A load of balls

New Australian comedy was back on the box this week, with the debut of Santo, Sam and Ed’s Sports Fever! and the return of a few shows including Balls of Steel Australia and Clarke & Dawe.

Balls of Steel Australia was recently nominated for three of our “prestigious” Tumblies for its first series, but bravely fought off strong competition from Good News World and Live From Planet Earth. Its return earlier this week saw it serve up much more of the same low-brow prank-based “hilarity”.

British import Olivia Lee’s sketch saw her auditioning young men for a new reality show which would see them all living together in a house. A gay house. Cue a succession of uncomfortable straight guys being put in to pink singlets, and asked to gay it up with a male sex doll with an erect penis and a real life gay man. Next up was ageing game show legend “Baby” John Burgess, with a new quiz show in which the contestants found themselves answering questions in ways which demeaned them. Then there were two guys setting fire to toilet paper shoved up their arses, and the return of the hot chick stripping off in various shops concept…except this time it was nude twins.

The show’s presumed target audience of teenage males no doubt lapped it up, although in a slight surprise they voted the gay reality show prank as ballsier than the nude twins. It seems a hatred and fear of homosexuality is a more powerful force in a young man’s life than even two hot nude women. Actually that’s not much of a surprise at all, more hugely depressing.

In better news for humanity’s progress away from the primordial soup, anyone who saw this article in the Murdoch press on Tuesday, about how ACMA were investigating a Clarke & Dawe sketch from October which supposedly vilified Christians, needn’t worry. It’s all fine, and here’s a lovely Word document which explains why.

The complaint was made by Perth schoolteacher and BA in Theology Simon Smith, who told News.com.au:

You can clearly see that they are vilifying Christians as insensitive, callous and uncaring with clear inferences to the Opposition front bench and Tony Abbott, many [sic] who are Catholics.

I just sat there for a minute and I thought, they’ve really overstepped the mark.

I am a Christian and I classify myself as a cautious conservative.

ACMA ruled that the sketch, which in part explored the contradiction of Christian members of Parliament voting in favour of mandatory detention of asylum seekers, when the key tenants of their faith should see them voting against it, did not breach code 7.7 of the ABC Code of Practice 2011:

7.7 – Avoid the unjustified use of stereotypes or discriminatory content that could reasonably be interpreted as condoning or encouraging prejudice.

ACMA stated in their ruling that they did

not consider that the comments could reasonably be interpreted as condoning or encouraging prejudice against Christians. In this regard, the comments did not serve to urged [sic] or inflame viewers to form an unfavourable opinion or feeling towards Christians.

Thursday’s Clarke & Dawe sketch saw the pair explore the world of tabloid newspapers, non-stories and pointless audience engagement. It, more than the Parliament sketch, could be said to fall foul of code 7.7…probably, but that’s hardly the point. The weekly brilliance of Clarke & Dawe is that they find the right target and give it a going-over it won’t forget. Some irony and intelligence is required from the viewer, but at least most people, and ACMA, get the joke.

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