It’s a Christmas Miracle

One of the highlights of this year’s election was Sammy J’s Playground Politics, a faux kids show a la Play School that sunk the boots into our politicians with a cheezy child-friendly grin. So good news! As part of the ABC’s seemingly endless enthusiasm for putting on comedy during the non-ratings period, this week sees a special Christmas, uh, special in which Sammy J goes to town on the current state of the political landscape.

It’s already up on iView if you don’t want to wait until the free-to-air premiere Wednesday night, and for a ten minute show it manages to pack in a lot of decent gags (we laughed at “The undying corpse of Kevin Rudd window”), some extremely well-crafted political nativity figures, and a guest appearance from a politician who’s actually pretty good at the condescending tone required of a children’s show host. Not that that’s really much of a surprise.

(as usual, letting a politician in on the joke is always a bad idea, but at least here forcing him to put on the creepy tone of a children’s show host makes it seem like part of the joke is on him)

We’ve scratched our heads before over the ABC’s current policy of putting comedy on during non-ratings – hey, we’re not seeing any first-run drama going to air in January – and they’re not done yet:

Relax after Christmas with three new comedies exclusive to ABC iview: Goober, Almost Midnight and Lost in Pronunciation

Monday, December 19, 2016 — Three new 6 x 5minute narrative comedy web series, Goober, Almost Midnight and Lost in Pronunciation – all collaborations between ABC and the South Australian Film Corporation – will launch exclusively on ABC iview during the Christmas/New Year week. The series showcases new South Australian screen talent both on and behind the camera.

Goober is about Harry (Brendan Williams), a too-friendly Uber driver, convinced that every passenger will be his next best friend. Harry is on the autism spectrum, and spends his days bemusing and confusing his passengers – despite the support of his dad (Shane Jacobson), always just a hands-free phonecall away with encouragement and wisdom.

Harry is eternally optimistic, especially when it comes to Wendy (Ashton Malcolm), who works in the booth at Harry’s favourite drive-thru restaurant. Harry is convinced that any day now he and Wendy will be happily married. With a house. And six children. And a dog. All he has to do is summon the courage to talk to her about something other than ice-cream.

Goober comes to iview on Boxing Day. Written by Ben Crisp. Produced by Kirsty Stark. Directed by Brendon Skinner and Simon Williams. The show is from Epic Films – Screen Producers Association of Australia’s 2016 Breakthrough Business of the Year.

Almost Midnight is a coming-of-age romantic comedy, with each of the six episodes set a year apart against the backdrop of that glorious moment when boundless promise and uninhibited drunkenness combine – the final five minutes of New Year’s Eve. Dave (co-creator/writer and director Stephen Banham) wants a fairy-tale romance, but lacks the ability to meet or, more importantly, keep the woman of his dreams, Jen – especially when he’s hampered by the appalling advice of his best friend and self-professed ladies’ man, Acka (co-creator/writer Aaron Casey). Over six New Year’s Eves, we witness Dave’s growth from a bumbling wall-flower to a fully-matured man, comfortable in his own skin and ready for love. But when the clock strikes midnight, will he get his wish or turn into a pumpkin?

Almost Midnight comes to iview on Boxing Day. A We’re Not Boys Production. Producers: Alex Keay and Peta Bulsara.

Lost in Pronunciation is a ‘fish out of water’ comedy series from the award-winning and fast-rising comedian, Venezuelan born Ivan Aristeguieta. It premieres Sunday 1 January on ABC iview.

Lost in Pronunciation is the autobiographical story of a young man who escapes the dangers of Venezuela only to find himself in ‘the lucky country’s’ safest, friendliest state – South Australia. With the help of two Aussie housemates, lesbian tradie Tia (Lori Bell), and her hipster vegan brother Scott (Nic Krieg), Ivan learns that to become a permanent resident isn’t so much about ticking boxes on a form, but adapting to the strange and unique customs that we may take for granted, but make us truly Australian. Created and written by Ivan Aristeguieta and Chris McDonald. Director Richard Jasek. Produced by Julia DeRoeper.  A collaboration between ABC iview, the South Australian Film Corporation and JDR Screen

But if they’re half as good as Sammy J’s Playground Politics, the only complaints we’re going to have will be about the timeslot.

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1 Comment

  • simbo says:

    I think the timeslot is a wise idea myself. The ABC has had a lot of high-profile comedy flameouts lately (Sammy J with “Wednesday Night Fever” being one of the more notable ones), so it makes sense to do stuff slightly out of the heat of the full ratings season, particularly more developmental stuff with performers who aren’t big names. And in an increasingly streaming, iviewy kind of world, timeslots start to not matter as much – people discover it when they discover it, not at 9pm on a Wednesday or whatever.

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