The Weekly Pleads the Fifth

Let’s get one thing straight: the main thing that kept us watching the first episode of the newly returned Weekly was to find out if Briggs was going to be in more than the opening pre-recorded segment. And he wasn’t! Way to start the way you mean to go on, The Weekly. Briggswatch 2019 is go!

Otherwise it was just the same old same old “say things loudly and throw in the occasional pause and hey presto, a regular news story becomes comedy” from host Charlie Pickering. Who knew that saying “There, I said it!” after a news story made it hilarious? Or that repeatedly reminding us that we were watching the start of “Series five” of The Weekly would make us think he was desperately trying to reassure viewers they weren’t watching a repeat because every episode has been basically interchangable since Pickering gave up doing outside segments in week four of series one?

But it was when they showed the #eggboy clip that we really remembered the big problem The Weekly faces above and beyond being shit: unless you have something new to bring to the news cycle, a “week in review” show is completely pointless in 2019. And 2018. And 2017. And pretty much from the day The Weekly began, so we don’t really know what we’re complaining about here.

What’s constantly bizarre about The Weekly is that if there has to be a show with nothing more to it than someone re-reading news stories and slapping a bit of comedy outrage on at the end, why would you put Charlie Pickering in charge of it? Back in the days when Mick Molloy used to go nuts, or even when Dave Hughes used to lose it, there was some comedy value in seeing someone get all worked up. But Pickering? Yeah, nah. Though his head does seem to be gradually turning into a basketball, so that’s a reason to keep coming back.

At least they knew enough to get exciting new correspondent Judith Lucy on board early to let us know she was the show’s new “wellness warrior”, so we’re probably not going to be seeing a lot of Scott Morrison slams during her occasional segments. But hey, there’s booze jokes, references to having fat injected up her clacker, and wellness porn, which all seemed a whole lot fresher when it was followed by a segment titled “The Pedo Files” because that pun was past its use-by date 20 years ago. Mind you, ending a segment on sex offenders with “Moving on, Tom Gleeson is still to come” was definitely not what we expected.

And of course, Gleeson was back, making it two shows in a row in prime time on the National Broadcaster featuring Tom Gleeson, which really does feel like some kind of terrible mistake. Like Pickering, it’s not that he’s rubbish – though basing an entire comedy career on “hey, I’m really committed to acting like a prick” is the kind of thing that definitely edges you towards the rubbish bin after the first decade or so – as it is that he’s just very deeply average.

This is the fifth year of The Weekly, and if you’re the kind of person who gets annoyed when Get Krack!n keeps on making jokes about shitty men here’s a tip: every time the Kates complain about how crappy dudes have it easy, think of Charlie Pickering and Tom Gleeson. Pickering has a show with his name in the title: Gleeson is appearing in two shows back-to-back. And if you think either of them are so good at their jobs that they deserve that kind of free ride after five years of churning out the same utterly disposable pap, we hope you enjoy your position in the senior levels of ABC management.

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