That's a question I expect to be asked around the place now that the ABC has topped the ratings. Not overall, of course, but for Wednesday night. Over all the opposition.
As will be frustrating to the monkies chained to desks with The Big Book of Copshow Cliches that write City Homicide the answer is a re-sounding: "No". Although the ABC has been under fire for an increasing degree of commercialism (Read: Some) and focusing on getting a profit from its merchandising in theory (Because they can't get money from the government) those controversies are completely irrelevant on Wednesday night. The three core shows: Spicks and Specks, The Chaser's War on Everything and Summer Heights Crap-fest: Watch Chris Lilly Act Naturally and Then Pretend not to be Gay in an Awful Ethnic Stereotype Wig are all completely local content with home-(including New Zealand) grown talent made good and low, low budgets.
In fact, it just reveals that the commercial channels have sold out.
But how is that possible? - you say - They're already capitalistic pig-dogs! True. But being capitalistic creatures requires a kind of loyalty - loyalty to what your customer base hungers for. And in this regard the commercial networks have clearly been failing.
There is so much bullshit in the Australian TV world it sometimes makes me gag just reading about the sordid world, filled with warped perspectives and people who don't seem to have the faintest idea what anybody would want to see on a screen in their house. "Nobody wants drama!" is one of the big yells - generally this conclusion is reached by the fact that the local dramas, generally written and directed by a group of blokes on valium who went to NIDA (that's bad. Very very bad) don't reel in viewers, whilst ignoring that overseas dramas written by people who actually get more than one writing gig in their lifetime are massively popular.
This leads to the cheapest alternative. Reality TV. Even though [sur]Reality TV has fallen massively from popularity for the last four years, they're still making new ones. There are at least 4 years left in Big Brother - the bogan-filled monkey cage only watched by radio comedians we all politely ignore - and Australian Idol looks set to try and control the music industry for years to come. Even if a reality TV show rates a 0, its still a great return on investment as the budget's a comparable number, and equal to the amount of enthusiasm required.
When things get so bad that your shitty Reality Shows actually involve losing money, where's the next logical step? Well sitcoms are cheap... but not quite that cheap. What you want is a shitcom starring a reality TV presenter. I'm referring of course to a disaster I believe Nostradamus himself prophesied - James Mathison (aka the dude everyone fucking hates from Idol) will be starring in a 'comedy' produced by Ten, in which he's going through a 'quarter life crisis' and moves in with his parents - WHO ARE IN A RETIREMENT VILLAGE. It's the kind of wonderful premise that leaves me contemplating life as a hermit.
This is what I mean - the Networks are treating us with contempt. They have sold out. Return the favour!
Mel invited you to join the Facebook group "Summer Heights High Appreciation Society".
Mel says, "Cause I know you love the show! And if you don't, then you need to watch it!" - email from Facebook
Naturally, this entry wouldn't be complete without another swipe at Summer Heights High. Australia, why the fuck do you like this show? I need to understand. Is Chris Lilley 'pretending' to be gay really that funny? I watched five minutes of last week's episode desperate to understand the appeal. And, once again, it alluded me like the infernal White Whale.
It wasn't that the show wasn't funny. It was that watching it somehow sucked the mirth from my very soul, made me question the existence of anything funny even existing in the Universe. I found myself wondering if every memory I had laughing was a lie, and that my life had been comprised entirely of beatings, leading up to this final piece of cruelty that I did not deserve.
Thank Christ Newstopia was right after it...