Summer Love ended last week with a teenage girl crying on a beach after a friend of hers died of cancer. Hilarious! Australian comedy is back, baby.
Summer Love is a tough one for us to cover, because despite having all the external trappings of a sitcom – half hour episodes, a consistent situation, comedians in front of the camera and writing the scripts – it turned out to be the kind of show where the laughs were an occasional byproduct rather than the whole point.
Yes, some episodes were funnier than others. As we predicted, both the one from Wayne Hope and Robyn Butler, and the one co-written by Nath Valvo, were a fun mix of mild drama and comedy. But overall the scales were tipped towards a kind of wry low-key storytelling that makes us think of short stories in summer reading editions of newspaper weekend supplements.
So if you’re looking for tales of relationships starting to fray, or siblings reminiscing about a carefree childhood that now seems so far away, Summer Love was for you. Those looking for laugh out loud comedy, wacky characters, or off-the-wall situations… yeah, keep searching.
(and it seemed a little… odd… that a large beachside house during summer wasn’t being rented by teens as a party venue every single weekend)
Yes, this is a series that definitely could have used a lot more vomiting and drunken debauchery. But even with that off the table, is this the kind of thing the ABC should be doing? Of course. In fact, we’d say they should be doing even more of it.
There’s more to drama than just dead bodies in small towns and tight-knit communities torn apart by a disaster – oh wait, they’re the same thing – and the ABC really should be looking further afield for stories and scenarios when it’s time to greenlight a bunch of new drama.
So is this the kind of thing the ABC should be doing instead of comedy? Fuck no. Even by the ABC’s already anemic standards for scripted comedy, this wasn’t good enough. It was a well made light drama series and the ABC should make more like it. But as a comedy, it just didn’t deliver the goods. Most of the time, it wasn’t even trying to.
And yet, this was the only all-new scripted comedy series on the ABC in 2022. Having seen the whole series, calling it a comedy is being extremely generous. Yes, sometimes it was funny – but even then it was the kind of low-key, quirky character comedy that, sure, gets the occasional smile.
But not much more.