So we waited an extra week just to make sure we weren’t imagining it but yes, it seems that season two of Fisk is just as good – if not better – than the first. Phew.
Some things have changed: the downstairs coffee shop is now an even more infuriating “blended beverage” venue. Roz (Julia Zemiro) has decided her true calling lies in mediation rather than law (don’t worry, she’s not leaving the office). But it’s still the adventures of the perpetually mildly exasperated probate lawyer Helen Tudor-Fisk (Kitty Flanagan) as she deals with a stream of dingbat clients and a world that seems intent on frustrating her at every turn.
After years of failed dramedy and snippet sitcoms that forgot to be funny, Flanagan and company make it all look so easy. A handful of distinct characters in a set location where they can bounce off each other? A format that introduces a couple of guest stars each week to drive storylines and provide variety? A cast of people who are funny and are given funny things to say and do? Why don’t we have a dozen series this good every year!
But unlike almost everyone else making sitcoms for the ABC, Kitty Flanagan knows what she’s doing. She’s great when it comes to pointing out the absurdities of modern life and of certain types of characters. But instead of just setting up cliched characters and having their existence be the punchline in a “we’ve all seen this guy, right?” kind of way, the jokes come from the dialogue. Which is to say, there’s loads of funny lines on top of everything else.
Just as importantly, she has an actual comedic point of view on the things she observes. Fisk is annoyed by a lot of stupid shit, because a lot of shit really is stupid. Ok, yes, gaming chairs don’t usually explode and breakfast soup isn’t a real thing (yet). There’s a fun streak of silliness running through Fisk too.
It’s not an angry show either. Fisk’s annoyance is at life itself, which is full of obstacles and weirdoes and trendy drinks with names like “greengasm”. Social media influencers might be bizarre and a pain, but that’s not a problem in itself. Fisk would just rather they do their thing somewhere away from her so she can get on with important things like ordering a brown burkini online.
And the tone across the series is pitched just right. The guest stars get to be broad caricatures because they’re here for a good time not a long time. The core cast are all just plausible enough to be believable people while also being well-defined enough that they strike (comedic) sparks off each other.
Of course Ray (Marty Sheargold) and office dogsbody George (Aaron Chen) would share a love of comfy seating while Fisk can’t even get couch privileges. Ray – and everyone else – might suffer under the authoritarian thumb of Roz, but there’s still a sibling bond there that goes deeper than getting an air fryer in the office.
Running a blog looking at Australian comedy is a lot like crawling in circles in the desert: you see the same crap over and over again and it never gets any better. So you might be thinking “hey Tumbleweeds, tone it down a little would you? Clearly the lack of any decent sitcoms in living memory has driven you loco”.
Nope: Fisk really is that good. It’s a comedy that’s a delight to watch, and we’re delighted by it every week.