Vale Rosehaven Rest in Power edition

Rosehaven is over. It takes with it yet another era in Australian comedy. Not a particularly funny era mind you, or even an especially memorable one; remember that episode where they had the banter then a shot of the Tasmanian countryside then we got some more banter? Good times.

Seriously though, when even articles praising Rosehaven are calling it “a soothing balm for anxious times” and “a fresh air-filled world where the pace is slow and the stakes are low”, you have to wonder: is there anything this show did that couldn’t be done faster, cheaper and more efficiently by simply closing your eyes? Here’s a headline for you: AUSTRALIA’S FAVOURITE SCREENSAVER ENDS AFTER FIVE SEASONS.

(to be fair, that article does also call Rosehaven‘s humour “safe” and says that it was a show with an “aversion to making a statement about anything”, so it’s not like anyone’s confusing it with Wonder Showzen)

Toxic levels of snark aside, the demise of Rosehaven really is the end of an era, in that it was a sitcom that started out as a showcase for its two leads and just kept on going down that path until it ended up as basically The Celia and Luke Show. Apart from “sarcastic white man with big hair and a laugh like a deflating balloon geez Question Everything is hard to watch”, the ABC doesn’t really deal in comedy types any more: Fisk was the last sitcom where the lead – as a performer – was any kind of selling point, and even there Kitty Flanagan was largely playing against type.

The good news was, Celia Pacquola and Luke McGregor were a charming and fun duo to spend half an hour with. The bad news was, the rest of the show was so lightweight it might as well have not been there. We’ve said it before, but here we go again: why weren’t they solving murders? It could have been the exact same show only someone is found dead in the first 90 seconds and at the end of the half hour we weren’t left with a hollow, empty feeling and a clock showing us that every single person on the planet was thirty minutes closer to death.

Sure, a show that combined a couple of nice comedians and a sack of cash from the Tasmanian tourism board was never going to be anything but nice. But you can be nice and still have things happen! You can even be nice and have jokes! At least one recent interview with the stars had them seeming a little perplexed that Rosehaven never took off overseas and with the rise of “sitcoms” based on nothing but “hey, this nice guy seems really nice, let’s hang out”, who can blame them.

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with television where having your audience fall asleep before the twenty minute mark counts as mission accomplished, but Australia just doesn’t make enough decent comedy that we can afford to have forty episodes of a sleeping pill end up “beloved by critics around the world“. There have been more episodes of Rosehaven than every laugh-out-loud Australian sitcom of the 21st century put together: that ain’t right.

So aside from Anthony Morgan, who was a constant comedic delight across all five seasons and deserves his own spin-off (or a prominent role in every single series filmed in Tasmania from here on out), is there anything we’ll miss now that Rosehaven‘s gone? It’s hard to say, considering we hardly noticed it when it was on a television right in front of our eyes.

Let’s put it this way: do they still sell calendars with pictures of the Tasmanian countryside? We’ll stick a photo of Pacquola and McGregor in front of the landscape for August and it’ll be like Rosehaven never left.

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1 Comment

  • sven says:

    Strange case the old Rosehaven. Always sunny, light winds, (it’s effing Tasmania !), and the damn jingly music. Another mild day is here… A counterweight to the ‘gothic Tasmania’ brand at least. Realistic but not, amusing but not particularly funny. There was just nothing going on underneath the surface of this town. No great secret, crime, surreal touch, quest for the protagonists (aside from a bully and the girl, whom Daniel seemed irritated was not his). Everyone was comfortable in their place and waiting for the lighthearted dispute to resolve itself. If the tone is this light you need to crank up the melodrama, create discomfort/ complications (not just banter and awkwardness), throw in some Edgar Wright style camera/edit tricks, even some good old fashioned slapstick – shift the tone, surprise people. Having said that it is hard to hate it, not with Gruen style passion at least…