In previous years many of the results thrown up by the Tumblies have been dismissed as simply the scowling of haters opposed to anything mainstream or popular. Unfortunately for those people, the main players in this year’s awards were high profile, well-promoted ratings flops, suggesting that – for once – our voters and the mainstream are on the same page. Self-serving tripe that seems to have been put together more to stroke the egos of the creators or fulfil some regulated programming need doesn’t seem to have put bums on seats in 2011; turns out people actually do want to watch comedy that’s funny after all.
What, it seems fair to ask at this stage, is Chris Lilley trying to do? Usually with a comedy show answering that question is simple: it’s supposed to make us laugh. But for large stretches of Angry Boys it was obvious that Lilley didn’t want laughs – in fact, laughing at Gran’s Alzheimer’s announcement (for example) would be exactly what he didn’t want. This is hardly new or original in comedy – the end of both Blackadder Goes Forth and the second series of the UK Office pulled off the same trick – but those shows used sentiment as a twist ending, adding a surprise layer to a previously purely comedic character. Lilley puts sentiment at the heart of his characters from the outset. Presumably it’s some kind of achievement to make an audience care about a senile old lady or loutish teen who is clearly played by a 40-ish man in a wig: it’s just not an achievement in comedy.
THE RESULTS OF THE NEXT CATEGORY, WORST OVERALL CHANNEL/NETWORK FOR COMEDY, WILL BE ANNOUNCED AT 2:30PM EDT.