In a recent episode of podcast The Little Dum Dum Club featuring Open Slather cast member Demi Lardner, the Foxtel sketch series was described as being on break. We’re pretty sure that was a joke, but no one laughed. Presumably in the Australian comedy industry you need to be an optimist to get by.
The final episode of Open Slather aired quietly a few weeks ago, and despite the many twists and turns in its production history it ended how it started out: crap. It may have had a cast of much-loved veterans and promising newcomers, an experienced production team and a commercial TV budget, but the series never quite jelled.
Was it that slightly grainy, vaguely film-stock look they applied to the vision? (You know, the one that’s been ruining TV sketch shows since the early noughties.)
Was it the characters written to be a hit that didn’t quite work so they still persisted with them right ‘til the end anyway? (Hello that gay fitness guru who calls everyone “fatties”!).
Was it the sketches about contemporary life and online culture that felt like off-cuts from This Is Littleton?
Was it the by-numbers parodies of TV shows that possibly air on either Fox 8 or Arena (and frankly, who can tell the difference)?
Put it this way, we got more laughs out of Gina Reilly’s guest role on Please Like Me than we did her appearance in Open Slather. And Please Like Me’s co-written by Josh Thomas!
The only thing that could have saved Open Slather would have been an original vision. Something that wasn’t a few concepts from 1989 rehashed and reheated for 2015. The sketch shows that have had an impact in recent years, such Inside Amy Schumer and Australia’s own Mad As Hell, have all felt like personal, original visions of their creators and stars. Open Slather? It felt manufactured, old-fashioned and pretty much everything else that’s the opposite of what good sketch comedy should be.