Tuesday, February 12, 2008

News Week, yes, but a GOOD one?

Well, I know the bloke who reads this blog is a ravenous fan of anything so much as vaguely connected to Paul McDermott, and, as such, is big on Good News Week, the hilarious and irreverent ABC chat/quiz/current affairs/comedy souffle that Channel Ten did it's absolute best to destroy, but apparently didn't get the job done quite right.

Because this Monday, it came back.

Naturally, because of the fact that there have been episodes in the past, all 'true' fans (ie, those incapable of communicating online without fervently stating their fandom) will think that the new episode was complete crap, if not sacriledge to everything that has gone before. I'd like to offer a measured, reasoned response.... but I only saw the first 15 minutes so I can't really.

The big stun for me was the lack of fanfare - a very interesting move considering just how long this show has been a musty memory from the archives than an actual living, breathing piece of television. In its wake we've had Backberner, Glass House, Chaser, and Spicks & Specks, which have changed the landscape a lot despite, directly or indirectly, following in its footsteps.

And yet all we get is a grab of Paul singing "It's Good News Week", and then Paul himself walks to the very edge of the set, as he always did every episode, and tells us that it's the end of the longest ad-break ever. I didn't expect that to be anywhere near as accurate...

See, the amazing thing was how little had changed about the show. Somehow I was expecting them to... well, try and 'update' it. It is, after all, what commerical stations seem to think they're good at. But no, the exact same 'rounds', the same 'points', even the same mystery story that they have to work out via a series of baffling 'items', one of which involves a guest having to act like a prat. For this reason alone, it felt to me a bit old and tired, but that could simply be me having all the vague old memories stirred up.

What had changed, of course, was the girl. Julia McCrossin was gone (is she still alive? Would we even know?) and Claire Hooper is in. Now, this is something I welcome because Claire was, aside from Paul, the only reliably funny element of The Sideshow (Umbilicals had their off-nights, I'm afraid - and they weren't even always on!) Of course, what I hadn't realised that I'd only seen her prepared gear and had seen little of improv work. And I've still seen little of her improv work.

Poor Claire. She really did seem dropped into this one - didn't seem too aware of the news events in the week, wasn't ready to take control of her team, and certainly wasn't ready to take the piss out of Mikey and THAT'S the unforgiveable part! Has she not seen an episode of the original show? That's what Mikey is for! Sigh, these Jane-y Come-Latelies...

At the same time, though, Claire wasn't unfunny, her problem seemed to be nearly disappearing into the background which isn't as bad as the alternative. I was wondering if that was the reasoning for her two co-panelists, two blokes who I'd have thought should never have been on the same team: the barking insane and completely uncontrollable Frank Woodley, and Craig Reucassel the mumbling, bug-eyed Ginger frontman of the Chaser who, as an emissary of the ABC, seemed quite intent on destroying the show by bringing up Amy Winehouse as many times as possible.

**** THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH GOOD NEWS WEEK ****

Of course, I only saw the first 15 minutes... and I guess I'll try and explain the reasoning. My property has two houses - yes, two. This is something that confuses a lot of people. The first is a shed on stilts, with about enough room for two people to live uncomfortably, and that's where my four-strong family lived for the first 18 years of my life. That house was built by my Physicist grandfather (adoptive grandfather, but that's for another time) in his spare time as a 'weekender', and as such has a few quirks such as being in the worst position in the lot for sun and wind, no insulation, a badly fitted door, and thin walls. Probably thanks to his day-job, though it had two cool things - some circuit breaker box-thing on the power-pole that meant we never lost electricity due to power surges, and one of the biggest TV antennas in the valley, which meant I was the only person I knew until I reached high school who could get ALL the channels. (Except SBS but that one didn't count)

The second house, however, was a labour of love of my father over three years (I think, maybe more) and was finally completed when I was 18. It rocks. But we use a satellite to get our TV. For a while this allowed us to get Imparja, the Northern Territory channel which features most commercial shows in odd timeslots and has officially the funniest ads you will ever see (I really miss Reggae Dave Resaro, the spokesman for road safety, plying such gems of wisdom as "Don't sleep on the road, mate!") but, due to some probably illegal dealings with a man named as "Mr Satellite" our card was apparently destroyed by a satellite and we were subsequently downgraded to ABC and SBS.

So, in short, whenever I want to watch anything on a commercial station, I have to go down to the old, abandoned first house, which is now filled with junk and rodentia, and is cold and smelly and draughty. That's why I barely watch anything on a commercial station - I really, really have to WANT to. So I guess that's a bit of a compliment to GNW.

**** BACK INTO IT NOW ****

Even though I didn't see it all, I have to say that it was quite a shakey start for the new run of GNW... but a shakey start ultimately means nothing. Once Claire Hooper finds her feet and they think about what type of guests they really want on the show, then the ball can get rolling, and I won't be surprised if this becomes a hit, especially with Chaser off the airwaves this year.

But anyway, to break the flimsy fourth-wall I try and maintain when I'm in blog writer mode... what'd you think Ewen? Oh, and was Sandman actually in it?

10 comments:

Youth of Australia said...

No, not Sandy nor Flacco were in it.

As for Claire, she was pretty much overshadowed by the others. After all, I've only really seen her work with Paul as the straight man. I assume she'll grow into this. But she was just eye candy this week, reduced to putting on a dog collar (an actual dog collar, not a priest thing) to elicite audience reaction. Frank of course beat her with his wig.

Frank... what the hell were they thinking? Yes, he is a great contestant but NOT when you're establishing the rules! He even hurled abuse at Paul for breaking the rules of the game.

Craig as well got his revenge, shouting "I WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS CROSS PROMOTION!" before storming off the set as Paul chatted with the guy from Supernatural.

There were two completely new segments involving "Mime A News Story" with Frank and Cal Mitchell working surprisingly well, and "Are You Dumber Than A Fifth Grader?" where a special guest has to work out retard-but-genuine answers to questions. This was ruined as all the questions were from an MX article ("Who is Nicole Kidman married to?" "Forrest Gump" "What is Ghandi's first name?" "Goosey Goosey" "How long did the seven day war go for?" "Two weeks" "Who swings through the jungle in a loincloth?" "Jesus")

Actually, out of the show the real complaint I had was that, well, the news stories per se were not very funny or interesting. Strange But True revolved around a German nudist plane and a Goth chick getting thrown off a bus. Paul worked his usual foul deviant humor on them, but he had a lot of work to do...

...including keeping a straight face when Frank did that "playfully fondling people's heads" shtick.

And Paul singing Good News Week? Hedgehoppers Anonymous not good enough for you, eh? And he still hasn't been able to sing beyond the first verse -

Families shake the need for cold
Buy stimulating birth control
They're wanting less to eat

Doctors finding many ways
Of wrapping brains in metal trays
To keep us from the heat!


Still, it was easily as good as the first ep with Anthony Ackroyd trying to seduce the audience by taking off his shirt... followed by Kate Bush doing the same.

Cameron Mason said...

Mime A News Story

Called 'So You Think You Can Mime', just the segment 'Bad Street Theatre' given a Channel 10 rebranding.

Are You Dumber Than A Fifth Grader?

A renamed "Who Wants to Come Down to the Front and Sit in a Chair?"

For a pretty boy Jensen was rather amusing...

Cameron

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

No, not Sandy nor Flacco were in it.

Well, fair enough. They were fairly late additions. (Though eventually took over the entire show...)

As for Claire, she was pretty much overshadowed by the others. After all, I've only really seen her work with Paul as the straight man. I assume she'll grow into this.

Yeah, so do I. She's a very talented comic performer..

Frank... what the hell were they thinking?

My thoughts exactly. Colin Lane would have been a much better choice - just as anarchic but with intelligence and the ability to keep his mouth closed for up to a minute.

(For my part, I only find Frank really funny in the right medium. He's great in Spicks and Specks and Thank God You're Here but he was pretty hit and miss the other night and I found his stand-up bit on Sideshow astoundingly unfunny...)

Craig as well got his revenge, shouting "I WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS CROSS PROMOTION!" before storming off the set as Paul chatted with the guy from Supernatural.

Guy from Supernatural? Is that who was on Mikey's team? I thought they said it was Pat Cash...

"Are You Dumber Than A Fifth Grader?"

Doesn't sound as good as Triple J's "Are you Dumber Than [Scott] Dools?"

(Do you remember that? Or, more specifically, do you remember the time they gave him answers from Wikipedia in a very obvious manner to beat Dave the Dinosaur Expert? Hilarity ensued..)

Strange But True revolved around a German nudist plane and a Goth chick getting thrown off a bus.

...goth chick getting thrown off a bus? Isn't that a regular occurrence down your way?

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Called 'So You Think You Can Mime', just the segment 'Bad Street Theatre' given a Channel 10 rebranding.

Ah, I thought it sounded familiar. Incidentally, Bad Street Theatre was probably my favourite segments. Especially that time that Lano & Woodley spent the whole time miming the Kennedy Assassination to say that the story involved America...

Youth of Australia said...

Well, fair enough. They were fairly late additions. (Though eventually took over the entire show...)
Yeah, they appeared in the ones that happened at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, then when it moved to 10, they were part of the fixtures and fittings.

My thoughts exactly. Colin Lane would have been a much better choice - just as anarchic but with intelligence and the ability to keep his mouth closed for up to a minute.
Definitely a bad choice for a first episode, albeit a very entertaining one. Dude, give Frank his own show so he can release his pressure valve...

(For my part, I only find Frank really funny in the right medium. He's great in Spicks and Specks and Thank God You're Here but he was pretty hit and miss the other night and I found his stand-up bit on Sideshow astoundingly unfunny...)
I liked it, but it was hardly deep. He works better with a straight man, rather than spontaneous lunacy...

Guy from Supernatural? Is that who was on Mikey's team? I thought they said it was Pat Cash...
It was. For one round, Claire asked to "phone a friend" and Supernatural dude arrived and was the focus of that segment of the show. Craig storms out, much to guy's bafflement.

Doesn't sound as good as Triple J's "Are you Dumber Than [Scott] Dools?"
...No. It doesn't.

...goth chick getting thrown off a bus? Isn't that a regular occurrence down your way?
We're quite tolerant of Goths, my forwantofabetterword sister in law is one.

This Goth chick, however, was wearing a dog collar and acting like a dog as part of a kinky lifestyle, so her "owner" was chucked off the bus as well.

Que sera sera.

Cameron Mason said...

Doesn't sound as good as Triple J's "Are you Dumber Than [Scott] Dools?"

"Are You Smarter than Dools?"

That was a segment when Adam and Wil did JJJ Breakfast.

I feel so old now...

(Do you remember that? Or, more specifically, do you remember the time they gave him answers from Wikipedia in a very obvious manner to beat Dave the Dinosaur Expert? Hilarity ensued..)

That was a great week, they milked that for all it was worth.

Especially that time that Lano & Woodley spent the whole time miming the Kennedy Assassination to say that the story involved America...

I've got tears in my eyes just remembering that.

They're also teary due to the jingoistic claptrap infesting the "Australia says sorry" thread over on the former OG forums...

Cameron

Youth of Australia said...

My cousins were part of the stolen generation, and my mum nearly went the same way. You hear ME bitching about it?

Mind you, maybe if we all start clapping and turn our backs on Sparacus, he'll disappear?

Cameron Mason said...

My cousins were part of the stolen generation, and my mum nearly went the same way. You hear ME bitching about it?

The thread was hijacked by a bunch of Brits whining about wether the Australian apology would then mean people demanding Italy apologises for the wrongs the Roman Empire commited. Then they started bigging up the achievements of the British Empire (which had a bad human rights trakc record).

Mind you, maybe if we all start clapping and turn our backs on Sparacus, he'll disappear?

Nah.

He'll take it the wrong way and start twirling...

Cameron

Youth of Australia said...

The thread was hijacked by a bunch of Brits whining about wether the Australian apology would then mean people demanding Italy apologises for the wrongs the Roman Empire commited. Then they started bigging up the achievements of the British Empire (which had a bad human rights trakc record).

Oh sweet jesus...

He'll take it the wrong way and start twirling...
GAH!

Are those poems he's put up his own or someone else's? If so, I think he should be reminded of it - like when he stole a lymerick from Kroton the Cyberman And The Ship of Fools and passed it off as his own...

Cameron Mason said...

I said: Then they started bigging up the achievements of the British Empire (which had a bad human rights track record).

YOA said: Oh sweet jesus...

Exactly.

They completely missed the point of it all.

Are those poems he's put up his own or someone else's?

Dunno.

Maybe we should google them.

Structurally they feel like bad attempts at trying to copy Wordsworth.

Cameron