Wow, how about that segment on The Weekly about dodgy campaign donations! Shocking! Scandalous! Hilarious! … oh wait, no it wasn’t. It was a bland intro-level current affairs story of the kind 7.30 wouldn’t touch because there’s no story there. Well, there is, but the story is so big and unfocused – “political donations: we don’t know where a lot of them are coming from” – that it’s about as newsworthy as “roads: good or bad?”.
Obviously one segment isn’t enough to indict The Weekly, especially after much of the press surrounding its return for 2016 has been lukewarm at best. Fortunately, tonight’s opening segment was so astoundingly pissweak all right-thinking viewers have no option but to boot up and form a conga line to give Australian television’s smuggest show a good kicking.
Seriously, how does any show air a five minute report on a segment on Seven’s notoriously idiotic morning program Sunrise and expect anyone to still be watching four minutes in? Especially when, as has been the way with news since, oh, 1790, it stopped being an actual news story the day after it happened? “It”, by the way, being a Sex and the City star having an awkward time thanks to dim bulb breakfast show hosts wanting to giggle at sex rather than talk about the charity work she was there to promote.
That’s right: “B-list actress has bad time on crap breakfast show” was the subject of the opening five minutes of The Weekly. For fuck’s sake.
We could go on about all the big promises made before The Weekly first aired that this was going to be a show that actually “went there” as far as tackling issues. We could go on about the slightly less plausible promises that the show was going to be funny. But why revisit that haunted house of bullshit and lies? This show was never going to be good: the only thing that’s surprising about it now is just how bad it’s turned out to be.
Week in week out it turns up late to whatever story the internet’s been making hay with and adds nothing to the conversation. Then it provides a bad social studies lecture on some systemic fault in our political system – you know, the kind of thing that looks bad but can’t actually be blamed on anyone with the power to affect the ABC’s funding – or rants about some non issue that makes the kind of people who sit in the audience for Gruen nod sagely. Bung on an interview, Tom Gleeson does something unfunny, roll credits.
Oh sure, the usual online sites still love it:
And why shouldn’t they? They get free content, the show gets free advertising, everyone wins! Unless you actually watch the clips, in which case… well, you get what you pay for.
We’ve said it a billion times before: television comedy is a zero sum game in Australia. Because The Weekly is on, some other comedy show is not. And much as we do like to go in for hyperbole here, it’s currently very fucking hard indeed to think of a show that could do a worse job of what The Weekly is doing than The Weekly.
We went in hard last year because last year you could still find people who thought The Weekly was something more than a pathetic waste of time. Not any more; having re-defined the bottom rung of “satire” – seriously, The Weekly is now easily the worst news comedy show the ABC has aired this century; even The Chaser at their laziest put more effort into producing entertaining television – it’s now painfully clear that The Weekly is a show that deliberately chooses easy targets then goes out of its way to have as little to say about them as possible.
It’s shit. We’re done.