Okay, so your chance to vote in this year’s Tumbleweeds Awards is almost over, and if you haven’t voted by now* there’s a good chance you never will. Which, let’s be blunt, would be a massive mistake on your part.
Let’s explain: some years it’s pretty clear that Australian comedy just stank up the place and these awards are just making it official. Other years there was enough good stuff around that avoiding the bad was surprisingly easy and we’re just making sure the stinkers don’t crawl away unnoticed. 2012 fell into neither category.
Instead, 2012 was a year full of crap that people are already talking up as some kind of new Golden Age. Don’t believe us? Check out the fine work of TV blogger and radio commentator Steve Molk:
Snuck under the radar: The return of Australian comedy to TV – particularly the ABC
(Notable mentions: Santo, Sam & Ed’s Sports Fever [Ch7/7mate]; Southland [Ch9]; Can Of Worms [Ch10]; Laid S02 [ABC1]; The Strange Calls [ABC2]; The Unbelievable Truth [Ch7]; Adam Hills In Gordon Street Tonight S02 [ABC1]; Mabo [ABC1]; Episodes [Ch9]; Good Game [ABC2].)
Problems. A Moody Christmas. The Warehouse Comedy Festival. Kane and Disabled. The Hamster Wheel. Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell. The Strange Calls. Woodley. Laid. Agony Uncles/Aunts. Outland. Danger 5. The Roast. Audrey’s Kitchen. Even Hamish & Andy’s Euro Gap Year. It’s building and we’re well overdue the return of good Australian comedy to our screens – the crop we received this year was plentiful and we want more. MORE, DAMMIT – MORE!!!
Far be it for us to point out that there was roughly the same amount of Australian comedy on our screens back in 2011** and that the overall improvement in quality was pretty much non-existent (basically, we lost Talkin’ ’bout Your Generation and gained Randling), even though that’s pretty much our job here. More importantly, who in their right mind wants more of Laid or Problems? Oh wait, this is the guy who’s website is “Challenging opinions of today’s TV” – presumably he meant to write something like “Challenging your opinions of today’s TV” – and yet his preview of Problems contained this example of Olympic-level fence-sitting:
“this sneak peek at Problems offers us an insight in the level of risk the ABC took in commissioning the series and just how well it’s going to pay off.”
Of course it “offers an insight”. So does literally everything else that had anything to do with the show, up to and including a photo of an empty set. If you’re going to be a critic and not just the network’s friend, you yourself have to offer up your own insights. It also helps if they’re not the same as every other fence-sitting critic (you didn’t like Randling? Uh yeah, that bandwagon left six months ago) and they don’t involve you tweeting at every television personality you can find trying to make friends with them.
The important thing is, whatever our issues with him Molks is one of the more high profile online television critics in Australia and he’s telling you that 2012 was a great year for Australian comedy. He’s not alone: how else to explain Fairfax claiming that the best Australian comedy program of 2012 was Agony Aunts / Uncles? We’ve ranted about this debacle before, but seriously: if that’s the highwater mark for the year, then the year was spent in the stinking remains of a drought-drained swamp.
So let’s be blunt: if you don’t vote in this year’s Tumbleweeds, you’re saying you have no problem with what these people are putting out there. They’ve already had their say about the state of Australian comedy in 2012, and the obvious sacrificial lamb aside – that would be Randling, a dud so massive even Australian television critics had to acknowledge it – they liked what they saw. First class stuff all round guys, pat yourselves on the back for a job well done. “The crop we received this year was plentiful”. Certainly sounds like a big thumbs up to us.
We, as usual, would beg to differ. We certainly hope you do too.
*Your online voting form can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/tumblies2012votes
**That Fairfax “best and worst of 2012” TV list actually complained about the lack of Australian comedy on our screens in 2012. C’mon guys, you can’t both be right!