The funniest thing about The Weekly this year was the way that during the coup that deposed Malcolm Turnbull pretty much everyone said “gee, wouldn’t it be great if Mad as Hell was on now to make fun of all this?” Because what was The Weekly‘s big satirical contribution to that whole debacle? Oh, that’s right – a segment where Tom Gleeson challenged Charlie Pickering for the leadership of The Weekly. No wonder Kitty Flanagan quit.
Speaking of The Weekly losing the only cast member still actually contributing anything funny to this particular sack of crap, it’s a sign of just how little much of the Australian media thinks of The Weekly that many of the reports covering her departure assumed she just showed up on the day and said “fuck all y’all, I’m out”.
Last night’s episode of The Weekly was the last one for the year, and also the last one with Flanagan on staff. The comedian broke the news of her resignation on-air, telling host Charlie Pickering that she’s had enough.
TV Tonight was a little better:
She announced the news last night on the show with a comedic “In Memoriam” song parody.
And TV Week also went with “announced”, which was probably more accurate than “co-host”
During the season finale of The Weekly With Charlie Pickering, comedian and co-host of the show Kitty Flanagan announced she was leaving after four seasons.
And hey, maybe she did just announce it to the cast and crew on the night. It’s not like Briggs ever came out publicly and said “don’t be fooled by the opening credits, I’m barely on this show”.
Obviously losing Flanagan is a big blow to The Weekly, in that she was pretty much the only thing preventing it from being Charlie and Tom’s Smug Bunker. But there has to come a time in every Weekly cast member’s life when they look around and realise that if the ABC hasn’t given them their own spin-off by now, it’s never going to happen.
(hey everybody, Hard Quiz is back this week! It’s almost as if the ABC is scared that if they go a week without Tom Gleeson everyone will realise just how utterly pointless he is)
So Flanagan is gone, Briggs is a special guest interviewer, and the show is basically now three segments from Pickering and two from Gleeson – Hard Chat now being so rusted on that Gleeson often gets an extra spot for his fake tourism shit or whatever – so it’ll be interesting to see if they even bother replacing either with anyone full-time. Has there ever been a long-running show anywhere that’s worked so hard to remove all the elements that were fresh and original while steadfastly maintaining the tired old shit?
So it’s time for some Hard Facts: after four years and 7000 episodes, it’s painfully clear to pretty much everyone outside of ABC management that The Weekly is a failure. Sure, it rates well; that’s because it’s given a prime time slot on the ABC’s best night and the hosts are promoted ceaselessly by the ABC publicity department. In contrast, is Sammy J’s Playground Politics even still on? Where did Lawrence Mooney go?
Yes, we hang shit on Tom Gleeson a lot. But is there any other ABC “personality” who has one show finish then another start the next week? And this year the ABC went from Hard Quiz to The Weekly and now back to Hard Quiz – Gleeson has been on the ABC every week this year since February 21st. Remember, this isn’t someone likable, let alone popular; it’s Tom Gleeson, comedy smug fuck.
As for Pickering, he’s already got his own showcase spin-off lined up, plus he’s still coasting on his Project fame so he’ll be an audience draw for a while yet. But The Weekly itself? it’s a flop. It generates no stories, it’s segments aren’t shared around, its cast – now that Flanagan has left – aren’t particularly funny and when the big stories break everyone wishes Mad as Hell was the one covering them.
Decent news satire – even in this country – is about adding to the news. You take a story and add a funny spin to it, even one as basic as having a parody of one of the main players saying out loud what’s really going on. Mark Humphries figured it out at The Feed and people were sad when he quit; the crew at Tonightly figured it out and people were sad whey they got axed. When The Weekly covers a big news story, all they add are a few smug “can you believe this shit?” jokes. Their one big comedy angle is Tom Gleeson treating people like garbage.
Increasingly The Weekly feels like the kind of show that keeps going solely because powerful people have invested heavily in it and they need it to be a success. The moment they move on – or someone does the math and realises for what they’re spending on Pickering and Gleeson they could get three or four decent presenters – the plug will be pulled.
Now Kitty Flanagan is gone, hardly anyone will care.