Blasts From The Past

Who the hell ordered a Full Frontal for the 2010’s? Foxtel apparently, reports TV Tonight

Foxtel’s upcoming local sketch comedy finally has a name, Open Slather.

The series, under the watch of Rick McKenna (Kath and Kim) and Laura Waters (Summer Heights High, It’s a Date) will premiere 7.30pm Sunday May 24th on the Comedy Channel.

The cast includes much-loved comedy performers Magda Szubanski, Gina Riley, Jane Turner, Michael Veitch, Glenn Robbins, Michael Veitch, Shane Jacobson, Marg Downey and Stephen Curry plus Ben Gerrard, Ben Lomas, Dave Eastgate, Demi Lardner, Emily Taheny, George H. Xanthis, Hannah Bath, Holly Austin, Ilai Swindells, Jay K Cagatay, Laura Hughes and Miles O’Neil.

Filmed in front of a studio audience the 20 episode series will be a no-holds barred send-up of Australian culture, identities, celebrities, and politicians. Filming is already underway.

Foxtel Director of Television Brian Walsh recently told TV Tonight, “It will combine some of the biggest names in Australian comedy with some of the new, emerging talent in a weekly one hour show. It will tap into topical subjects, great Australian characters, and I think it will be fresh, funny and we are sparing no expense in terms of investing in the production of the show.

“We’ve commissioned the show with the intent that it becomes a long-running marquee title for Foxtel.”

“Australians love a laugh and particularly to laugh at themselves, and in present times we could use all we can get. We have assembled a fantastic comedic team who will deliver plenty,” said Rick McKenna.

“The most important part of making a comedy show is that you’re having fun, and we are having a blast! It would be hard to find a better group of people in the country to laugh with, and so far, we are pissing ourselves,” said Laura Waters.

Don’t all race to get Foxtel at once, folks!

Seriously, this sounds desperate. Ensemble sketch shows featuring a mix of old and new talent get launched every other year and yet somehow they never quite fly. People might look back on Full Frontal with nostalgia because Shaun Micallef and Eric Bana started there, but if you were watching at the time all you remember is the sheer number of half-arsed TV parodies and restaurant sketches you had to sit through before a David McGahan’s World sketch would come on (trust us, it was a lot!).

At least with a large group of writer/performers on board there’ll be a lot of material generated, but the promo image for Open Slather from that TV Tonight article doesn’t fill us with hope that it’ll be any good, or much different from week to week. Is that Marg Downey and Magda Szbanski as elderly tennis players with Martina Navratilova? Gee, we wonder if those two elderly ladies are regular characters, and if each week they annoy a different tennis identity.

As much as we respect the work history of many of the experienced members of the cast, and are interested to see what the newbies have to offer, 20 weeks of Open Slather seems somewhat excessive. It also seems a weird come-down for Jane Turner and Gina Reilly after Kath & Kim. Or maybe this is their new Big Girls Blouse and they’re hoping to workshop a few characters for a new sitcom? At least it (probably) won’t be the usual ego-driven improv we’ve come to expect from a Laura Waters project. As it’s Easter, we’ll be grateful for that small mercy.

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  • Andrew says:

    I don’t have Foxtel but maybe let’s just be grateful that someone other than the ABC is making an effort at producing Australian comedy.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    True. It’d be nice if they were making it with someone else aside from the cast of 1991-era Fast Forward though.