The present series of The Agony of… ended this evening, but don’t expect an exciting new series to replace it next week. Oh no. Next week the ABC will be filling the Wednesday 9pm timeslot with a repeat of an old Agony episode. And the following week? It’s the start of an all new series of Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery.
We make two observations at this point: 1) So, the ABC couldn’t afford to produce just one more episode of what must be the cheapest show in the world to make? And 2) Looks like the ABC has decided that 9pm on Wednesdays is the “Slightly amusing” timeslot. FFS.
You know what we’re going to say now: we like actual comedy, you know, that increasingly old-fashioned style of laugh-getting that involves writers coming up with a funny script and talented character actors performing it. We don’t want to watch “sub-Q&A public affairs in talking heads form” or “moving interview with famous person”, especially when some of the talking heads or famous people involved could provide us with good solid laughs if given half a chance.
So, why aren’t they given half a chance? Did all those times the Murdoch press expressed OUTRAGE at The Chaser spook ABC management? And is that why we rarely see members of The Chaser in anything that isn’t an internet-era homage to The Investigators.
One theory that has crossed our mind is that the ABC’s “edgy” comedy ambitions (and they do exist) don’t align with the comedic tastes of their primary audience: the over 60’s. And with the policy seemingly being that all the budget should go to programs that will air in prime time, there’s no way the ABC can do what they used to – make “edgy” comedy programs for younger audiences which will air in late night timeslots, and keep the oldies satisfied with more mainstream fare during prime time. Hence show after show which won’t upset the Boomers, and a smattering of edgier shows for the younger folk (Mad As Hell, Dirty Laundry Live).
Don’t get us wrong, we’re more than happy to watch comedians giving funny opinions on things, or to see how the environment in which a famous person grew up influenced their later career, but can anyone claim that The Agony of… or Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery are doing either of those things well?
Hang on, “Mad as Hell” is for the younger folk? The show with no major cast members under 40? That one? Really?
For comedy nerds, sure. For people who like free-associative comedy legends, absolutely. But the younger folk?
Younger than 60 or so, sure.