The Joy of Sets was always going to be much anticipated by anyone interested in Australian comedy, and in its debut last night it did not disappoint. A lot of comedies these days seem to spend minutes surviving on one single idea or gag, in Joy of Sets the churn of ideas – and laughs – was constant.
This was both refreshing and a slight problem. If we have one criticism of The Joy of Sets it’s that the pace was a little too fast and the editing a little too quick. There were lots of gags being done and points being made, and to absorb and appreciate all of them we could have done with more time. If the show had been for the ABC or in a hour-long slot there would have been that time to breathe, but this was a Channel 9 half hour and 22 minutes was all they had.
On a positive note it was good to see that this fairly ABC-style show wasn’t obviously “Channel 9”. This raises concerns about the likelihood of such a cerebral program surviving on a network so dependent on the wit of Charlie Sheen, but then, who can fail to laugh at Tony Martin dressed as Esmee from A Country Practice?
Helpfully for its survival, perhaps, is that Joy of Sets is no Live From Planet Earth with its woeful sketches and Twitter backlash, and no Between the Lines with Eddie McGuire and friends serving up the most tedious sports panel show since that thing Peter Helliar did on the ABC last summer (are we alone in wondering if they were the same program?). So, with a bit of luck The Joy of Sets should stay on air. It would be a shame if it didn’t; this is the funniest and smartest commercial TV comedy in this country for years, and there’s a lot more to said – and laughed at – when it comes to TV than opening titles sequences.