Is it just us or have the last few episodes of Upper Middle Bogan been a bit funnier the earlier ones? The fact that they were written by Tony Martin (episode 4 – “Picture Perfect”) and Gary McCaffrie (episode 5 – “No Angel”) may be a hint as to why.
Episode 4 was particularly good: loaded with fast paced, well executed gags, plus some great cameos from Tony Moclair and Justin Hamilton. What was particularly interesting was the sort of attention to detail in the plot that you rarely see in Australian comedy, where elaborate set-ups you didn’t notice being set up were knocked-down in ways you didn’t expect. If you liked the better episodes of One Foot In The Grave it was a bit like that, but in a very Tony Martin way (i.e. lots of gags for film nerds).
The other good news is that there’s more Martin and McCaffrie writing and directing, plus a Martin cameo coming up later in the series. If you’re a fan of consistency in sitcoms the variance in styles and tones across the series’ episodes might rankle, but if you bowed out after week three (as we almost did) now might be the time to get yourself over to iView and see how good Upper Middle Bogan can be.
Episodes of It’s A Date have also been pretty variable thus far, but that’s less surprising as each episode has a different set of writers and characters. Inevitably some will be better than others and in a way that’s good, because if there’s one thing Australian sitcoms lacks it’s variety.
We recently complained about Australian sitcoms being the almost exclusive preserve of the middle class, and while the plots in It’s A Date have largely involved middle class characters it’s notable that many have also involved non-Anglo Australians, and/or children, and/or older people, and/or gays – so pretty much the full spectrum of the Australian rainbow, and a nice change from the endless parade of WASPish 20/30 year olds.
Some of the scripts have also been pretty funny, and theoretically It’s A Date could go on forever – they just need a steady supply of stories about first time dates. And even if the quality of the shows remains variable, at least each one would be totally new.
We’ve already had a fair bit to say about the imminent return of Chris Lilley in Ja’mie: Private School Girl, but a major part of the problem is it’ll just be more of the same. Even if you like Chris Lilley surely you’re tired of Ja’mie by now? Ultimately, there’s only so much you can say about a character, and It’s A Date gets it spot on by devoting less than 15 minutes to each one.