Press release time!
ABC in association with Screen Australia and Create NSW are pleased to announce filming is underway on the new season of Jungle Entertainment’s Squinters, the acclaimed, hit comedy series that celebrates the comically mundane ritual of the daily work commute.
Created by Trent O’Donnell (No Activity, The Moodys) and Adam Zwar (Wilfred, Lowdown), Squinters Season 1 has been embraced by critics and audiences alike, becoming ABC iview’s most watched comedy of 2018.* Season 2 picks up with Aussie distribution company ‘Kosciusko’ taken over by an American conglomerate. Under new management, our travellers have new jobs and for some, new passengers along for the ride. Over six episodes, we learn intimate details of their lives, relationships and struggles, as they navigate their new workplace.
A star-studded line-up of new cast includes Stephen Peacocke (Tina Fey’s Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Wanted), Claudia O’Doherty (Judd Apatow’s Love (Netflix), Inside Amy Schumer), Justine Clarke (House Husbands, The Justine Clarke Show), Genevieve Morris (No Activity), Anne Edmonds (Get Krack!n), Bert LaBonte (The Book of Mormon) and the beloved Ernie Dingo. They join returning cast Logie Award-winner Mandy McElhinney, Sam Simmons, Andrea Demetriades, Wayne Blair, Justin Rosniak, Jenna Owen, Christiaan Van Vuuren, Susie Youssef and Edinburgh International Comedy Festival 2018 winner, Rose Matafeo. And still to be announced…a major American female comedic talent has been cast as the new CEO.
“Like Marlon Brando, my favourite acting involves remaining seated the whole time, so this is a dream role for me” says new cast addition Claudia O’Doherty.
While fellow newcomer Steven Peacocke says “The scripts are some of the best stuff I’ve read in ages. Thrilled to be a part of the series.”
From Chloe Rickard and Jason Burrows, the Executive Producers behind the international titles Mr Inbetween and No Activity, the behind the scenes talent line up continues to impress with the team of directors including Trent O’Donnell, Amanda Brotchie, Erin White, Christiaan Van Vuuren and Adele Vuko. Writers include Adam Zwar, Kodie Bedford, Ben Crisp, Lally Katz, Becky Lucas, Mark O’Toole, Anita Punton, Michael Ward and Joel Slack-Smith.
Squinters is currently shooting in Sydney and LA, to air on ABC and iview in 2019.
Hey, here’s something interesting – see this line:
Squinters Season 1 has been embraced by critics and audiences alike, becoming ABC iview’s most watched comedy of 2018.*
That * doesn’t actually lead anywhere. There’s no reference cited, no numbers quoted, nothing at all mentioned to back up that figure anywhere in the press release. So hey, let’s fill it in ourselves:
Not that we know it’s bullshit, of course, because the only people who do know the iView figures are – you guessed it – the ABC. So they can say pretty much whatever the hell they like and biff bam pow, the Australian television press will report it as fact. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt for once and do some real reporting:
Fun fact number one: Mad as Hell (and for that matter, Gruen and The Weekly) aren’t considered by the ABC to be “comedy” but are instead “entertainment” (if you have a live audience, you’re entertaining). So there goes the funny shows that people actually watch on the ABC.
Fun fact number two: Squinters was the first ABC scripted comedy to air in 2018, with the first episode screening February 7th – the same week as when the entire series was made available on iview. So it’s probably more accurate to say it was ABC iview’s longest available comedy in 2018, especially as the handful of other scripted comedies the ABC had on iview were either notoriously shit (Sando) or didn’t air until the back end of the year (Back in Very Small Business).
It also rated pretty poorly on free-to-air (averaging around 350,000 viewers after week one), which is why this press release doesn’t mention those figures anywhere. So the bits where Squinters is called a “hit” that has been “embraced by audiences and critics alike” are also, how you say… bullshit.
All of which should raise the question: why is this poorly-rating show getting a second series? Especially as almost all the big names that presumably boosted the ratings in series one – Jacki Weaver, Tim Minchin, Damon Herriman – are nowhere to be seen. Oh, we forgot:
And still to be announced…a major American female comedic talent has been cast as the new CEO
Which, considering there’s absolutely no reason not to announce this person’s name here and now unless they haven’t actually cast a specific “major American female comedic talent”, we’re also going to file under bullshit.
But the question remains: why, after shit ratings, a critical drubbing (from us) and general apathy towards a show that was little more than a sketch show where all the sketches had the exact same set-up, are we getting more Squinters?
Considering how much the ABC goes on and on about all their programs to find exciting new comedy talent, how about letting some of that new talent make a prime time show instead of once again dusting off Adam Zwar and Trent O’Donnell, who between them have had a hand in around 80% of the most firmly average “comedy” of the past decade*?
Answers on the back of a postcard, please.
*that would be The Moodys, No Activity, Wilfred, Lowdown, six separate series of Agony, The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting, Here Come the Habibs, Laid,The Letdown, The Urban Monkey and – and this remains a pretty big get out of jail free card, let’s be honest – Review with Myles Barlow.