It’s been a while since we checked in on The Weekly, which probably makes us a regular cast member because hey look, Briggs is back! For only the second time this year. Remember when they announced he was going to be a regular cast member and then he promptly vanished from the line-up? Good times.
Good to see the warm, hilarious banter between Briggs and Charlie “I have a black friend, honest” Pickering is still there though: “The last time you were here you went for a ride with Bill Shorten on a bicycle built for… I want to say one-and-a-half”. No Charlie, what you want to say is the last time Briggs was here was back in episode one and we’re now up to episode 14: he’s appeared on the show less times than the Channel Nine logo in the corner of all that footage you’re constantly lifting from the commercial networks, and yet he’s still in the opening credits each week. Why?
Then again, maybe it’s just that nobody wants to sit near Pickering: Kitty Flanagan was nowhere to be seen this episode either – and it wasn’t like they didn’t have room, as Mel Buttle was on basically doing Kitty’s segment – while the only other regular cast member Tom Gleeson… well, of course he was there front and center:
That’s the face of a man just happy to be anywhere.
Otherwise… well, what else is there to say about a show that even the ABC’s own iView page doesn’t know whether to list under news, comedy, or a complete waste of time? It’s still 25% news clips from other shows, a forgettable interview segment, a forgettable interview segment hosted by Charlie Pickering, an OTT comedy rant delivered by Flanagan 80% of the time and a general sense of being made by people with one eye on the clock. It is what it is.
This idea of having Briggs do the “hard hitting” political interviews (this episode: Adam Bandt) is a bit strange though. It’s not like Pickering couldn’t do them and it’s not like Briggs is a great interviewer – or even a regular on the show – so why bring him in just for them? If they can only get him on as an occasional guest but they want to make his appearances seem special, why get him to do the one thing everyone else on the show is already doing every week?
Having Briggs do the political interviews on a show where the two main regulars are already doing interviews really just underlines how shithouse the two main regulars are. They’re both interviewers on what is just a soft news program, but you can’t get Gleeson to interview politicians because he’s a sarcastic shit, and you can’t get Pickering to interview politicians because… why again?
The only reason we can think of that makes sense from the show’s point of view – he’s the host; even just for promotional reasons you’d want him to be the one doing the high profile, big-deal chats – is that they don’t want Pickering sucking up to politicians so he can remain unbiased when it comes time for him to do his trademark hard-hitting political commentary and close-to-the-edge satire.
And if that’s the case, it’s funnier than anything The Weekly has put to air in a very long time.