Back in the dark ages of 2008, when we were just an annual awards ceremony that only some of The Chaser had heard of, Swift & Shift Couriers had recently finished its first, disappointing series. Facing stiff competition from Rebel Wilson’s pre-Bridesmaids s(h)itcom Bogan Pride, Swift & Shift… series 1 was relegated to second place in the popular vote for the 2008 Australian Tumbleweeds Worst Sitcom award. Here’s how we summed-up the series:
Swift & Shift Couriers…was simply a retread of the sort of humour which had been more than covered by five series of Pizza; it was even set in a company which delivered things. With its cast of stereotypes and reliance on broad politically incorrect humour, it was very much an Acropolis Now for the noughties – and who asked for that?
Where it did differ from Pizza was that well known faces didn’t just turn up in cameos – they were the principle cast. The rest were a rag-tag bunch who were mostly there because they looked the part. If the skill of these lay comedy performers was a physical object, you’d need a microscope looking through the scope of another microscope to see it.
So what, five episodes in to its second series, has Swift & Shift Couriers presented us with? You’d like to think the show would have learnt some lessons from series one and matured in its approach, perhaps by introducing some performers who could act, or even some gags that weren’t variations on important, fragile objects being smashed to bits or blokes copping it hard in the nuts (two gags, you’ll note, which aren’t really that different).
Well, it turns out absolutely nothing has changed about the series at all; quelle surprise. Which is great news if you like your TV comedy broad, bawdy and chock full of slapstick and don’t have a DVD of Carry On Up the Khyber to hand, but bad news if you were hoping for, well, something worth watching.
As we’ve blogged previously, Swift & Shift Couriers almost didn’t make it to air after someone at SBS demanded it stay on the shelf. It’s not hard to see why. This is a show which makes the aforementioned Carry On films look intelligent and well-made – if only because the likes of Sid James and Kenneth Williams knew how to add value to a shit gag, instead of just trying to get laughs by yelling and flapping their arms about.
Somewhere within the script of your average episode of Swift and Shift Couriers are a couple of decent gags and a sort of a plot, but it’s lost amidst the shouting, the wooden performances and the set-pieces you can see coming a mile off. If you’re rollocking drunk or stoned off your nut, and looking for something undemanding to watch late at night with your friends Swift & Shift Couriers will probably do the job, but if you’re even remotely sober you’ll just wonder why the hell SBS spent money on this shit. And then gave Paul Fenech another series, the much hyped Housos, which features much of the Swift & Shift… cast and starts on 24 October.