A Bargain at Twice the Price

The Cheap Seats is back! Still good? Still good! We’re done then?

Yeah, pretty much. The show came back earlier this week without skipping a beat. There was plenty of mileage in the Royal Coronation and even more in Melanie Bracewell corpsing while Tim looked on in mock confusion. She’s from New Zealand, he’s short and can’t get a date: teamwork makes the dream work.

Sure, occasionally they cut to one of the hosts looking the wrong way. But on the whole, this is a finely tuned comedy machine. Clips and running gags rarely outstay their welcome, the improvised one-liners are just as good as the scripted ones, the guest hosts are-

-okay, these guys are a little interesting, in that they both work in different ways. Mel Tracina is totally in tune with the show’s vibe: you could see her working as a replacement cohost with no trouble. Titus O’Reily, not so much; for one, he’s an older-ish dude who’s little stiff (he’s the only one you can see reading from the autocue).

But that works for sport, which is a segment that needs to be there but doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the show. That’s by design: come the fourth segment of an hour-long show, you need something a little different. He’s in on the joke even when the joke is on him.

(He’s also not quite as slick with the one-liners, but when one does land it’s usually a good one)

This week’s interview went long – no complaints here, it was a good one, can’t go wrong with footage of Israeli pop star “Clear Search History” gyrating around like a human blender. But it did mean there was a bit less of our favourite part of the show, the final segment where they dump all the weird stuff that might not work.

They make a lot of jokes about how, well, cheap the show is, but there’s a lot of moving parts in The Cheap Seats. Which is ironic, as it takes place entirely behind a desk. Basically, don’t neglect the importance of What’s On What’s On in the Warehouse.

If it ain’t broke don’t expect us to review it every single week is the main takeaway here. The Cheap Seats is one of the funniest shows on Australian television. It’s a classic of the form, a show that does everything right even when it’s not doing much at all.

Also, they have a new sponsor in the form of Subway. Well done guys! The countdown to the jokes about how quickly they were dumped by yet another sponsor starts now.

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