Vale Sando: Let’s go, Sando!

Well, episode 6 wrapped everything up nicely. Which means we need never watch Sando again. Let the nation rejoice!


Sure, it could come back (the resentful daughter’s taken over part of the business with her ex-fiance and current husband as lackeys and plans to take over from Sando one day, and the idiot son’s in a psych ward and wants revenge on his family, and Sando’s back with the ex- but that could soon be destroyed when the daughter’s ex-best friend/counsellor publishes her tell-all book – there’s enough for a second series in that) but this is unlikely. Let’s remind ourselves of those ratings again:

Week 1
427,000 5 City Metro / 517,000 Timeshifted (Source: TV Tonight, Mediaweek and TV Tonight)

Week 2
351,000 5 City Metro / 378,000 Timeshifted (Sources: TV Tonight, Mediaweek and TV Tonight)

Week 3
283,000 5 City Metro (Source: Mediaweek)

Week 4
254,000 5 City Metro (Source: TV Tonight)

Week 5
246,000 5 City Metro (Source: TV Tonight)

TV Tonight even described Sando as “struggling” last week. Ouch.

So, the writing is on the wall: no one likes watching Sando, Sando is over.

It’s hard to imagine anyone missing it. If there’s one thing the ABC has failed to get right over the last decade or more, it’s making shows about “regular” Australians that don’t feel sneering or condescending. Presumably this is intentional: regular Australians supposedly don’t watch the ABC, so they’re a safe target for mockery. After all, you don’t see the ABC making fun of old age pensioners and they’re hilarious.

But rather than accurately skewering the foibles of average dickheads, time and again the ABC serves up series seemingly made by people whose last trip out of the inner city was in a taxi on the way to the airport for a flight to Europe. Was there any part of Sando that seemed remotely based on fact? Was there any point where they made fun of something observed from real life? When did the last larger-than-life furniture mogul die out in the wild? 2002? Why didn’t they make a hilarious comedy series parodying Cliff Young while they were at it?

That’s all big-picture stuff, but this couldn’t even get the basics right. In case you haven’t been reading our week-by-week analysis of Sando, here’s a few more specific reasons why Australians tuned out of the show in ever-increasing numbers:

  1. The entire series had six funny bits in it: that joke about anti-vaccers in episode 1 and the lists of fake suburbs in episodes 1-5. And if you’re advertising a show as a comedy and there’s an average of one joke per show, then people are going to feel ripped-off.
  2. The characters were sitcom stereotypes from another era of comedy – idiot adult son, smart-arse kid, the horny couple who’ll shag anywhere – an era of comedy that makes no one laugh in 2018.
  3. The writing was in no way clever enough or funny enough to make the attempts at high-concept humour (Gary’s need to skinny dip in times of stress, the resentful daughter’s goblin ears) work. These plots just seemed ridiculous and embarrassing, and so, so desperate.
  4. People will give a new show a go, but if it sucks they’ll tune out. Take a look at those ratings above, that’s about 250,000 people who gave Sando a try and gave up. And another 250,000 who were probably just waiting for Insert Name Here to come on.

All of which begs the question: does no one at the ABC take a look at the shows that it’s making at the final scripting stage, or even the editing stage, and make a decision about whether it’s good enough to air? And if not, why not? Does no one care about quality anymore?

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