Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Funny Business With "Julia"

WELL, that’s official then. At Home With Julia isn’t funny. Worse, it is an example of the ABC wasting public money, abandoning quality control, displaying both contempt for the office of the PM and scant regard for the sort of entertainment Australians really need and enjoy.

Don’t by any means take that as a Bunyip’s opinion, as it is not a view endorsed at the Billabong, where there is nothing but admiration for a show that pulls off the notable theatrical coup of satirising a farce -- the latter being the slapstick misadventures of our real-life PM, who daily demonstrates a talent for plot twists no comedy writer could match. From ancient pillow talk with a swindler to her about-face on the humane treatment of refugees (2007: “Australia should deal with its own case load”. 2011: “…you've risked you're life at sea and you will be at real risk of ending up in Malaysia”), the poor woman must be so preoccupied with her oscillations that availability to serve as an assistant birthing coach for Penny Wong’s baby is in serious doubt. That joyous event, by the way, would make a wonderful AHWJ:  Craig Thomson donating sperm with the help of union-financed carnal consultants. Bob Brown standing ready with the euthanasia needle if the infant’s toes don’t quite add up to ten. Greg Combet nibbling dutifully on the placenta, which his Climate Change department has certified as low-carbon, locally grown, organic produce.

Alas, it will not happen. Tragically, the series is being squeezed out of existence by both left and right, neither side entirely sincere.

On left, where a sense of humour has never been much in evidence, opinions range from that of Sophie Cunningham, who professes to believe the series is anti-woman, to Peter Craven, who dismisses it as “inane drivel”.

And on the right, it is disrespect for the office of PM and our flag that constiutes the alleged bone of contention.

Well pardon a Bunyip’s cynicism, but no one is telling the truth here. The left don’t like it because the ABC, by its reckoning, should not be adding to a beleaguered Labor leader’s many woes. We hear not a peep about inanity or bad taste when Hungry Beast is shouting “motherf---er” at Middle Australia, nor when that show assembles climate scientists to rap about “sucking d—k in Copenhagen.” But AHWJ goes beyond the pale. What the left lacks in humour it makes up in hypocrisy, as we all know.

And the right? Well, while reports from the coalition party room speak of outrage, one can only suspect it is confected. What Liberal or National could not delight in seeing the PM reduced to a laughingstock, to know that she has reached that point of political no-return when all respect has vanished and her only public use is to be the butt of mockery?

Yes, yes, Abbott’s crew will profess their disgust, but the real agenda is to seize and set aside another cudgel for beating the ABC, ideally to a pulp, when our current government is turfed out.

This flap over At Home With Julia, you just have to laugh.

UPDATE: Not very funny last night, not at all. If a scriptwriter begins a series by drawing inspiration from Moliere,   tossing a bit of Eugene O'Neill into the mix is a dreadful mistake. As for the flag, it wasn't its use as a post-coital coverlet that provided the greatest offence. The subsequent mention of needing to have it dry cleaned was worse.


  1. "the ABC ... should not be adding to a beleaguered Labor leader’s many woes"

    Really? Gillard got a bump in approval in the latest Newspoll. The AHWJ effect? Editorials say it is due to her efforts at compromise - yeah, right. It's AHWJ where we finally seeing a real Julia the general public can warm to.

    "outrage, one can only suspect it is confected"

    Of course it is. What they're upset about is the sympathetic light Australia's worst PM is being shown in.

  2. No doubt in a vain attempt to stave off (or ameliorate) criticism of Gillard, there's been a lot lately (eg from the juveniles on Q and A) about how we should not disrespect the office of PM. Another line of bleating, this time started by the hapless Gillard, is that our 'national conversation' has become 'Americanised' and consequentially debased. While wild horses would not normally be able to drag me towards agreement with the frump, (as in 'Dump the Frump'), in the case of the 'don't disrespect' line she is right (although I don't suppose she would agree!). This line makes some sense where the political leader is also the head of state, and the dwindling band of Obama supporters are banging on this drum. In contrast, where the latter is not a political actor (as in a symbolic monarchical system) the less damage is done to a figure that does not represent the dignity of the polity. Of course, when people like Bill Deane and what's-her-name occupy the office of representing the Queen, the point has less force.

  3. My problem with the show is that the white Coms Car that Juliar is shown riding in during the opening credits is CLEARLY a fake!!

    Everyone knows that in a real Coms Car the windows, being bullet proof and ever so slightly THICK, do not actually wind down.

    So there - show was ruined and I am never watching again.

    Oh, that and the fact I got up to the three minute mark without actually managing to see any jokes. It was like watching Home and Away but without young people.

  4. Sorry, but the show is actually pro-Gillard propaganda. It attempts to portray Julia and Tim - both of them in real life odd to the point of marginality, in terms of background and lifestyle - as ordinary, decent Aussies. Sure, they do silly things, but don't we all??

    To put it succinctly, the programme aims to make it harder to hate Gillard!

    Consuela Potez

  5. [chanting] PULP! PULP! PULP! PULP! PULP!

    Never happen, but would love to hear the lefties scream if the next govt cut ABC funding back to 2000 levels.

  6. All I can see are the many coffins of our courageous soldiers draped in the Austalian flag. Our national broadcaster lacks respect, honour, truth and has lost its moral compass.

  7. Re: update. I'd feared as much. Yuck.

  8. It’s Misogyny

    It’s not that she lies to the people
    and many don’t like the deceit;
    it’s not that she just cannot govern
    except for her party’s élite;
    it’s not all the profligate spending
    or her hypocritical ways
    and not that she is incompetent
    though getting the media’s praise;
    it’s not that she reasons so poorly,
    and constantly causes much woe—
    it’s only because she’s a woman
    that people hate Julia so. ...

  9. I just think it wasn't very funny.
    Just wondering; would they have done this if Julia and Tim were married? I think probably not.

  10. James the Coalition are strong supporters of the ABC. John Howard stated that when he was PM, as did the previous and subsequent leaders of the Coalition. Mark Scott was appointed by the Howard government and has conducted himself as a conservative.