In recent years we’ve seen an upsurge in the number of locally-made sitcoms. And thanks to the trend over the past decade or so for shooting on location and beefing up the drama quotient, there’s now almost no need to include anything in your sitcom which is capable of making a real life audience laugh.
Take Chris Lilley’s long-awaited series Angry Boys, which was praised for its realism, and complexity, and for the way it hit the target with niche audiences. Niche audiences were so fundamental to the show, apparently, that even the show’s social media producer was out there talking it up. That’s great and all, but aren’t we, the rusted-on audience for Australian comedy, a sort of a niche anyway? Where’s the targeting of us?
In comparison, Laid seemed to be trying to be an actual sitcom, as opposed to a cynical marketing exercise. And if you didn’t like the style of humour there was at least a plot to follow. If you didn’t like the plot you were kinda buggered, though.
As for At Home with Julia, it was an easy watch and it had some laughs, but by focusing on the home life of Julia Gillard and Tim Mathieson rather than the professional life of Julia Gillard it missed a lot of opportunities to serve up some comedic insights into our political system. Actually, on second thoughts, whenever the show did attempt a bit of satire it was so surface-level they needn’t have bothered. So perhaps they pitched it just right.
Like Chris Lilley’s past work Angry Boys looked impressive because it was a series of character studies on a scale not often attempted in Australian television. Problem is, none of the years of Lilley’s detailed research and improvisation, on and off camera, mattered a jot because the end product was boring, unfunny and went on for way too long – as free-falling audience ratings on at least two continents have now demonstrated.
THE RESULTS OF THE NEXT CATEGORY, WORST GAME OR PANEL SHOW, WILL BE ANNOUNCED AT 12:30PM EDT.