Recent episodes of The Ex-PM have seen a shift away from plots which rely on the audience believing that Andrew Dugdale was once Prime Minister (as we pointed out in our first review of the series, this is difficult), to plots which rely on the audience believing that Andrew Dugdale is some guy who’s very well known (much easier to buy). It’s a subtle shift, but a good one.
Gone are the heavy-handed political references that didn’t work as…um…satire? Was that the intention behind the scene where Dugdale’s at a primary school reading My Pet Goat while back at home toy planes were crashing in to his chimney? We don’t know. Anyway, now The Ex-PM is more about plots that any rich and/or famous person could be in, which makes it a lot easier to file Dugdale as an unlikeable idiot with lots of money, and enjoy the laughs generated from him getting in to a variety of absurd and/or sticky situations.
There’s a lesson here for anyone writing a sitcom – you can make a change mid-series and still write the series you intended. Or, to posit another theory about this subtle shift: playing to your strengths in comedy is always a good idea. And if you’re Micallef this means weird/absurd characters and plenty of them, and an over-the-top performance from him…which should be pretty funny in the final episode where he’s held hostage by the Russian mafia.
Best Aussie sitcom of the year? Yeah, probably.