Again, The Weekly

The thing with good comedy is, it always has a point of view. One or more human beings found something funny and decided to share it with the rest of us. And when you don’t have that, you have The Weekly.

Usually comedy series that lack soul make up for it with money. At one end, you have stand-up. It’s extremely cheap but still entertaining because it’s one person’s unfiltered (well, you know) take on things. At the other, you have expensive but empty sitcoms and marketing-led movies. Jokes are just something they throw in to make it seem like humans were involved in the process.

The Weekly exists outside that spectrum. It’s both cheap and soulless, a show that’s nothing but a host behind a desk and a handful of guests – either ABC employees or touring comedians with something to promote. Yet it still feels like nobody really wants to be there.

This is clearly insane. Australia is full of talented, funny people who would leap at the chance to be on the ABC every week for months at a time. Australia also has well-paying jobs for haircut models who can read an autocue. Neither of these trends results in The Weekly.

And yet, here we are. Watching a show so half-arsed that even when the source of around 20% of its content – contestant intros on Millionaire Hot Seat – was axed, they went “oh well, let’s just put to air the leftovers”. Couldn’t even be bothered coming up with a farewell twist for this long running time-waster.

For years The Weekly staggered around with clearly no idea what it was trying to be. It’s both impressive and depressing that it finally seems to have figure out what it wants to be: shit.

Remember when it featured Kitty Flanagan or Judith Lucy? And Pickering would occasionally front a good-intentioned segment that tried to explain why something was news? Now each episode ends with Pickering ripping off Mick Molloy ripping off John Belushi by doing a bit where he says something is no damn good. Only those guys went over-the-top to get laughs because they were comedians and Pickering just reads lines off an autocue same as every other bit because he’s just a host.

Not that it really matters because what’s going on with the audience anyway? We expect them to laugh at unfunny material because that’s what they signed up for, but this crowd is going nuts over material that isn’t even recognisably comedy. Sure, The Weekly‘s never been a show that sold itself. But trying to drown out the crap material with hootin’ and a hollin’? That doesn’t exactly improve the experience for those watching at home.

Plus in a textbook case of saying the quiet part out loud, each week The Weekly features a sketch where some elder statesman of Australian television (Barry Cassidy, Margaret Pomeranz) passes hilarious thumbs-down judgement on a program (even if it’s The Weekly itself) aimed at young people. Hey kids, never forget who’s really running things on your ABC.

The history of Australian comedy is littered with satirical programs that were just awful, garbage programs. But while some of them were possibly worse than The Weekly, none of those trainwrecks lasted ten seasons with no end in sight. What the fuck is wrong with the ABC that this turd wasn’t flushed years ago?

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1 Comment

  • […] As for what we think of White Fever, it’s perfectly fine for what it is – a light, surreal, theatrical drama about identity. Our main beef is that White Fever occupies a timeslot which was previously for comedy. And this would be fine if lots of comedies were being made and screened on the ABC at other times…but they’re not. Drama has always been and continues to be well-funded by the ABC. But where’s the money and the timeslots for sitcoms, sketch shows and topical programs which aren’t The Weekly? […]

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