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.
Warwick Capper recreating the opening titles to The Sullivans – that image is now burned into my retina forever.
In a rare dose of decent news, it seems the counter-intuitive sandwiching of Joy of Sets between a whole bunch of Charlie Sheen-related material has paid off ratings-wise: http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2011/09/2-3m-for-two-and-a-half-men.html
(Well, kinda: 1.1 million is great ratings, but it still means half the audience for the return of Two and a Half Men tuned out.)
The real question is, will Joy of Sets continue to rate around half that of its lead-in when the novelty of its lead-in has faded?
After being massively disappointed with “Good News World”, this was a welcome surprise. I’m starting to feel good about Australian comedy again.
I’ve always rather liked Ed Kavalee. He lacks the arrogance of many comics cropping up on commercial telly. Problem is, he has been involved with so much terrible, terrible content (*cough*TVBurp*cough*) up until now. He and Mr Martin make a fantastic pair of hosts. I’m hoping this will be the change he needs.
The set reminded me of the Micallef Programme, or David McGhan’s World Around Him. This can only be a good sign.
I’d expect a dip in ratings no matter what. I can’t think of a recent show launch where ratings went up for episode 2. It’s whether Nine hang in after episode 3 that we need to worry about.