Well, the Hell With This

Press release time! Wait, is it April Fools already?


ABC TV Entertainment has just begun pre production on the second series of the comedy quiz show that puts the funny filter on the iconic and best loved pop cultural gems of recent decades.

Comedian Merrick Watts will once again be in the host seat with regular team captains Dave O’Neil and Monty Dimond joining him for the eight part series.

Each week a different crop of Australia’s smartest comedians and entertainers will join the Tractor Monkeys regulars for thought and laugh provoking encounters about the twists and turns of being us!

Each themed episode will be a call back to when milk was delivered to the school yard, Summer holidays lasted forever, mix tapes were the new playlist and technological advances like playing pong blew our minds.

Head of ABC Entertainment Jennifer Collins says, “The first series scratched the surface of the moments that defined what it was to grow up in Australia. Merrick, Dave and Monty will put us back in touch with the music, the TV shows, those first celebrity crushes and the best and worst of our fashions.”

Tractor Monkeys will record in its Sydney studio, if you want to be part of the audience please go to: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/tractormonkeys/

The much-anticipated return of Spicks & Specks will kick off 2014.

Jennifer Collins said “It’s an exciting way to launch next year. Casting for the new team will begin later this year. We plan to welcome back some of your favourites as well as testing the musical knowledge of some new and surprising guests.”

Not so much reading between the lines as just plain reading the press release, we can gather the following:

A): They didn’t get their shit together in time to bring back Spicks & Specks for 2013;

B): This left a gaping hole in the schedule;

C): ????

D): Tractor Monkeys is back!

If there wasn’t a new ABC Head of Comedy already on his way – and gee, won’t he be stoked to see the present the departing regime have left him – this would be the kind of bullshit move that should lead directly to sacking whoever the hell is currently in charge.

Lest we forget, no-one liked Tractor Monkeys. Not even regular Australian TV critics, and they like everything. It wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t car crash television, it wasn’t insanely misguided – it wasn’t anything. Let alone anything even remotely resembling something worth a second of your time. And now it’s back!

Your ABC at work, Australia. Jesus grumpy stumbling Christ, it’s almost enough to make you vote for the coalition.

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  • Urinal Cake says:

    The decision makes sense (in a very public sector ‘hold stations’- ‘absolve blame’ kind of way). Tractor Monkeys is probably very cheap compared to Dirty Laundry Live and ratings while disappointing are not a complete disaster. Let the ‘new guy’ when he comes in later this year sort out the minefield of casting and format for ‘Spicks and Specks’ and take the fall for the inevitable disappointment.

  • BIlly C says:

    The chances of them getting “the smartest comedians and entertainers” to appear on the second season is probably quite small.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    I’d settle for ‘funny’.

  • Just saying says:

    The “new guy” wont have any say over these shows as they come out of the ABC’s Light Entertainment department not Comedy.

  • BIlly C says:

    I’d settle for bland but not unfunny but I doubt I’ll get it.
    I would actually prefer to watch Merrek and Rosso Unplanned.
    Dave O’Niel could do four episodes just with old stand-ups shows
    I’d happily watch.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    I stand corrected. The first part still remains correct. The second part now will read, ‘ Let the ‘new guy’ when he comes in later this year sort out the minefield of new programming off the back of the new ‘Spicks and Specks’ and take the fall for the inevitable disappointment.’

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    There isn’t a current “light entertainment” chief at the ABC as far as we can tell. The Drama and Comedy departments were merged to create Fiction (which has its own content head) in 2010 with a separate Arts & Entertainment department (again, with its own content head). Katrina Sedgwick was appointed as the Head of Arts in 2012, but the “entertainment” part seems to have dropped off her title: http://blogs.abc.net.au/abc_tv/2012/02/abc-tvs-new-head-of-arts-announced.html

    So if anyone can confirm whether the ABC’s panel shows now fall under Comedy / Fiction, or whether they’ve wandered off somewhere else, that’d be most helpful.

    *edit* Our bad, it seems Arts and Entertainment are also split. And pretty much everything that isn’t trad sketches or sitcoms (but is “comedy”) comes under their remit: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/independent/entertainment_about.htm

    We’d say greenlighting a second series of Tractor Monkeys is doubly embarrassing if you’re the person in charge of The Chaser and Mad as Hell.

    “Comedy and/or humour is often an essential element of entertainment programs.” Ya think?

  • Urinal Cake says:

    The ‘new guy’ has even less to do! So there really won’t be many changes for a while.

    I wonder if ‘he who shall not be named’ will end up as host for ‘Spicks and Specks’?

  • Jimbo says:

    Triply embarrassing will be the greenlighting of a second series of Please Like Me. Can’t wait for that announcement.

    A second series of Tractor Monkeys is, however, consistent with the ABC’s policy of pissing off its core demographic as much as possible, at every possible opportunity.

  • BIlly C says:

    After tractor monkey being commissioned again as second series of please like me would not surprise me at all. The ABC needs to start doing something it’s never done. Actually approaching talent they are interested in and asking them to pitch. Instead of just waiting for things to be thrown across their desks by production companies.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    PLM might be a decision for the ‘new guy’ unless JT is serious about his ‘tour de force’ being called a drama-comedy with an emphasis on the drama.

  • billy c says:

    Also you need to keep in mind that channel controllers need to approve the commission as well. Please Like Me was commissioned for ABC1 under the old system I think (with Film Vic development money) and then shunted over the ABC2. ABC2 didn’t decide to make it. They just got stuck with it.