So we finally got around to checking out SBS’s “new” “news” “comedy” show The Feed, and we have one question: what the hell happened to Marc Fennell’s hair? The once curly-haired youth seems to have filled a toilet bowel with straightener and given himself an atomic swirly going by the flat, glossy, unsettling, frozen sculpture now atop his head. Guess even on SBS “curly hair” and “serious news anchor” don’t mix. Just ask Charlie Pickering.
As for the rest of the show… well, Fennell was on Hungry Beast so we probably shouldn’t be surprised that the whole damn thing is just another, slightly shorter in time but equally lengthy in feel, take on that show’s format. Smart arse interviews! Bet-you-didn’t-know-this takes on topics everyone is already fully up to speed on (seriously kids: smoking is bad for you)! Crap off the internet! Quotes from random people talking crap on the internet! Computer graphics!
Presumably if you care more about “content” than what that content actually is then this kind of show – which is, let us be perfectly clear, nothing more or less than a televised version of one of those light entertainment / slightly newsy websites that run the gamut from The Atlantic to Vice – is THE FUTURE OF TELEVISION: a bunch of crap they can source from elsewhere with a layer of snark sprayed over it to differentiate it from, well, the place they sourced it from in the first place. Which is why we care, because for “snark” read “comedy”.
So is it funny? No. It gives off the illusion of comedy – much like it gives off the illusion of everything else, which is why all the quotation marks – but at best all you’re getting here is snark. Comedy contains snark, of course (you’ve got to have an opinion on something before you can make fun of it), but real comedy requires either people who are effortlessly funny – good luck finding one of those on Australian television – or people willing and able to put in the work to come up with funny material.
As a nightly show with a skeleton staff, The Feed almost certainly doesn’t have the resources to generate actual comedy. At least, that’s what we hope: it’d be pretty depressing to think what we’re seeing is the result of people actively trying for laugh-out-loud material. It’s just “yoof news”, that strangely persistent yet never actually successful idea that all the young people really want out of life is to watch news treated like a joke.
As for these shows actually coming up with a joke? Now, that’d be news.