Category Archives: Channel Ten
The best thing I can say about this weeks “Worms” is that it definitely smoothed out the rough edges this week.
There was less jolting tone shifts, and while it is far from a “winner”, in terms of quality, it is sure finding its footing.
One of the only problems I have with the show lies right at the core of it- which is worrying-in the “worms” themselves.
First of all, how is the question about “burqas” opening a “Can of Worms”- surely that is one Can that has never been closed in recent memory.
So, doesn’t that actually preclude it from being an actual Can of Worms??
The only way I could excuse it is that it hasn’t actually been in the media for a couple of weeks- but then what does that say about the show? It’s got its finger horribly off the public pulse? What about something about the Carbon Tax, or would that be too current? Remember this show is only filmed one day before it airs, not two weeks.
So basically, if it’s going to use “current” issues as catalysts for debate, why not use current ones?
In the “Moral minefield” segment, there were also questions such as “Have You Ever Used a Disabled Toilet”… Yes, not “Is Using a Disabled Toilet Wrong”… If you get the distinction.
Meshel Laurie’s role in the show still puzzles me. She sits on the end, and sometimes explains how a game works, and sometimes doesn’t. And when she does, it is still something that could be largely covered by Dicko.
However, she really comes into her own when she is allowed to act as a kind of moderator who reacts to things said in the debate- which she started to become largely in the last “swearing” debate.
And the guests? Well, they were a vast improvement on last week’s as I predicted. They were all able to showcase their strong personalities as well as bring up examples from their lives to add to the debate. And the fact that there was only one comedian really worked- having two or more can really put pressure on the guests to make the show funny, when the focus should be on the debate.
And the “comedian” Tom Ballard tried very, very hard indeed. He made, by my count three callbacks- these included saying or was OK to use a disabled toilet because he was a “poofter” (this related to an earlier question asking whether it was acceptable to call someone a “poofter”). However, overall, he came off as intelligent and eloquent, and actually very opinionated.
Jessica Rowe was, well, nice. She isn’t really the type of person that goes out to upset anyone, but isn’t afraid to take a strong point of view. She also spent most of the show being outraged, or offended at comments made on either side of her. Hence, she was symbolically placed in the middle. But while Jessica was pretty good, surely the show can find a woman (or two) who might actually outrage or offend people (I’m talking people like Em Rusciano, Mia Freedman- NOT people like Catherine Deveny here).
Don Burke sat in the “controversial loud-mouth” seat, but strangely, he wasn’t nowhere near as irritating as Jason Akermanis was the week before. Sure, he was a bit cranky, a bit “Grumpy Old Man”, a bit deranged ex-TV personality… He was still an interesting spectacle to behold. Though he did go a bit overboard in some parts- staring at Jessica Rowe’s breasts, dropping F-bombs (because there was a worm about swearing, see)… He is probably the ideal type of guest for the show; unpredictable, uninhibited and slightly unstable. And though you may disagree with some things he says, at least he is never completely unreasonable- an important factor in a show like this; even when views are put forth that you don’t agree with, at least they could make you consider their point of view.
Most importantly, though, the guests actually interacted with each other, and actually debated.
This was also an aspect that was applied to other aspects of the show, with more audience interaction, and actual live tweets- what a novel idea…
Dicko was also better, and the few moments where he actually went off-the-cuff were some of his best moments on the show. But, until he appears more natural on the auto-cue, they need to cut the “witty” throws to ad-breaks and introductions to new worms. Seeing him pause awkwardly as he reads not only devalues a decent show, but stifles Dicko’s personality further (he already has to remain semi-impartial as a host).
Overall, a considerable improvement on the first episode, and at least it shows that producers are listening to viewer feedback. It focused the show on debating issues, and made for a less cluttered product. It still needs to focus its worms a bit more, but with some more good guest selection should more than make up for it.
Another month, another “Zapruder’s Other Films” program premieres.
In recent times, Andrew Denton and Anita Jacoby’s production company has churned out shows including Hungry Beast, AFP, The Gruen Transfer and Gruen Nation, all to varying degrees of success.
On the whole, there is a consensus that shows that they formulate are new and inventive, if nothing else. Before their respective premieres, they are also shrouded in secrecy, with man of the key talent kept under wraps, as well as the format, premise and general feel of the show.
This is one of the reasons why it is difficult to predict the success of the show. Their policy of secrecy is a double-edged sword, as obviously not knowing anything about the show builds up a sort of mystique, and of course builds the curiosity factor. It also encourages people to watch the show for the central premise, rather than fob it off after seeing a personality one dislikes on the promo (Dicko is nowhere to be seen on the talking-head promos, despite the fact that he is the host).
On the other hand, the vague “Australia, we need to talk” tagline is not quite explicit enough for some people to feel an urge to tune in.
The “talking heads” that appear to discuss various issues which touch on “porn”, religion and the internet. So its clear that we’re in line for some modern, frank discussion. Presumably there is a newfound market for this kind of discussion, what with these type of discussions being brought up frequently on Q and A.
Obviously the show wants “Australia” to start talking. It wants families to start these type of discussions in their own house. This will create further word-of-mouth between friends, etc. etc.
Whether the show is aiming to set the agenda on new issues or rather react to issues in the news is unknown.
So, what do we know we can expect?
Read on to find out…