What is there to say about The Yearly that we didn’t already say time and time and time again about The Weekly? Bugger all, which is the problem: we tuned in hoping they might have at least tweaked the format – considering they stole it wholesale from The Daily Show – but, well, more fool us. Really, we should have known better: it’s not like The Weekly ever looked like a show anyone was putting any effort into.
Yeah yeah whatever; no doubt everyone on The Weekly – and The Yearly – works really really hard to bring us a television show. A television show that in its most recent form feels like its only reason for existing was that Charlie Pickering wanted to gush over Harrison Ford and he could only get an interview if they had a television show to play it on. You put a Cecil the Lion joke in your opening credits? Sure, it’s a year in review, but with a year’s worth of news to make fun of you decide to go with Cecil the Lion?
While we’re here, here’s a quick guide to whether you’re watching / reading / absorbing shit Australian political satire: they’re going on about Tony Abbott eating an onion. Sure, it’s weird that he bit into an onion, but that’s all it is: weird. “Oh look, our PM did something crazy!” And then you’re done. And when that’s the only joke there is to be made about a bit of footage, well… you’ve got to leave something for breakfast television and Facebook, don’t you.
But that’s The Weekly for you. A weekly schedule is a punishing one, but when all you’re doing is coming up with five minutes worth of political jokes a week, surely you can stop and think “hey, maybe we don’t have to go for the broadest, cheapest, most obvious gag every single time”. Then again, when you have the comedy big gun that is Charlie Pickering’s gurning, maybe you can afford to let the writing slide.
Still, at least now we got the Bali 9 coverage the show refused to deliver when it was on air during the actual Bali 9 saga. And wasn’t that slam at Brendan Cowell worth the wait! Yep, even after half a year The Weekly / Yearly refuses to have anything worthwhile or interesting to say about the world around us. We left out funny because some things go without saying.
And yet, occasionally there were glimpses of actual comedy. Kitty Flanagan’s segment about cooking in the washing machine had nothing to do with anything news-worthy yet was a comedic highlight, which once again underlined the grim fact that The Weekly is a news satire where the news jokes suck.
Usually around here is where we’d go spare over an end-of-year news parody show running an interview with Harrison Ford to promote a new Star Wars movie, because… well, you go back and look at all those elements and try to explain to us how they’re meant to fit together. But fuck it: The Weekly is clearly just a lightweight nothing show that can’t even fill an hour with jokes given a whole year to play with, so why not have a celebrity interview in there for no reason past “he plays Han Solo!”
The thing that really burns our toast about The Weekly isn’t that it’s both lightweight and pissweak: there’s always going to be room for that kind of viewing, especially if it’s done on the cheap, and with only three cast members The Weekly has to be relatively cheap no matter how many backroom hangers-on are signing on. It’s the way the ABC continues to pretend it’s something – anything – more than junk TV.
The Weekly is the kind of thing that should be on at 11pm at night, or 6pm, or any time that isn’t prime time. And it should be on five (ok, maybe four) nights a week, so its shitty tossed-off jokes at least can be topical. Pretending this half-arsed, half-baked show for half-wits is any kind of grand statement on the news or the state of the nation is nothing but an insult, no matter how many times yoof websites post clips of Pickering flailing about under the caption “NAILED IT”.
And there’s another twenty weeks of this smug, self-congratulatory smirk of a show ahead. Merry Christmas everybody!