Ah, yes, the Logies…Australian television’s night of nights, where the show itself is often as good as the programmes it’s awarding. But despite that, there’s always one good reason to tune in: when you bring together a large number of this country’s most high profile ego manics and show-offs, and allow them to get as pissed as they like, there’s a strong probability that at least one of them will make an idiot of themselves. On live television.
Admittedly, this doesn’t happen that often, especially these days. The Logies, when you think about it, is actually one of Australia’s most boring and depressing annual spectacles. Mediocre programmes and personalities receive kudos they don’t deserve, and most of the people in the room are so worried about how well they’ll come across when the camera switches to them, that they don’t let their hair down until well after the telecast is over. Add in to that mix some pretty awful choices of host in recent time, and what was once a reliably entertaining evening of local showbiz glitz and glamour, has been reduced to hour after tortuous hour of dull, over-reverent, back-slapping. No wonder most people switched over to Masterchef this year.
Some would argue, probably correctly, that the Logies has always been like this, and that the idea that there were once “golden years” has come about purely because of endless repeats of all those “classic Logies moments”. If truth be told, those raucous Bert-hosted ceremonies of the 70’s probably weren’t the non-stop cack-fests we’ve been led to believe they were – even if they did feature a lot more drunken acceptance speeches, stoned American guests, near-libellous bitching and punch-ups – but they sure looked more entertaining than Sunday’s Logies.
Still, with Bert providing quite a few of the best Logies laughs in recent years, you can see why they wanted him to host again. Famed for his off-the-cuff one-liners, he looked like the perfect person to have on hand if someone got something wrong…except, that the someone getting things wrong this year was Bert himself. He forgot to mention Brian Naylor’s wife, he said that k.d. lang had sung at the Montreal Olympics rather than the Calgary Olympics – these weren’t errors on the scale of “I like the boy”, but time did need to be wasted correcting them. And unlike Bert’s furious, sweaty-faced, hilarious back-peddling after “I like the boy”, when there was a strong possibility that the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the world would put a dent in his Moonface, neither the late Mrs Naylor nor the citizens of Calgary posed much of a threat to Bert on Sunday night, and the whole thing just made you wonder if perhaps he was a bit old to be doing this these days.
When Bert was on form – or on stage – there were just about enough moments to keep the average viewer interested, but this wasn’t a particularly innovative or exciting Logies, just the usual awards ceremony cliches trotted out again and again. It was all chemistry-free duos reading poor scripts woodenly and musical acts you wished you could fast forward through, with neither the “roast” atmosphere of the 70s or the surprises of the Denton and Micallef years to take the edge off it – even The Chaser couldn’t be arsed to do a prank.
The best entertainment to be had this Logies was if you followed the ceremony on Twitter. Whether it was reading snark from other viewers or downright bitchiness from the attendees (how did Jonathan Holmes’ tweet describing P.J. Lane’s tribute to his father as “Don Lame” fail to whip the Murdoch press into a frenzy of OUTRAGE?), it made the show worth bothering with. Even the fact that Australian TV’s finest had to tweet under the table to avoid getting kicked out made the whole thing excitingly rebellious.
So next year, expect some bright spark at Channel 9 to try and bring whatever the hell Daryl Somers thinks he’s doing on Twitter, into the Logies. Or for the whole thing to become a cooking competition. Masterchef did out-rate it, and Matt Preston is the next Graham Kennedy, after all.