Vale Wednesday Night Comedy just in General Really

So Fat Pizza: Back in Business ended on yet another knife-edge cliffhanger that’ll be desperately written out of continuity if the series ever comes back. What, you thought just because Paul Fenech has two series for 7Mate next year that he’d actually wrap this one up?

Housos: The Thong Warrior
From the suburbs to the outback, the cast of Housos are back in a brand-new comedy. Franky is on a mission to stalk and thong slap all forms of authority, with Shazza in hot pursuit (Antichocko Productions).

Local Council
The new comedy from Pauly Fenech of Housos, Fat Pizza and Bogan Hunters fame is set in a dodgy council, with dodgy council workers, a dodgy mayor, dodgy developers and dodgy council officials (Antichocko Productions).

We survived Covid for this?

Presumably all the local council stuff in this series of Fat Pizza was a lead-in to Local Councils – though who can be sure of anything these days, as Fenech’s current approach to television seems to involve filming stuff at random then clumping it together into 30 minute chunks.

When he does remember to have a story, such as the recent episode where Pauly had two dates at the same time and yes this is a television program broadcast in 2021 thanks for asking, the results can be mildly amusing. When he just repeats the same scenes over and over and over again, such as every single episode where an angry mob turned up to attack the Fat Pizza store, or every single cutaway to that evil clown in a basement somewhere, it’s shit.

Sure, it’s meant to be a live-action cartoon; we actually did laugh after one fight scene when they cut back to a vacant lot covered in unconscious losers. Yelling “Open the toilet door Hal” to a pizza making robot was… well, reading that line is about as funny as it was to watch. And a Grease-themed musical dream sequence was most definitely a thing that happened.

But without some kind of structure Fat Pizza is just a sketch show where most of the sketches involve yelling, strippers, unconvincing fight scenes and delivering pizza. Free TV shouldn’t cost this much to watch.

*

Last week saw the final episode of Australia’s Sexiest Tradie, a rare Australian sitcom that… well, it’s just rare to see an Australian sitcom these days. But it’s also relatively rare for a local sitcom to set up a dynamic between characters that involves someone being a complete prick to others: even Chris Lilley ended up making Ja’mie a good guy of sorts.

So it wasn’t really a huge surprise that there were a few rough patches throughout the series. But instead of the usual Australian comedy approach of going bland and forgettable, Tradie oversteered, made lead Frankie (Rick Donald) extremely unlikable, gave him a dad who was either borderline abusive or shitting the bed drunk, and created a situation where the only conclusion that could salvage any decent laughs out of things would have to involve at least one murder.

Episode six cranked it all up to a screaming crescendo, with a dead drunk (or possibly just dead) dad, Grub (Jason Perini) making a move on his best mates girl Hammer (Briallen Clarke), some very poor stripping, and an ending that involved Frankie yelling “you never loved me, did ya,” to his dad, which it’s safe to say was not the comedic highpoint of the series.

The big problem here was that the dramatic side of things was just too harsh too often for this series to work as a comedy. The father-son relationship was well-handled; it was also flat-out abusive and almost completely lacking in humour. Likewise Frankie’s dismissive relationship with Hammer and Grub’s constant pining for her was plausible – it just wasn’t much fun to watch.

Most of the scenes and subplots throughout the series were well handled when taken on their own. But we had the unpleasant nature of the characters and their toxic relationships hammered home over and over again when we only really needed a few brief moments to fill in the background. It’s rare we say a show needed more scenes like the classic “taking a shit in a vase”, but this could have used a lot more silly moments and a lot less earnest exploration of a bunch of fuckwit men.

*

Oh yeah, Gruen‘s back. Finally Wil Anderson’s crap jokes can roam free, safe in the knowledge that some random standup from the back blocks six months into their career won’t go one better and make him look like a flailing old man.

We’ve said it all before so really the only thing to point out this week is that one of the many things we’ve said in the past – that the whole “The Pitch” segment is just “do us a comedy sketch for free” – wasn’t exactly disproven with the appearance of The Moth Effect co-creator Jazz Twemlow in this “hilarious” winner:

Here’s our pitch: get Aunty Donna to come up with an “ad” each week and make Gruen a show worth watching.

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Update: Seems despite what the TV listings said there was another episode of Fat Pizza after the “final” one – well, by “new” we mean the first 1/3rd was recaps using old footage, then there was an extended “dream sequence” using footage shot in America possibly meant to be starring Fenech’s Housos character (slightly different mustache), and then a weird sewer hostage ending that kinda wraps things up but not really and honestly there could be another episode still to come after that, so… the saga continues?

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