Wrap It Up To Go

To answer all your pressing questions:

1): Yes, we noticed Twentysomething finished up last week. We enjoyed the series as a whole, but the ending was a little meh – presumably to leave the door open for a third series, especially considering how much effort they had to put into hitting the reset button after they wrapped things up a little too tightly at the end of s1. And if they are going to do a third series they might want to get cracking: Jess’ monstrous self-absorption works just fine for a twentysomething, but we’re starting to get to the stage where she just can’t keep flitting from scenario to scenario. Then again, if they did lock her down into one setting then we’d have a regular sitcom and we know how much Australian television hates those.

2): Yes, we noticed Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year Asia has moved timeslots, but as this is clearly more to do with cramming in yet more utterly pointless reality shows in prime time than it is to do with their ratings (which remain strong), we’re not exactly panicking just yet. On the other hand, the fact that Housos on SBS is rating better than The Americans on Ten is clearly some kind of sign that the end of the world is a-borning.

3: Yes, we did get the following press release:




Now that Australia has a Federal Election date, ABC TV can today finally confirm the new broadcast details for the return of its smash-hit TV franchises, GRUEN and HAMSTER.


Gruen Nation four extra-length, extra-strength, election-oriented specials – will premiere Wednesday, August 14, at 8:30pm on ABC1. Host Wil Anderson will be joined by regulars Todd Sampson and Russel Howcroft, Nation legends Dr John Hewson and Annabel Crabb, and surprise guests too important to mention in this press releaseA spokesperson for the Gruen team conceded their disappointment that Kevin Rudd has now scheduled the election on International Vulture Awareness Day, but looked forward to a campaign fought on three word slogans, such as “It’s my round!”, “Spit that out!” and “Darling, I’m pregnant!”


Gruen Nation will then be followed by season three of Gruen Planet – eight episodes of the show that loves spin and marketing like Tony Abbott loves a red tie.


Then prepare yourselves as The Chaser return to our screens to give their version of the 2013 Federal Election campaign trail with their five part series The Hamster Decidespremiering Wednesday, August 14 at 9:15pm on ABC1. The series is described by Chaser member Chris Taylor as “an exciting new iview program, which can also be watched on older content platforms, such as ABC1 television or on LaserDisc”.  It promises to concentrate its analysis on the 2013 contest, an election which The Chaser’s previous election shows virtually all but ignored.  The Hamster Decides will also be written, performed, directed and produced entirely by Kevin Rudd, as part of his plan to micro-manage every aspect of this election.


Gruen Nation (4×45’) premieres Wednesday, August 14 at 8:30pm on ABC1

followed by Gruen Planet (8×35’)

The Hamster Decides (5×30’) premieres Wednesday, August 14 at 9:15pm on ABC1


** Please note – the last episode of Wednesday Night Fever will move to 9:45pm on Wednesday August 14.

Which has us wondering: what kind of political stance will these guys take with election 2013? Not so much the Gruen team – they’ll obviously be swooning over commercials based entirely on hate and greed because they speak directly to the very core of their being – but The Chaser team seems to have been slowly and ever-so-slightly moving away from the early Howard-era “ehh, they’re all as bad as each other so who cares?” approach to politics that was a trademark of their earlier work.

While it’s understandable that you don’t want to tip over too far too often towards one side on the ABC, it’s slightly less understandable when the result is a program that, for example, makes Julie Bishop seem like a lovable knockabout funster instead of a frontline member of one of the more dubious political teams around. And as for Kevin Rudd, has anyone gone back to rewatch those (yeah, non-Chaser, but we’re making a point here) Rudd sketches shown on Rove? We’re guessing all those “what a wacky prankster” jokes just don’t hold up like they used to back when he wasn’t a remorseless vengeance machine.

Our strongly held view is that the second you let a politician in on the joke on any level you’re letting them off the hook. And The Chaser, in previous years at least, was just a little too keen to bring politicians on board for sketches and pranks. In a year where the political campaign is basically one insanely power-hungry monster versus his identical twin in a batter to pander to our basest instincts, anything less than kicking both sides around the floor non-stop for the duration of each and every episode would be nothing less than a complete betrayal of the viewing public.

And we’ve already got Gruen for that.

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  • Urinal Cake says:

    1) twentysomething- I don’t know. On one hand I like that there’s no ‘big message’, it’s not really ‘cringe comedy’ and it’s not a dramaedy but while I found it amusing there was no real lol moments. The series would’ve been much better if Jess trying to get back Billy (getting more crasier and desperate) was a subplot throughout the whole series rather than concluded in one episode. About Jess ‘flitting’ is that people do that and it’s because they have ‘enablers’. And Jess has a few. The only way that would change if something happened between her and Josh/Billy. Anyway I think the youtube reel is a possible segue into the main arc for a series 3.
    2) But did it rate more than PLM?
    3) Don’t care. Bring back Shaun.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    It’s really very annoying that there’s no Micallef election coverage. Then again, the ABC clearly has a hierarchy for such things and until either Gruen or The Chaser give up Micallef is going to be stuck doing the off-season stuff.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    Well he probably wouldn’t rate as well as Chaser or Gruen would. The people of Australia have no taste.

  • Richard Features says:

    I keep hearing this idea that full-strength Micallef is simply too alienating for a wide audience. Is that really true? If it is, do you think foreign audiences would take to his work like Chris Lilley or Josh Thomas?

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    It’s hard to know. He started out on Full Frontal as an island of quality in an ocean of average, which was probably the best introduction he could have had. It probably boils down to people like Lilley (and perhaps Thomas – he could still tank overseas) being the kind of comedy you can have on in the background and still get the “joke”, whereas Micallef you really have to sit and watch. These days that stuff never seems to be quite as popular unless it’s a HBO-style drama.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    I don’t think he’s tried to ‘make it’ overseas as Lilley, Thomas, Hills etc have so he hasn’t made the same ‘concessions’. I guess TAYG was a sort of anomaly since as the ‘stooge’ he got all the best bits so while people initially tuned in to see the celebrities more people got tuned into Micallef.

    I think Micallef is a bit too surreal to become widely popular. I don’t think he could’ve become Australia’s ‘Jon Stewart’ but he could be a bit like Izzard done his own work but probably be known more as an actor.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    I meant ‘comic’ not stooge.

  • BIlly C says:

    You are assuming that he wants to cover the election. Let’s not kid ourselves that the ABC has some sort of grand plan where they go develop projects and talk directly to talent on a regular basis. Production companies pitch things, they say yes or no. We have no idea if has the slightest interest of waiting around to see when the election is called and then rushing into production. Remember he came off two shows earlier this year. The guy no doubt needs a break.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    We’re fairly sure Micallef said something somewhere (how’s that for research?) about wanting to do two series 10-episode series of Mad as Hell in 2013 – one at the start of the year and one around election time. When that didn’t happen they gave him a few extra episodes of MaH to tide him over. After all, there were two series of Newstopia in one year, and Mr & Mrs Murder was largely filmed in 2012.