You expect good things from the writers of Mad As Hell. Mad As… has been the funniest show on TV for ages and much of that’s down to the writing. So it was with interest that we’ve been watching Good Afternoon Adelaide, a homage to and parody of local television from the 80s and 90s, made by and starring David M. Green, a writer for Mad As Hell (and the host of 31 Questions).
Made last year and released on Facebook and YouTube, Good Afternoon Adelaide is also currently airing on C44 Adelaide and C31 Melbourne. We haven’t caught the community TV screenings, but what you get on YouTube are clips from fictional show Good Afternoon Adelaide, hosted by uptight journalist Jeremy Dome and smooth-with-the-ladies businessman Norman Vine, the backstory being that the clips were recorded off-air onto VHS by a keen viewer and are the best of what remains of the show (the master tapes of which were wiped).
As for the show itself, it’s everything you’d expect of local TV – cheap set, poor production, technical problems, bizarre local references, terrible hosting, guests which can most politely be described as “best available” – this should be a comedy goldmine. Problem is like the actual shows its parodying (SAS-7’s “legendary” A Touch of Elegance and its Anne Wills-hosted successor AM Adelaide) Good Afternoon Adelaide is a bit slow and dull.
On the real shows, things were slow and dull because the presenters had lots of time to fill and not much to fill it with, but here the problem seems to be that the comedy is improvised and not improvised very well. Occasionally, Jeremy and Norman will say or do something funny, but it takes an awfully long time to get there.
Good improvised shows, like The Trip, work because there’s been a bit of planning involved, the cast has a rapport and knows how to play off each other. That and the less-successful improv gets edited out. In the case of Good Afternoon Adelaide, there doesn’t seem to have been much editing at all. Apart from to make the picture quality look old and faded like it really did come from ageing VHS tapes.
Overall, we like the concept and appreciate the intent and attention to detail, but this should be a lot funnier. It’s also incredibly strange to see a comedy show made now that doesn’t feature any women at all.* What was going on there?
* It would also have been weird to watch a comedy show in the late 80’s/early 90’s that didn’t feature any women, an era in which we saw a female comedy boom with comedians such as Wendy Harmer, Jane Kennedy, Judith Lucy, Jean Kittson, Maryanne Fahey, Jane Turner, Marg Downey, Gina Reilly and Magda Szubanski regularly on our screens.