Hey, did you see this week’s episode of The Weekly? We’re loving that big shake-up where they ditched the opening credits and now Charlie Pickering stands around at the start – the show somehow seems more energetic and vital now, right? And is the lighting just that little bit different too? It makes the whole show seem more edgy, almost dangerous, as if no subject is off the table and no opinion is too controversial.
And then Charlie Pickering opens his mouth and it’s just the same old crap. “If God didn’t want us to be fat, he wouldn’t have invented the cronut”. Seriously, that’s your first gag of the show? We almost turned off then and there – which would have been a mistake, because then we would have missed out on the biggest TV mystery since “who killed Laura Palmer”: Where’s Briggs?
It’s always impressive when The Weekly finds a new way to be garbage, and this year’s innovation – changing up the supporting presenters – might not have automatically been a shit move if it had led to getting rid of Tom Gleeson 75% of the time. But no: in four episodes all four have featured Gleeson (presumably because he’s the only one with even the slightest chemistry with Pickering), three have featured Kitty Flanagan, AKA easily the best thing about the show and the only person who should be there every week, one featured some “armchair expert” who we zoned out on because sports, and one – one – has featured Briggs.
So maybe he’s been sick, or has family issues, or touring commitments, or some other perfectly reasonable excuse? And yet Briggs was announced late last year as being a new regular no-joke permanent cast member; seems “regular” means “vanished after episode one”. And slightly more damning, Pickering ended last week’s promotion of this week’s episode by shouting “and Briggs is back”. Guess he didn’t specify where – maybe Briggs was back in the studio recording a new album because he sure as fuck wasn’t back on The Weekly.
(Snark aside, shouting “Briggs is back!” suggests you both know where he’s been and that what kept him from the show is over: a no-show after that has got to raise at least one eyebrow, even for a show as increasingly erratic as The Weekly)
So, to recap:
*The Weekly announced that Briggs would be a regular on the show in 2017.
*The Weekly made a big deal of having him on board in their first episode, making him the punchline of their opening skit.
*The Weekly had Briggs on in episode one, where he and Pickering got along like a house on fire – by which it we mean it felt like they’d rather be trapped in a burning house than be sitting across from one another.
*The Weekly announced that after a two week absence – in which the other two series regulars appeared in both episodes – that “Briggs is back” in episode four.
*Briggs was nowhere to be seen in episode four.
Anyone know anything more?
Please understand, this is all off the record.
It is a desperately guarded secret that something truly unholy lurks at the heart of the ABC. A cold, empty void with an insatiable hunger. And for once I don’t mean Marieke Hardy.
After years of funding cuts threatened to cripple the broadcaster, it was decided by a secret cabal of ABC stalwarts and warlocks (I know Barry Cassidy was there) that a new source of energy was required to keep them on the air. And so, sacrificing both Bananas in Pajamas over a Foreign Corespondent pentagram, they opened a portal to another dimension, using its power to keep their several networks and digital platforms afloat.
And for a time, it worked.
But the void could not be controlled. Could not be contained. Sometimes, in fact, it was unpredictable and cruel.
For every Kath & Kim or Mad as Hell it gave life, it also vomited up godless horrors. You think Cthulhu or the demon dog Cerberus are terrifying? Try walking in to the Insiders set to find Gerard Henderson’s goblin ass a permanent fixture! Try explaining why Randling – a show designed around being stuck at an endless party night with tedious, self-righteous snobs you want to run over in your car – was a thing! Explain six years of The Glass House! Just fucking try!
Other times, the void stole away all that was good. The disappearance of the Wednesday Australian comedy night. Briggs. The ‘comedy’ half of Please Like Me. All snatched out of time, as though they never were.
There is talk of trying to close the void again. To hurl Annabel Crabb into its swirling maw while the QandA crowd tweet #annoyedatvoid, but plans like that are just pipe dreams.
It owns us now. It will endure. As sure as ten more years of goddamn Gruen.
Awe I like Annabel Crabb. She’s so quirky!
I feel like “offering a sincere apology to Joe Hildebrand” is a new rock bottom for this show, so it’s understandable Briggs has done a runner.
Having caught most of last two episodes by accident, the apology to Joe Hildebrand was just odd. I kept thinking this would be a joke using a callback to the previous week, but no, it appears to have been a straight apology.
I can only put it down to the media circles in Australia being so small that the Weekly feels it can’t make fun of anyone just in case, which also explains why so much of the jokes fail to have any impact.
It also undermines the homeless segment that was in the previous episode – which was the strongest segment they’ve had in the (admittedly small number of) shows I’ve seen of the recent season.