Every day is a day closer to the last day when we have a new episode of Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell to look forward to. Sure, we could rejoice in the knowledge that at least we had our time together and that nothing in this world lasts forever. Counterpoint: The Weekly with Charlie Pickering is coming back in 2023 and this world is fucking bullshit*.
The second last episode of Mad as Hell made a running joke out of the final appearances of a few long running characters. No Kraken for the final ever episode? They must have something really special lined up for that one**.
It seems a touch unlikely that the final episode will be nothing more than a half hour “In Memorandum” crawl… but what if it was? We’re all going to miss junior sub-editor of the Daily Telegraph Chris Lorax, alongside Casper Jonquil, Tosh Greenslade in a wig and glasses, and that policeman riding his bike into a tree. But what about the forgotten heroes?
Will we see Maggie Bathysphere and the panel of ABC sports commentators back one last time? What about Mad as Hell‘s largely and possibly wisely forgotten Financy Boy? Will William Duthie – Elder with Wisdom gift us with one final insight? What about Edith Swink’s daughter? Tony Martin’s John Howard impression? Shaun’s beard?
Sure, we’ll probably be able to go on without these characters in our lives; Newstopia‘s Inspektor Herring is now but a distant memory, and he got his own half hour special. And really, it wasn’t so much the individual characters that made Mad as Hell what it was so much as it was the constant ongoing parade of them.
Yes, there were plenty of thinly disguised political parodies, and a bunch of solid comedy cliches who were always useful when it came time to comment on the standard issues of the day. But there were also a lot of uniquely strange characters that popped up – sometimes just the once – that helped make Mad as Hell a show that went well beyond just commenting on the headlines.
It’s easy to come up with a funny name and slap a wig on. Being funny beyond that takes a skill that, going by what we’ve seen lately, is increasingly rare. Forget the “sparkling line-up of characters” that we’re expected to believe have somehow become our family; it’s the animating intelligence behind the show – the combination of writers and performers – that we’re going to miss.
Though yeah, guess we missed the episode with these guys.
*Don’t even get us started on the low-key yet strangely persistent rumors that ABC management may have not exactly been a passive player when it came to bringing Mad as Hell to a conclusion
**In shock news, it seems there’ll be a silly final song, which has been a highlight of the conclusion to just about other Micallef project to date