Critical Failings (part 17 of a seemingly endless series)

It’s a sad indictment of the mental prowess of the people who run the Australian media that they seem to think hiring people who work in an industry to comment on that same industry is in any way useful to their readership. Oh sure, we can see how they’d come to that conclusion: who better to dissect the foibles of a specialist area than someone intimately involved in that area? It works for sports coverage after all, right?

Jesus fucking wept. Look, in sports coverage you’re hiring old farts who no longer play the game to cover a game they know well. When you hire Jazz Twemlow of ABC2’s The Roast to comment on television, you’re asking a guy who still plays… wait, “Jazz Twemlow”? Give us a minute here.

And we’re back. Anyway, thumbs down to The Guardian AU for hiring a working television performer – ok, yes, at least two of those three words are optional extras in this case, but you know what we mean – to write a hefty chunk of their television coverage. Did no-one think this would give off the appearance of someone favouring his mates and taking a swipe at his foes in the business of which he is a part? “Conflict of interest” is still a thing, right?

Sure, he’s focusing his ire on soft targets like reality television and overseas imports, possibly to avoid such a conflict. But what if the readers of The Guardian AU want to read about local comedy? Even if he could somehow guarantee that his coverage was 100% fair and balanced and not even slightly tainted by, say, the fact that if The Chaser and Mad as Hell were both to somehow get the chop The Roast would obviously yet pointlessly be promoted to the big time on ABC1, the people behind the other shows would be entitled to be somewhat pissed at having a rival pass judgement on them. Unless he only ever said nice things, and we’ve already got enough of those “critics”, thanks.

And yet this screwing over of readers and rival shows is a regular feature of the Australian television critical community, mostly because most of the members of the Australian television critical community are desperately working to remove the word “critical” from their CV. Is it general knowledge that Fairfax daily TV critic Ben Pobjie is a contributing writer for the ABC series Reality Check? You’d think it’d be the kind of conflict of interest they’d mention in every single one of his reviews, but it seems not.

Again, this is the kind of thing where people say “as long as he’s not reviewing his own show, where’s the harm?” Here’s a clue: it means that Fairfax’s TV critic isn’t reviewing a program being broadcast on the national broadcaster. Reviewing doesn’t run along a scale from “this thing is awesome” to “no comment”, despite what a shitload of people out there would like to have you think – including, it seems, the nations top movie critics.  Sometimes a negative review is appropriate. And with Pobjie writing for Reality Check, it’s not going to get one from him.

“But what about you losers,” a fictional tough guys says, lurching out of the shadows and gesturing wildly at us, “we don’t even know who you really are – you could be Rove McManus for all we know!” Good point. Fuck, but The Project is shithouse, ey? Guess we’re not Rove then.

The big difference between us and these guys is that we run a blog about Australian television comedy and to the best of our ability we cover as much Australian television comedy as we can. You can read our opinions and decide if we’re right or wrong. These guys are professional television critics who seem to be deliberately ignoring at least some of Australian television comedy due to conflicts of interest.

Hey, here’s a crazy idea: maybe next time, hire television critics who can actually do their damn jobs.

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  • rrboy says:

    The host Tom Glasson is a critic too. All these types help each other out. I really hate this show. I’m happy for them all to become critics as long as the show disappears forever.

    The roast had an interesting thing a few weeks ago where they did this awful story on video games. After getting absolutely destroyed in the comments section they decided to ‘disable’ them, and someone asked a bunch of users to ‘upvote’ the video to compete with the downvotes.

    They’ve essentially taken an unsubstantiated story about a few threats made by a very few select people, and tried to paint an entire group of millions of video gamers as terrorists who hate women. This all sounds very familiar. Video gamers? Isis? Muslims? Are the roast hypocrites or what? Tonight they did a bit about equal opportunity for women and how 4chan is misogynist – you have 1 woman on your program and like 60 white guys! Are you for real? Are you sanctimonious idiots actually for real?

    I doubt they’ll last very long at all on ABC1. They did an episode last year on it and were totally destroyed by viewers. Here’s a taste of what we’ll see at the abc when these tools get another chance on ABC1. I wouldn’t call them ‘ideal’ critics of the roast, but it’s funny to see.

    The odd thing is the roast have been bragging about these stories on their facebook page, as if being ridiculed by bolt and conservatives is a badge of honour (because all conservatives are automatically bad right, except that the roast isn’t biased or something?). Bolt is an idiot, but that doesn’t mean the roast is subversive, successful or funny. In this political climate, where shows like lateline are possibly going to lose their funding, I cannot understand why the ABC thinks it’s smart to continue with this failure.

    The conservatives are starting to bite and the roast isn’t funny enough to be defended by the left. All it does is help conservatives paint the ABC as biased and increase the chance of another journalist or politician finding themselves in a skit fucking a dog-is it really worth the risk? (and yes roast, you’re biased. When nobody on your writing staff holds a conservative view it shows in the writing. It means your comedy aimed at palmer and abbott comes from legitimate feelings and thoughts, but when you turn your criticism to labor it’s constructed to appear balanced. We can smell it a mile away. Even the attempt to appear balanced comes across as leftist sanctimony. You don’t realise this because you’re swimming in the same thoughts, and you have no respect for your audience, so when you’re criticised for being biased you make yourselves feel better by saying ‘oh bolt said that, must not be true’. You will notice how you go after palmer in literally every tiring episode with that cringeworthy cartoon because it’s easier than going after abbott. You also almost never go after the greens.)

  • Andore Jr says:

    ‘GamerGate’ was a story about game developers shacking up with game reviewers for praise and shagging, as well as co-ordinated opinion pieces organised via mail groups to ‘shut down’ criticism.

    Not a story these incestuous idiots should be touching, in my view.

  • Yeps says:

    I knew you guys were Karl Rove! Thanks for the War on Terror, you bastards!

    By ‘War on terror’ I of course mean ‘Ja’ime: Private School Girl’.

    …Or was that was an act of terror. Whatever. Someone still has to pay for those CGI breasts.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    The Roast isn’t really good enough to tackle any story requiring even the slightest level of nuance or insight.

  • dfd says:

    Anyone who reads over their scripts for The Roast and says, “Yes, this is good enough to go to air,” has no faculty as a critic.

  • Andrew says:

    What is a “Jazz Twemlow”? And why does The Guardian think I care what he thinks about TV?

  • Yeps says:

    I think ‘Jazz Twemlow’ has two dictionary definitions.

    ‘Jazz Twemlow’ (noun) [jaz-trem-loh]

    1. A television satirist. Example: ‘Hey, Bob. This guy says he’s a television satirist. Does that mean “satirist ON television”, or “satirist OF television? …Actually, you know what – who cares? It’s all the same, right? You gotta know something to mock it. And politics is a bit like TV; no one really cares about conflicts of interest in either one. Plus I don’t want to look through any more of these CVs. Let’s go get some lunch.’

    2. A solo flourish by one member of a band that leaves the others rolling their eyes and muttering amongst themselves. Example: ‘He’s off on another f***ing jazz tremlow. Get the hose.’

  • EvilCommieDictator says:

    It’s just best forgotten to be honest, second rate opinion/persuasion piece attracted third-rate human beings to slag off a person because of their gender, then someone cheated on someone else and fourth-rate human beings jumped onto a pretend bandwagon slagging off the same gender, and the media followed like the numpties they are.

    Funny thing is, I’m sure the cheater or the cheated are never going to get into a serious relationship anytime soon, based on their actions

  • simbo says:

    Your fear of “The Roast”ever moving to ABC1 seems somewhat misplaced. Given the ABC has three reasonably competent political satarists already between Micallef, Clarke and Dawe and The Chasr, it would require three separate disasters to let them through.

    Charles Firth’s second 11 will remain a minor league development backhole until someone decides to replace them, with maybe one or two of them sticking around in the industry like a hangover Mark Fennell or Dan Illic to continue to be mediocre in uninteresting ways.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    Give superwog his own satirical news show on the ABC!

  • Andrew says:

    It seems The Age still can’t help itself but give a last gasp plug for Please Like Me among its list of “the best comedies on television” so clearly it’s still “our” fault this show isn’t firing…

    With the comment “if only we could find them in the TV program” which is puzzling for PLM given it’s been in the same timeslot for its current series run. Between Fairfax’s constant plugging and gushing reviews elsewhere PLM must be one of the few shows that is hard to miss from the TV guides!