Hey, the cast are in the opening credits now! Micallef doesn’t have the beard he was sporting in all the promos! There’s the Micallef Tonight sign! And a bunch of political observations that are actually funny! Yes, Mad as Hell is back and it continues to be good. Oh sure, there are always quibbles to be made – the ten minutes on border protection was more clever than laugh-out-loud, though as always there were a bunch of good lines and concepts in there – but if you make a show with the line “featuring a who’s that of Australian talent”, you’re always going to get the thumbs up from us.
It does, of course, raise the question of why there isn’t more Mad as Hell, especially as Micallef isn’t also doing Mr & Mrs Murder this year. Maybe there’ll be a load more episodes this season; maybe there’ll be a second season later in the year. It’s still not enough. There’s an argument that too many episodes might dilute the quality, but we’re clearly looking at a well-honed comedy machine by series three and considering the strength of this first episode it certainly doesn’t feel like they couldn’t handle a few extra weeks of work.
Because seriously: Mad As Hell is the kind of show Australia should have on the air pretty much all year round. Well, if we still cling to that idea that political satire is A Good Thing. It’d be nice to see other people trying their hand at political comedy at the moment, but considering the number of folk trying to tell us The Roast isn’t crap with a straight face – tests have shown telling lame jokes while wearing a suit does not instantly turn said lame jokes into “satire” – we’re not entirely sure everyone out there can tell the difference between decent political comedy with something to say and a one joke idea that goes nowhere much past “oooh, Abbott’s not much chop, is he?”
We’re not saying Mad as Hell is genius-level brilliance that will outlast Western Civilisation itself or anything; we are saying that, as a show able to make fun of Australian society without dumbing it all down to “Abbott wears speedos” levels, it should be on our screens as often as possible. Especially as its rivals are a bit thin on the ground at the moment: The Chaser increasingly do their best work in other areas, Gruen is a show based entirely around the profit motive and Wednesday Night Fever was shit.
In short: Mad as Hell is smart, funny, and makes jokes about Million Dollar Hot Seat. Good luck finding that anywhere else on Australian television.