although financial expert Scott Pape rumbled them pretty quickly). It’s funny, well-observed stuff, and superbly over-the-top and inventive.
In the past we’ve bemoaned the fact that radio in this country offers little in the way of comedy, particularly of the scripted variety. So, it’s good to see semi-improvised character shows like Restoring the Balance and The Lonely Hearts Club in the schedules every so often, and The Sweetest Plum continuing to fire on late night Triple M. With TV seeming to find it difficult to fund scripted shows perhaps radio can take up slack?
And while we’re here, do check out the Restoring the Balance website, where you can find past shows including a number featuring the late Richard Marsland as Family First member Spencer Penrose.