A Fresh Blood(bath)

In our previous blog, we wrote about the launch of ABC Comedy, reviewed some of the new batch of Fresh Blood shows now available on iView and promised to review more Fresh Blood next time. Well, promise kept; here’s our thoughts on more of this year’s Fresh Blood

Why Are You Like This?

Two annoying millennial women housesit for a third woman who’s gone off to do housebuilding work in Africa for a charity. The taller and more dominant of the millennial woman, who constantly bullies, chides and one-ups the shorter millennial woman, claims she is better than the one doing housebuilding in Africa and can make lots of money online by selling her poo to perverts. So, she does, making $80,000. In the third episode, the two millennial women start talking about cum and what it looks like, which leads to a sequence in which they perfect a recipe for fake cum. None of this is funny.

1800 Success

Aaron Chen and Jonathon Lo win some money at the pub, spend it, then spend more than they won, then find themselves in a lot of debt. So, they concoct various schemes to get out of debt. This would probably be funnier if it was shorter, as there isn’t enough good material to stretch across three nine-minute episodes.

Freudian Nip

Freudian Nip is the all-female comedy troupe who made up much of the supporting cast of Aaron Chen Tonight. As with 1800 Success, some good material is stretched very thin.

The Big Day

Laura Hughes plays three characters who are all participating in the same wedding. This reminded us a lot of The Edge of the Bush, in that all the main characters are narcissists turned up to 11. And while there’s plenty of comic potential in extreme narcissists, none was found here. This was just annoying.

No One Suspected The Cat

A group of comedians, including David Collins, Rebecca De Unamuno and Carlo Ritchie, improvise sketches in a sound studio, which are then animated. Sometimes the animations make the sketches funnier, most of the time they don’t add anything at all. It doesn’t help that the sketches themselves are fairly average.

Headswapsies

Two young scientists (Mitch McTaggart and Djovan Caro) swap heads, then have trouble regaining their basic motor skills. This largely visual comedy owes some debt to Mr Bean and Woodley in that the central character(s) are child-like adults who constantly find themselves in bizarre situations, not always of their own making. Unfortunately, the situations in Headswapsies aren’t quite as clever or unpredictable as those in better visual comedies. When the two scientists go to a science showcase and find themselves surrounded by dangerous chemicals and equipment…gee, we wonder what will happen? To be fair, we didn’t predict that one chemical reaction would cause a swastika to appear. Although on the other hand, we also didn’t predict that the shot wouldn’t then cut to an obviously Jewish character looking angry. So, this wasn’t an entirely predictable show.

Let’s Break ‘em Up!

In the spirit of equality, Nath Valvo has decided it’s time for all couples to prove their relationship worthy…

Made before last week’s same-sex marriage vote, this sees Nath Valvo (The Shambles) dragging heterosexual couples off the streets and into a TV studio, where he asks them questions about their relationship. If the couples get the answers wrong, they’ll be forced to break up. We enjoyed this one. Valvo’s an engaging and amusing host, and the tatty set and background models raise plenty of laughs. Especially the male model, who just stands there looking gormless.

Along with Kiki and Kitty, Let’s Break ‘em Up! is the only half-decent Fresh Blood show we’ve seen so far, which begs the question… have we reached the bottom of the comedy talent barrel?

Shock twist: yes we have.

With nowhere currently available to actually train comedy talents or give them real work experience on television, all Fresh Blood is currently doing is giving a lot of people with nothing but their own conviction that they’re funny some “much needed” exposure. Which is bad because a): they suck, and soon give up on comedy, and b): anyone watching gets the impression that Australian comedy sucks, and they also give up on (Australian) comedy.

The ABC clearly has zero interest in developing real comedy talent – they just want cheap programming they can throw on air to look like they’re promoting local talent, with zero interest in nurturing them to the point where they’re actually good at their job. If they uncover fully formed talent, great! Only they found all those people in series one and never gave them a show.

Offering exposure without training is like a concert hall having an open mic night – everybody knows those things almost never reveal any decent talent. Unless the ABC wants to start up a regular sketch show where all this fresh talent can learn how to do more than gurn at a camera, it’s time to realise they can’t get any more blood from this stone.

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